Washington Post rescinds promotion to editor allegedly responsible for stealth edit in Taylor Lorenz report

The Post’s in-house media critic Erik Wemple reported on a Thursday meeting of the features editors and the paper’s top brass, including executive editor Sally Buzbee and managing editor Cameron Barr, to discuss concerns about deputy features editor David Malitz. He was previously outed as the one who included and then removed an erroneous statement from Lorenz’s article without an editor’s note, and how the incident reportedlymay costhim a top position on the features team.

According to three sources at the meeting, one reporter pressed Buzbee on specifics, saying that colleagues had learned that Buzbee had offered Malitz the job on Thursday, giugno 2, and then rescinded the offer the following Monday,” Wemple wrote in an update of his report. “Buzbee, according to these sources, didn’t deny the timeline but insisted that Malitz was in no way punished for his mistake. Staffers who spoke at the meeting, secondo le fonti, were furious with Buzbee’s decision and asked whether it could be reversed. She was resistant to that suggestion, say the sources.

A spokesperson for the Washington Post declined to comment. Fox News Digital also reached out to Malitz for comment.


Wemple’s report, which largely focused on Taylor Lorenz’s tweetstorm blaming her editor for her erroneous report, posed the question, “Is that OK?”

Blaming editors for mistakes sounds like a craven act, and indeed it can be. But it also happens occasionally at prominent U.S. media outlets,” Wemple wrote. “Lorenz’s pointed tua culpa is at odds with the spirit of Post policy, tuttavia. E in questo caso, it received approval from The Post’s masthead, according to a source at the paper.

The controversy began when Lorenz’s report alleged she had reached out to YouTubers for comment regarding how online influencers thrived during the explosive Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial. The two YouTubers, “LegalByteshost Alyte Mazeika and an anonymous user named ThatUmbrellaGuy, both publicly denied that Lorenz had ever attempted to contact them. The claim was later removed without any sort of correction.

As Wemple noted, the currenteditor’s noteon Lorenz’s report now reads in part, “The first published version of this story stated incorrectly that Internet influencers Alyte Mazeika and ThatUmbrellaGuy had been contacted for comment before publication. Infatti, only Mazeika was asked, via Instagram. After the story was published, The Post continued to seek comment from Mazeika via social media and queried ThatUmbrellaGuy for the first time.

"LegalBytes" host Alyte Mazeika pushed back against the Washington Post's claim that Taylor Lorenz reached out to her via Instagram before publication of a report.

LegalByteshost Alyte Mazeika pushed back against the Washington Post’s claim that Taylor Lorenz reached out to her via Instagram before publication of a report. (“LegalBytes”)

By Lorenz’s own admission in her Twitter thread, she only contacted the YouTubersafter the story went liveand Mazeika had been outspoken about the Post’s correction being incorrect about the Instagram claim.

We’ve asked The Post for clarification on this point, because it matters: If The Post can’t nail down the facts in an editor’s note, where else should we trust it to do so? ‘That stands as is,’ says a Post spokesperson. ‘We won’t be able to get into what the internal discussions were,'” Wemple wrote about his exchange with the paper’s PR rep.

The media critic then delved into the Post’s standards guide that reads, “We do not attribute blame to individual reporters or editorsand laid out an argument about whether writers should be held accountable for mistakes made by an editor whose name does not appear in the byline, adding that an acknowledgment of anediting erroris common practice.


Wemple recalled how the Post’sinstitutional approach to corrections made more sensedecades ago in an era before social media, la scrittura, “If the argument for The Post’s policy were ever correct, it’s not anymore.

And if The Post revisits its correction policy, it may want to lay down a guideline or two about how its journalists respond to social media brouhahas,” Wemple wrote, quoting Lorenz who accused her critics of launching abad faith campaignagainst her and acknowledged her targeting of CNN reporters for their coverage of the incident.

That outrage works much better when a 135-word editor’s note isn’t hanging over your article,” Wemple swiped his colleague.

Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz was under fire over a report falsely claiming she had reached out to two online influencers for comment.

Washington Post columnist Taylor Lorenz was under fire over a report falsely claiming she had reached out to two online influencers for comment. (MSNBC)

The Washington Post has had a brutal week both in the newsroom and on Twitter. The headaches began when the Post was forced to issue a lengthy editor’s note on a 2018 op-ed written by Amber Heard, which a jury ruled last week was defamatory against her ex-husband, Johnny Depp.

The Post had to issue multiple corrections after it was caught stealth-editing Lorenz’s report, leaving many questions still unanswered.


Then over the past several days, there was open warfare among Post colleagues after reporter Felicia Sonmez publicly shamed colleague Dave Weigel over a retweet of a joke poking fun at women. Weigel was later given a one-month unpaid suspension, even after he removed the retweet and issued an apology.

Washington Post reporters Felicia Somnez and David Weigel

Washington Post reporters Felicia Somnez and David Weigel (Eric McCandless tramite Getty Images)

Sonmez herself went scorched-earth against her colleagues and her employer in multiple tweetstorms, clashing with at least two other reporters who had urged her to stop attacking co-workers.

The outspoken reporter continued her viral rampage even after Buzbee sent multiple memos to staff calling for collegial exchanges and to stop the online confrontations. Sonmez was fired on Thursday after failing to heed those directives.

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