The Washington Post executive editor Marty Baron always says, “We’re at work, not war.” And it’s true. Covering any White House means working to report not just the administration’s message of the day or spin, but also to unearth the stories they might not want us to tell. These are, after all, the stories that often affect the lives of everyday Americans – the top down purge of a federal agency, for instance, or a quiet change to the health care system that could impact the quality of care at hospitals nationwide. Especially in this moment, when the press is often branded the “enemy of the people,” and accurate but inconvenient stories are dismissed as “fake news,” our work can feel doubly difficult. As always, we want to report on the story as fairly, accurately and thoroughly as possible — without somehow also becoming the story ourselves, or giving those who don’t like what the facts show an excuse to undermine and attack us. Because again, we are at work, not war.
Ashley Parker is a White House reporter for The Washington Post. Ashley is the recipient of the 2019 Washington Women in Journalism Outstanding Journalist in Print award.