WSJ Responds to 'Parsons of the Press'

Editorial board defends printing Trump letter, 'even if his claims are bananas'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2021 4:58 AM CDT
WSJ Defends Printing 'Bananas' Trump Claims
In this July 24, 2021 photo, Donald Trump points to supporters after speaking at a Turning Point Action gathering in Phoenix.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

After an uproar over a letter to the editor from Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal's opinion desk has fired back against what it calls the "progressive parsons of the press," a group that apparently includes members of the paper's newsroom. An editorial published Thursday defended the decision to run the 600-word letter from Trump, which called the 2020 election "rigged" and repeated many of his debunked fraud claims, the Hill reports. "We think it’s news when an ex-President who may run in 2024 wrote what he did, even if (or perhaps especially if) his claims are bananas," the editorial board wrote, arguing that Trump's "2020 monomania is news, and it reflects on his fitness to 2024."

The board, which was criticized for failing to fact-check Trump's letter about alleged election fraud in Pennsylvania, addressed a few of his claims Thursday, though the editorial stated: "It’s difficult to respond to everything, and the asymmetry is part of the former President's strategy. He tosses off enough unsourced numbers in 30 seconds to keep a fact-checker busy for 30 days." It noted that his claims appear to come from "amateur spelunking into voter data," and the citation for one was a "stray remark" on TV from Sen. Lindsey Graham, who now says it was an allegation that can be "laid to rest."

The WSJ editorial, pointing to failed legal challenges and the "dud" election audit in Arizona, criticized "election truthers" and notes that according to the letter it published, Trump "apparently thinks his own Attorney General did an inside job." "Mr. Trump is making these claims elsewhere, so we hardly did him a special favor by letting him respond to our editorial. We offer the same courtesy to others we criticize, even when they make allegations we think are false," the board wrote, adding: "As for the media clerics, their attempts to censor Mr. Trump have done nothing to diminish his popularity. Our advice would be to examine their own standards after they fell so easily for false Russian collusion claims." (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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