Insiders at the NY Post are griping about the Hunter Biden coverage, highlighting a political divide in the tabloid newsroom

Insiders at the NY Post are griping about the Hunter Biden coverage, highlighting a political divide in the tabloid newsroom

10/17/2020
  • The publication of the New York Post's explosive Hunter Biden story so close to the election quickly stirred questions and conspiracy theories among some Post rank-and-file.
  • The Biden story also exposed a longtime ideological split between the leadership and the Post's newsroom staffers, many of whom do not hew to the owner Rupert Murdoch's conservative beliefs.
  • Some say this divide has widened in recent years with longtime EIC Col Allan's return, the exit of some veteran older staffers, and increase in hiring on the digital site, where the staffers tend to be young. 
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The right-leaning New York Post published an explosive report on Wednesday about Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Presidential candidate Joe Biden. Facebook and Twitter acted to limit its spread, questioning its credibility. The Post and conservative lawmakers cried censorship, a common attack by the right against the tech platforms.

But inside the Post, another divide was playing out. 

The publication of an explosive story so close to the election quickly stirred questions and conspiracy theories among some Post rank-and-file, according to six insiders.

Since the Post published the story, it has been reported that the White House was informed that Rudy Guiliani, one of the source's for the Post's reporting, was being targeted as part of a disinformation effort. NBC and AP later reported that the FBI is investigating whether the emails published by the Post are linked to a foreign intelligence operation. 

The Biden story exposed a longtime ideological split between the leadership and the Post's newsroom staffers, many of whom do not hew to the owner Rupert Murdoch's conservative beliefs. 

"It's like the best-kept secret in New York," said a former staffer. "You would think that people that work there are conservative, and we're not."

For the better part of the past two decades, the newsroom was run by Col Allan, a Trump buddy and Murdoch confidant, and is known for its populist conservatism and sometimes inflammatory coverage.

Allan retired in 2016 and Sunday editor Stephen Lynch, who is described as careful and less political, succeeded him. But Allan returned in 2019 as an advisor to Murdoch's News Corp., whose properties also include The Wall Street Journal and Barron's, leading many to believe he was there to push the Post further right.

Some saw Allan's influence when in 2019 the newsroom faced a boycott after it ran a partial quote from Rep. Ilhan Omar that critics feared would incite anti-Muslim violence. 

Those that do lean right tend to be in politics or opinion, according to multiple employees. 

Outside those desks, though, there's eye-rolling, when, for example, after President Donald Trump's NBC town hall this week, the Post gave Trump high marks.

"That's just stupid," said an insider.

Some say this divide has widened in recent years. They point to Allan's return, the exit of some older staffers as a result of layoffs, and an increase in hiring on the digital site, where the staffers tend to be young. 

The Post is increasingly populated with young people who embrace the tabloid ethos of holding power to account but don't like the hard-right ideology they see the Post often taking, one said.

But where others expressed deep discomfort over the Biden story, others are taking it in stride.

"We just roll our eyes on this stuff," said the insider.

A spokesperson for the Post at Rubenstein PR pointed to the Post's articles on the subject and editorial in lieu of comment. 

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