Lighten up on The Washington Post. It’s only a newspaper slogan – Los Angeles Times
“Democracy Dies in Darkness.â Film at 11.
Actually, the quote above isnât a local TV news headline; itâs the new motto of The Washington Post.
It was spotted Tuesday night under the paperâs masthead online (but not in the print edition) and quickly inspired speculation that it was a response to press-bashing by President Trump (the Post denied it), along with heaping helpings of ridicule.
On Twitter, media critic Jack Shafer said: ââDemocracy Dies in Darknessâ is something a sincere goofball would say in a Preston Sturges movie.â John Podhoretz expanded on the slogan in a way that took a dig at the Postâs owner, Jeff Bezos: “Democracy Dies in Darkness But I Got This Cute Little Night-Light at Amazon for Just $4.99 and It’s Free Shipping Because I Have Prime.”
Long before corporations hired wordsmiths to hammer out âmission statements,â newspapers slapped mottoes on their front or editorial pages. Everyone knows The New York Timesâ âAll the News Thatâs Fit To Printâ (and the parody version, âAll The News That Fits, We Printâ). The Chicago Tribune is âThe Worldâs Greatest Newspaper.â My colleague Doyle McManus called my attention to a 1912 Los Angeles Times front page declaring âFor liberty under law, equal rights and industrial freedom,â the last a reference to the newspaperâs opposition to labor unions. (A shorter version, âLiberty under law, true industrial freedomâ appeared on our masthead as late as 1970.)
I used to work for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, âOne of Americaâs Great Newspapers,â a boast it shared with its sister paper The Toledo Blade. The Blade was the hometown paper of National Lampoon editor P.J. OâRourke, who abbreviated it to produce the motto for the fictitious Dacron Republican-Democrat â âOne of Americaâs Newspapers.â
That remains my favorite newspaper motto â simple, to the point and impossible to contradict.