The Washington Post recently made a quiet but dramatic change to its website by placing the slogan "Democracy Dies in Darkness" under its logo. The appearance of the foreboding statement comes on the heels of President Trump's recent marathon press conference last Friday, during which he called the news media an "enemy of the people" and following his tweet asserting the same.
Washington Post spokesperson Shani George did not directly attribute the move to the President's actions: "This is something we've said internally for a long time in speaking about our mission. We thought it would be a good, concise value statement that conveys who we are to the many millions of readers who have come to us for the first time over the last year. "
According to Ms. George, the slogan was first revealed to new readers on Snapchat, but will be rolled out on other platforms in coming weeks. The words do not currently appear in the print version of the Post.
Whether or not the slogan was tied to Trump, The Washington Post has been one of the most vigorous -- and creative -- political watchdogs. During campaign season, it created an interactive experience that allowed readers to hold their own debate between the presidential candidates and more recently, it introduced a tool that allowed readers to fact-check the POTUS' tweets.
Since the Trump administration has taken over, a number of media companies have stepped out to reassert their mission statements with new campaigns. Today, the New York Times unveiled a campaign centered on the challenge of finding "the truth," while The Atlantic recently debuted a brand effort around "questioning your answers."
For all its darkness, the Post's motto has been fodder for a slew of comedic commentary. Stephen Colbert observed that the Post has "officially entered its Goth phase," while Slate found 15 metal albums with titles more lighthearted than the slogan.