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Trump’s ‘Washington Post’ ad buy stands in stark contrast to paper’s motto, sparks furious debate

Democracy dies in advertising dollars, apparently.

Trump’s ‘Washington Post’ ad buy stands in stark contrast to paper’s motto, sparks furious debate
[Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian/The White House/Flickr; Rishabh Sharma/Unsplash]

The digital home of the Washington Post, that venerated beacon of American journalism, is currently an exercise in cognitive dissonance.

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Visit the paper’s website currently to witness a configuration of words and images that all cancel each other out. At the top, the paper’s famously goth-tinged slogan for the Trump era, “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” flanked by tiny ads for Trump’s reelection. Just beneath the masthead, a larger version of the ad, stretching across the entire page, reads, ” THE RADICAL LEFTIST TAKEOVER OF JOE BIDEN IS COMPLETE,” in all caps like one of the president’s inflammatory tweets. And finally, beneath this invective, the headline, “Harris accepts historic VP nomination: ‘We will speak truths’“.

The flat image in the tweet above doesn’t convey this ad buy’s full effect. Scrolling through WaPo’s website, the ad at the top expands to fill the whole screen, demanding readers either x out or click through. It’s a total troll move on behalf of the president, debasing the newspaper that he frequently disparages as ‘the Amazon Washington Post.’ What could be a greater slight, at the publication’s expense, than forcing its owners to acknowledge they’re not in a position to turn down Trump’s money?

Needless to say, many in the media world were left aghast at this decision.

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As confused and upset as many were to see the newspaper’s unlikely ads, though, some voices in the media ecosystem found ways to put them in perspective.

Tweet us know what you think about the ad buy at @FastCompany.

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