A revealing look inside the newsroom at The New York Times leaves little to the imagination. Executive editor Dean Baquet is convinced that America is divided into woke goodness and white supremacists, and the white supremacists are led by President Trump (who up to a few weeks ago, was a Russian stooge).
Slate obtained a recording of Baquet’s “crisis town hall” which was in response to two events. First, the demotion of editor Jonathan Weisman for daring to break groupthink by tweeting “Saying @RashidaTlaib (D-Detroit) and @IlhanMN (D-Minneapolis) are from the Midwest is like saying @RepLloydDoggett (D-Austin) is from Texas or @repjohnlewis (D-Atlanta) is from the Deep South. C’mon.”
Second, because the NYT’s understanding of its audience–woke, liberal, bicoastal–forced a headline change from one that was deemed too friendly to the president to one that incited Trump’s wrath.
So, here Baquet frames exactly what the NYT’s role will be for the next year.
Dean Baquet: If we’re really going to be a transparent newsroom that debates these issues among ourselves and not on Twitter, I figured I should talk to the whole newsroom, and hear from the whole newsroom. We had a couple of significant missteps, and I know you’re concerned about them, and I am, too. But there’s something larger at play here. This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s. It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that. As Audra Burch said when I talked to her this weekend, this one is a story about what it means to be an American in 2019. It is a story that requires deep investigation into people who peddle hatred, but it is also a story that requires imaginative use of all our muscles to write about race and class in a deeper way than we have in years. In the coming weeks, we’ll be assigning some new people to politics who can offer different ways of looking at the world. We’ll also ask reporters to write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions. I really want your help in navigating this story. (bold mine)
Suddenly, the New York Times discovers that there’s racists peddling hatred in the world. Scoop! Stop the presses! But it’s not simple racism, because the paper wouldn’t have to go further than Al Sharpton’s Harlem office (which he burned to avoid tax disclosures) to find that. No, this is about a Trump-led white supremacy, that every voter–all 62,984,828 of them–has joined as a complicit, if unaware, racist.
The NYT sees anyone defending Trump, or in the least bit friendly to him, his administration, his policies, or the parts of the federal government that aren’t against him, as their enemy. In other words, the people are their enemy.
Not my words, Baquet’s:
What I’m saying is that our readers and some of our staff cheer us when we take on Donald Trump, but they jeer at us when we take on Joe Biden. They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president. And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do. The same newspaper that this week will publish the 1619 Project, the most ambitious examination of the legacy of slavery ever undertaken in [inaudible] newspaper, to try to understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump. And that means trying to understand the segment of America that probably does not read us.
The “1619 Project” seeks to inject racism and white supremacy into every root, branch, and bloodline in America. It’s goal is to convince all Americans (especially the ones who don’t read the NYT) that we are only woke when we condemn our nation for what it was, and what they believe it is–a steaming pit of racism.
It doesn’t matter if none of this is actually true, or helpful. America does have some pockets of racism. We do have real problems with policing, gangs, racial profiling, and a tiny fringe of dangerous racists who shouldn’t be given a national platform of any kind. When President Trump does so, he should be roundly criticized. When the NYT does so to prove “Trump is bad,” they are being just as bad as he is–worse really, because they presume to know better.
Dean Baquet knows better too. But he also knows that inciting Trump and stirring up racial division is good for business. It’s what his readers expect, and he’s going to give them exactly what they pay for. That’s not being “independent.” Baquet is openly declaring the NYT is a propaganda-for-money scam.