New Washington Post Publisher Keeps Proving He Can’t Be Trusted

One of the primordial rules of running a newsroom sounds simple: don’t mix editorial with business. And yet that’s exactly what The Washington Post’s publisher and CEO, Will Lewis, has done since taking the reins of the prestigious D.C. publication in January—over and over and over.

NPR’s David Folkenflik reported Thursday that the British tabloid journalist had offered him an unsavory exchange: an exclusive on the Post’s health if he promised to squash a story about Lewis’s involvement in a phone hacking lawsuit filed by attorneys for Prince Harry, Guy Ritchie, and Hugh Grant. The suit named Lewis at the center of a cover-up at Rupert Murdoch’s News UK—accusing Lewis of “giving a green light” to erase millions of emails pertaining to the phone hacking accusations, even after authorities had instructed the company to retain all of its records.

“In several conversations, Lewis repeatedly—and heatedly—offered to give me an exclusive interview about the Post’s future, as long as I dropped the story about the allegations,” Folkenflik reported. “At that time, the same spokesperson, who works directly for Lewis from the U.K. and has advised him since his days at the Wall Street Journal—confirmed to me that an explicit offer was on the table: drop the story, get the interview.”

That’s on top of another scandal that seemingly fueled the unceremonious departure of the Post’s editor-in-chief Sally Buzbee on Sunday. Buzbee reportedly refused to cave to Lewis’s demands in conversations about the paper’s own coverage of his legal battles in March and May, though the discussions left her “rattled.”

“When Ms. Buzbee said The Post would publish an article anyway, he said her decision represented a lapse in judgment and abruptly ended the conversation,” reported The New York Times.