The Washington Post was criticized throughout the Democratic primaries and the 2016 presidential election for advocating for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and failing to provide balanced coverage in favor of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
The Post editorial board called Sanders’ campaign “fiction-filled” and ran an editorial just before the Iowa caucuses stating that the Democratic Party would be insane to nominate him. They were infamously caught in a frantic effort to delegitimize him by publishing 16 negative stories on Sanders in 16 hours.
“The factor that really mattered was that the Post’s pundit platoon just seemed to despise Bernie Sanders. The rolling barrage against him began during the weeks before the Iowa caucuses, when it first dawned on Washington that the Vermonter might have a chance of winning,” writes Thomas Frank in Harper’s Magazine. “On and on it went, for month after month, a steady drumbeat of denunciation. The paper hit every possible anti-Sanders note, from the driest kind of math-based policy reproach to the lowest sort of nerd-shaming—from his inexcusable failure to embrace taxes on soda pop to his awkward gesticulating during a debate with Hillary Clinton.”
Throughout the primaries, the Post ran frivolous criticisms and false narratives against Sanders, whitewashing his campaign and calling his supporters “Bernie Bros.” They published smears based on false accusations—including a chair-throwing claim during the Nevada Democratic Party Convention.
Despite being unable to get Hillary Clinton in office, the Post has continued to fight to preserve the establishment’s status quo.
The Post continually praises Chelsea Clinton to elevate her as a leading spokesperson against the Trump administration, and openly blamed millennials for Hillary Clinton’s loss. It also published several debunked articles about alleged Russian election interference. Shortly after the elections, they ran an article titled, “How Hillary Clinton won” and crowned Cory Booker as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. They published op-eds by Clinton campaign Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri and Clinton campaign Chairman John Podesta.
On February 23, the Post announced that it’s hiring Podesta as a contributing columnist, thereby adding another pro-establishment talking head to its pundit platoon. Podesta’s emails, which were leaked during the election, revealed that the DNC hosted a joint fundraiser with the Washington Post but did not publicly disclose the Post’s involvement.
The Post’s hiring of a Clinton campaign staffer is a pervasive trend. The political establishment’s allies and loyalists are cycled through a revolving door between working for campaigns, think tanks, and mainstream media outlets, all working toward the common goal of consolidating the political power of the establishment. Though the publication has remained critical of the Trump administration, it still defends the political establishment, especially its cozy relationship with the Clintons. Hiring Podesta is a reward to the Clintons and their staff for embodying the elite establishment that the Washington Post represents.