May 13, 2016

Martin Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, hit back on Friday against characterizations made by presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is using the newspaper to advance his agenda.

“As the individual who oversees The Washington Post’s news staff, I can say categorically that I have received no instructions from Jeff Bezos regarding our coverage of the presidential campaign — or, for that matter, any other subject,” Baron said in a statement.

Baron’s response stems from statements made by Trump Thursday to Fox News host Sean Hannity in which the Republican frontrunner said Bezos (who owns The Post) was using the newspaper as a “toy” to sway public opinion.

“Every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from the Washington Post asking ridiculous questions,” Trump said. The stories are “bad” and “wrong” and “in many cases they have no proper information,” he added.

In his answer, Baron noted that The Washington Post is writing a book about Trump, a decision that came “entirely from the newsroom.”

“The Post has a long tradition of publishing thorough examinations of the major party nominees for president,” Baron said.

Trump’s campaign for president thus far has seen the candidate launch unceasing verbal attacks on the press, often mentioning reporters by name. He has denigrated The Washington Post, The New York Times, POLITICO and many other influential chronicles of American politics.

Bob Woodward, an associate editor for The Washington Post known for helping unearth the Watergate scandal, told the National Association of Realtors on Wednesday that the Post had 20 reporters looking into Trump’s history.

“There’s a lot we don’t know,” he told the association, according to The Washington Examiner.

Public accounts of Bezos’ relationship with The Washington Post have mostly focused on the Amazon founder’s intimate familiarity with the newspaper’s technology efforts. A recent profile of Bezos by Fortune quoted Baron as saying that the tech mogul has been concerned with pushing the Post “into the recognition that living in the world of the Internet is different from living in a print world.”

Bezos has evinced an admiration for The Post’s news side and its business prospects. In a recent celebration commemorating the Post’s move to a new headquarters, Bezos saluted the newspaper’s “tiny bit of badassness.” He also personally escorted Jason Rezaian, The Washington Post’s Tehran bureau chief, out of Iran after the reporter’s months-long imprisonment.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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