Saturday, September 23, 2023

WaPo Media Critic Issues Mea Culpa for Paper’s Depp Defamation

'The op-ed underlying all this madness was an assault, too—against journalism... '

(Molly Bruns, Headline USA) After the win by Johnny Depp in the defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, the Washington Post has issued an apology for publishing Heard’s op-ed describing Depp as abusive.

The op-ed, which was published in 2018, is pointed to as a starting point for the #MeToo movement, NewsBusters reported.

The apology issued by WaPo, titled “The Depp-Heard case hinged on the world’s worst #MeToo op-ed” and written by Eric Wemple, described the original as an “assault” against journalism.

“The op-ed underlying all this madness was an assault, too—against journalism,” Wemple wrote. “It embraced a cliched op-ed design, that of deploying public figures to braid their personal experiences with policy prescriptions.”

He described how Heard’s article raised more questions than it answered.

“In what way did she ‘represent’ domestic abuse? What were the specifics of the backlash to which she refers?” Wemple asked.

“What did it mean to see ‘in real time’ how institutions rally around accused men? The Post didn’t even include a link in the piece to fill in the context for readers.”

Unbeknownst to many, the article was initially written by the American Civil Liberties Union and its team of lawyers.

After winning $7 million in a divorce settlement, Heard pledged $3.5 million to the ACLU over 10 years.

A few months before her op-ed was published, Heard became an ambassador on behalf of ACLU for “women’s rights, with a focus on gender-based violence.”

“So Heard’s celebrity conferred standing at the ACLU, which then leveraged her name into a Post op-ed,” Wemple wrote.

“The byline was accurate only to the extent that the ACLU tried to craft a piece consistent with Heard’s spoken views. Which is to say, not very accurate.”

The Post stated that they were aware of the ACLU’s involvement in the piece, and Heard’s relationship with ACLU was disclosed in her op-ed.

Heard has not publicly responded to the piece from The Post.

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