Washington Post CEO Will Lewis Attempted to Kill Phone Hacking Story: ‘Drop the Story, Get the Interview’

The Washington Post publisher and CEO Will Lewis is in hot water again, as NPR media reporter David Folkenflik reveals that he was offered an exclusive interview in exchange for him to back off on pursuing phone hacking allegations.

Folkenflik wrote on Thursday that earlier this year, Lewis attempted to exert pressure on NPR to kill the story investigating his involvement in helping cover up a widespread phone hacking scandal in practice at Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloids.

“In several conversations, Lewis repeatedly — and heatedly — offered to give me an exclusive interview about the Post’s future, as long as I dropped the story about the allegations,” Folkenflik writes. The NPR reporter said that both Lewis and his spokesperson confirmed to him that “an explicit offer was on the table: drop the story, get the interview.”

“NPR published the story nonetheless,” Folkenflik writes, adding that the first interview on Lewis’ strategy for the future of the Washington Post went to Puck News’ Dylan Byers instead.

A spokesperson for Lewis has since claimed that the conversation Lewis had with Folkenflik was off the record. However, Folkenflik said he did not violate any off-the-record agreement with Lewis by publishing Thursday’s article.

The NPR reporter added that he decided to release the information now, in light of the Post’s recent restructuring plan, which included the ouster of executive editor Sally Buzbee.

“I thought the audacity of the offer was notable,” Folkenflik said. “And given what’s playing out right now at The Post, I thought it was worth noting in public.”

In the story that Lewis allegedly attempted to kill, Folkenflik reported how Lewis was accused of authorizing the deletion of millions of emails. Lewis denied the allegations and has said that he was called in to clear up a mess, not to destroy evidence.

The post Washington Post CEO Will Lewis Attempted to Kill Phone Hacking Story: ‘Drop the Story, Get the Interview’ appeared first on TheWrap.