Crisis at Washington Post as future editor Robert Winnett accused of wrongful reporting - Hindustan Times
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Crisis at Washington Post as future editor Robert Winnett accused of wrongful reporting

Jun 18, 2024 09:33 AM IST

The report was published under the headline “Incoming Post editor tied to self-described ‘thief’ who claimed role in his reporting”.

The Washington Post's future editor used the work of a self-described “thief”, an investigation by the American daily newspaper revealed. The report claimed that Robert Winnett used material from John Ford while working as a journalist on the Sunday Times during the 2000s. This was published under the headline “Incoming Post editor tied to self-described ‘thief’ who claimed role in his reporting”. Robert Winnett runs the Daily Telegraph’s newsroom and is due to become the editor of the Washington Post.

People walk by the One Franklin Square Building, home of The Washington Post newspaper, in downtown Washington.(AP)
People walk by the One Franklin Square Building, home of The Washington Post newspaper, in downtown Washington.(AP)

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The report by the US outlet relied on a 2018 interview with John Ford published by the Guardian, in which the former actor shared numerous examples of his extensive work with the Sunday Times. The report alleged that some of these were linked directly with Robert Winnett like stories about takeover of Leeds United, Tony Blair’s finances and the client list for a new Mercedes-Benz model.

John Ford described himself earlier as a “common thief” who was a master of mimicry. He claimed to put on accents to talk banks into handing over information. As he specialised in blagging financial and phone records, he also worked on behalf of the Sunday Times for many years.

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According to the Washington Post, John Ford said that he helped find Robert Winnett a lawyer, obtained an untraceable phone for future communications “and reassured Ford that the ‘remarkable omertà’ of British journalism would ensure his clandestine efforts would never come to light”.

Owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, The Washington Post has been in crisis since the appointment of a new chief executive Will Lewis who has been reportedly tasked with improving the financial position of the outlet amid heavy losses. But following his arrival at the post, the Washington Post faced massive criticism about links to the News UK phone-hacking scandal.

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Will Lewis has also been accused of trying to kill stories by his outlet about his links to phone hacking. As per a report, he told the outlet’s journalists, “We are losing large amounts of money. Your audience has halved in recent years. People are not reading your stuff. I can’t sugarcoat it any more. So I’ve had to take decisive, urgent action to set us on a different path, sourcing talent that I have worked with that are the best of the best.”

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