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“Democracy Dies in Darkness” is New Washington Post Slogan

by | Feb 26, 2017

The Washington Post has added a new phrase beneath its online masthead  — “Democracy Dies in Darkness” — and the commentary flowed immediately, reported The Post, which added that the slogan “quickly trended on Twitter, drawing tweets even from the People’s Daily newspaper in China. It was fodder for a few late-night cracks from Stephen Colbert, who suggested some of the rejected phrases included “No, You Shut Up,” “Come at Me, Bro” and “We Took Down Nixon — Who Wants Next?”

“Others called it “ominous,” “awesome,” and “heavy-handed.” Slate offered an alternative list: “15 Metal Albums Whose Titles Are Less Dark Than The Washington Post’s New Motto.”

“The addition of the dramatic and alliterative phrase was generally misinterpreted as an indirect reply to President Trump’s phrasemaking about the news media (“dishonest,” “the enemy of the American people,” etc.). But that’s not the case.

“The Post decided to come up with a slogan nearly a year ago, long before Trump was the Republican presidential nominee, senior executives said. The paper hasn’t had an official slogan in its 140-year existence, although it did get some mileage with a long-running advertising tag­line, “If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.”

 “The paper’s owner, Amazon.com founder Jeffrey P. Bezos, used the phrase in an interview with The Post’s executive editor, Martin Baron, at a tech forum at The Post last May. “I think a lot of us believe this, that democracy dies in darkness, that certain institutions have a very important role in making sure that there is light,” he said at the time, speaking of his reasons for buying the paper.

“Bezos apparently heard the phrase from legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward, a Post associate editor.”

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