It was a certified bloodbath in the mainstream media last week. According to some estimates, some 1,000 journalists lost their jobs due to layoffs, including at top media outlets like BuzzFeed and HuffPost.
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump seemingly celebrated the layoffs — forcing the top editors at both BuzzFeed and HuffPost to respond.
What did Trump say?
Trump attributed the media downturn to "fake news" and "bad journalism."
“Ax falls quickly at BuzzFeed and Huffpost!" Headline, New York Post. Fake News and bad journalism have caused a big downturn. Sadly, many others will follow. The people want the Truth!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2019
In a follow up, while commenting on a CBS News report detailing Roger Stone's indictment, Trump slammed the media's coverage as "one-sided."
Indeed, a sizable chunk of Americans share Trump's sentiment toward the media, which are viewed as beltway elites who turn their nose to average Americans and provide cover for entrenched government institutions — and, of course, Democratic politics.
But others, especially journalists, whose careers are to gather facts and provide news context, disagree.
According to CNN, the layoffs weren't a product of bad journalism, but rather shifting tides in the media business. Digital-only media companies are struggling to diversity revenue streams as tech giants like Facebook and Google seize more control of advertising and the media landscape.
What was the reaction to Trump's comments?
Top editors at BuzzFeed and HuffPost sought to put Trump's comments in perspective. While many Americans may not be fond of the mainstream media, the journalists who lost their jobs are real people — with families, rent, and bills.
Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed said:
What a disgusting thing to say about dozens of American workers who just lost their jobs. https://t.co/hSnRD5NtpF
— Ben Smith (@BuzzFeedBen) January 26, 2019
Meanwhile, Lydia Polgreen, editor-in-chief of HuffPost, said:
1,000 journalists lost their jobs last week. Ordinary people with rent to pay, families to support, student loan bills coming due. They are workers like any other who do not deserve this cruelty. https://t.co/WCtuZ6iRVx
— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) January 26, 2019