Will Sally Buzbee return? Photo (cc) 2018 by Collision Conf.

Saturday was the first time I thought that Washington Post publisher Will Lewis might survive the scandal that had erupted over his role in the Murdoch phone-hacking schedule and his subsequent attempts at intimidating people into not reporting on it. By Saturday evening, though, it was clear that not only will he have to go but so will his hand-picked executive editor, Robert Winnett.

In case you missed it, here’s the lead of the latest New York Times report (free link), this one by Justin Scheck and

The publisher and the incoming editor of The Washington Post, when they worked as journalists in London two decades ago, used fraudulently obtained phone and company records in newspaper articles, according to a former colleague, a published account of a private investigator and an analysis of newspaper archives.

Will Lewis, The Post’s publisher, assigned one of the articles in 2004 as business editor of The Sunday Times. Another was written by Robert Winnett, whom Mr. Lewis recently announced as The Post’s next executive editor.

What a disaster. And it gets worse, as Scheck and Becker recount the ways that Lewis has tried to play down his role in the scandal, including telling the BBC in 2020, “My role was to put things right, and that is what I did.” Now we know he was up to his neck in it. The Times story also reports that Lewis has been less than honest about how he handled a £110,000 payoff to a source.

Just a reminder: executive editor Sally Buzbee, who left the Post a week ago, was not fired; rather, she quit rather than accept a demotion to a new role overseeing social media and new editorial products. What are the odds of her returning triumphantly to the newsroom on Monday? No doubt that would require an apology by owner Jeff Bezos as well as some guaranteed job security. But that would seem to be Bezos’ best option at this point.

Earlier coverage.

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