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Editor opts out of Washington Post top job over UK phone tap link


Robert Winnett, the editor selected to run The Washington Post, will not take up that position, after reports raised questions about his ties to unethical news gathering practices in Britain.
Winnett will stay at The Daily Telegraph, where he is the deputy editor, according to emails sent Friday to employees of the London-based newspaper and to staff members at the Post.“I’m pleased to report that Rob Winnett has decided to stay with us,” read a message to Telegraph employees from the newspaper’s top editor, Chris Evans. “As you all know, he’s a talented chap and their loss is our gain.”
Will Lewis, CEO of the Post, confirmed the news in an email to employees. “It is with regret that I share with you that Robert Winnett has withdrawn from the position of editor at The Washington Post,” Lewis wrote. “Rob has my greatest respect and is an incredibly talented editor and journalist.”
Winnett chose to withdraw himself from the position running the Post’s newsroom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. He did not respond to calls and messages seeking comment.
Last week, the Times reported that Lewis and Winnett were said to have used fraudulently obtained records in news articles at The Sunday Times newspaper in London. The next day, the Post followed up with a 3,000-word investigation into Winnett that traced his ties to John Ford, a private investigator who acknowledged using unethical methods to obtain exclusives.
Lewis said the Post would run a search to fill the role. Past searches have been lengthy, culminating with an interview with Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder who owns the paper. Winnett’s decision to stay in Britain is the latest in a series of convulsions at the Post. Early this month, Sally Buzbee, the paper’s executive editor, stunned the newsroom by abruptly resigning. That coincided with Lewis announcing a plan to drastically remake the Post newsroom, including by installing Winnett as its top editor.
In the weeks since, numerous articles about Winnett and Lewis have raised questions about their journalistic ethics and past conduct. Many journalists at the paper have become skeptical that the pair could lead an institution like the Post. Bezos, who has owned the paper for over a decade, has been largely silent on the matter, though he weighed in with an email to senior editors this week reassuring them that the standards at the Post would remain high. “That can’t change – and it won’t,” Bezos wrote.

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