Newsweek’s rough week: Trump story backlash and raid by Manhattan DA’s office

Newsweek’s rough week: Trump story backlash and raid by Manhattan DA’s office
Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is signing a commemorative issue of Newsweek that suggested she would become president, one day before the election. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Newsweek is apparently having a rough week. On Thursday, investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office raided offices for Newsweek and its parent company, IBT Media. Also this week, the media company was blasted by critics over a series of anti-President Trump stories.

About two dozen investigators from the Manhattan DA’s office were photographing serial numbers on computer servers, according to the New York Post. The report points out that IBT Media was co-founded by Jonathan Davis and Etienne Uzac and that the IRS placed a $1.2 million federal tax lien against Uzac in December 2017.

The Manhattan DA declined to comment, and the IRS was not reached for comment, the Post reported.

The raid was just one indicator of Newsweek’s troubles.

A firestorm started after Newsweek published a story Wednesday that implied President Donald Trump suffers from erectile dysfunction because he takes a hair-loss drug for which ED can be a side effect.

Writer Kastalia Medrano said, “President Trump’s heavily scrutinized recent health exam revealed that he’s continued to take the hair-loss drug finasteride, even after a succession of new studies showed that it is linked to side effects including chronic erectile dysfunction and depression.”

Jon Levine of The Wrap tweeted Thursday that an unnamed insider told him that the once-prestigious publication has descended into “a content farm for last-resort click bait.” Reporters are ordered to write stories that spark outrage and lead to online clicks, according to the unnamed source.

The source also spoke of a “toxic environment” in which employees are fearing “imminent layoffs”:

Newsweek was once a premiere media organization and an incredible springboard for young journalists hoping to grow a name for themselves. The company culture has turned the newsroom into a toxic work environment, while the publication has descended into a content farm for last-resort clickbait. There are good journalists working at Newsweek, but they’re forced to put their names on stories the news directors know will cause outrage on Twitter. Manufacturing rage for clicks is their current business model, and most people in the company fear imminent layoffs.

 

On Thursday, Newsweek published a story that quoted Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig  saying Hillary Clinton could still become president if any Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election is confirmed.

In the article, Lessig said: “The remedy that I…outline[d] only makes sense if you believe the election was stolen. If you don’t believe the election was stolen, there might have been a hundred other things [Trump] did that would lead you to believe he ought to be removed, but none of those justify the remedy I described.”

Criticism of stories that appear to be anti-Trump isn’t new for the outlet. In November, Twitter users blasted Newsweek for comparing Trump to Charles Manson.

Fox News offered commentary that said the story is one example of how Newsweek is continuing to tarnish its once-respected reputation.

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