Ingoing New York TimesDean Baquet was the Executive Editor. Joseph F. Kahn has since been the Managing Editor of Elite Journalism.
That is not a compliment.
The New York Times Although it has less power to make decisions in politics or culture than before, the Paper of Record continues to set the standard for prestige journalism and the newspaper industry. It is also capable of unparalleled reporting, including its invaluable work from Ukraine. There are many decisions that can be made or not, which end up being repeated throughout the media system.
Dean Baquet has a lot to be proud of in his career. He took over a struggling news company on Eighth Ave. and left it eight years later. This was after he had achieved an impressive boom in digital subscriptions and business acquisitions.
Baquet recalls that “We were doing layoffs and buyouts” at the conclusion of a valedictory New YorkerInterview conducted in February. Interview in February. Times into a place that could survive and thrive, the way it is now….I do think that I helped make the New York TimesA great investigative newspaper. I would argue the best investigative paper, whether it’s the air-strike stories or it’s getting Trump’s taxes….We are more visual. Was there anything I didn’t accomplish? Let’s be honest, I believe we accomplished a lot if you look back at my list. It’s hard to think of anything we failed to accomplish.
Baquet never lost his self-regard. This is especially true when he defends “the best newspaper in the country”. L.A. TimesHe was wrongly referring to that newspaper 16 years ago. That institutional haughtiness—most irritating to faster-moving competitors the Grey Lady might vaguely reference in follow-up coverage but almost never hyperlink—has extended to reporters challenging the paper’s marquee work.
Where? There are reasonsJim Epstein of is re-reported, and ribbons cut for a 2015. TimesThe Price of Nice Nails” is a Pulitzer-bait series about worker abuses at immigrant nail salons. This was Baquet’s dismissal of Justificationas an unlegitimate source for reporting, which kept anyone at the paper’s mistakes from being publicly acknowledged for over a week.
“The Times has not yet responded to the series, as editors believed they had fully protected the nail salon probe. [to a previous critique] and because they think the magazine, which generally opposes regulation, is reporting from a biased point of view,” then–Public Editor Margaret Sullivan wrote. “The editors opposed many aspects of Mr. Epstein’s report, including his defense of practices that allow illegal or undocumented immigrants to work at salons.”
Biases of any kind (including in the direction they are directed) TimesThe truth claim is irrelevant to the words ‘). Did the help-wanted advertisements for salons in Chinese newspapers have been accurately translated? The New York TimesOr not? Sullivan eventually acknowledged to her bosses that “in places, the two part investigation went too far in generalizing an entire sector. Its findings, and the language used to express them, should have been dialed back—in some instances substantially.” Oh.
This small exchange is indicative of a few themes throughout Baquet’s eight-year tenure at journalism’s top priesthood. They were the lower-than-collegial engagements with criticism and retreating to noble motives for defending inferior work. (Sullivan praised he paper’s “admirable intentions in speaking for underpaid or abused workers”—many of whom, incidentally, were soon out of a job thanks to a TimesState-instigated state crackdown. Baquet was the one to conduct a constantly-recalibrating balancing testing where small transgressions were merged with bigger narrative or historical concerns. The paper and Baquet then had to make difficult personnel and publishing decisions.
Baquet often found himself in these situations straddling the generational gap in his newsroom. The younger group demanded “moral clarity” in describing malevolent characters (usually Republicans), with maximumly negative adjectives. This helped to create a number of high-quality journalists who were thought to be retrograde in their workplace attitudes and views.
Anguished and Hamlet-like as he was in those moments—I dare you to read all the way to the end of this August 2019 transcript of an all-staff Times meeting mostly about a single headline—Baquet did pull off the political trick of both yielding to and pushing back somewhat against the mob, which (along with some charisma) allowed him to serve out his term all the way to the mandatory Times editor-retirement age of 65. Baquet is a survivor in a period of social upheaval that was producing numerous defenestrations at senior institutions.
“Baquet,” PoliticoJack Shafer, media columnist, observed that this week “was a masterful political leader while in office.” Seconded New YorkShawn McCreesh, editor: “Baquet (a political operator) likes to be liked.”
A journalistic term for endearment like “Politician” does not often apply to people who are prone to slipperiness or a desire to please. They also tend towards shifting principles on the whim of convenience. Baquet was a victim to two major journalistic degradations in 21st-century journalism.
1) Agreeing to terrorist’s veto. When Islamist nutbags began killing people around the globe in 2006 in protest to several Muslim-tweaking cartoons that had been first published in Denmark in 2006, American news media faced a dilemma: Should we allow readers to see the graphic basis of the murderous tantrum or cower in fear of being attacked, or give offense?
Fear was the theme of almost every magazine and newspaper. (There are reasons(Post the images online. Dean Baquet then took shots of the Los Angeles TimesI worked on the opinions pages at the newspaper. The publisher was responsible for my work. When media columnist Tim Rutten lobbied to reprint some of the cartoons, he “fully expected the proposal to be rejected, and it was—quickly and in writing, though the note also expressed the hope that the column would be as forceful and candid as possible.” The Hamlet-like straddle. I lost the battle to reproduce them in the opinion section. However, the editor was open about her fear.
As predicted, the industry-wide self-censorship placed an increasing target on those journalistic backs still containing a spine. French Weekly of Satire Charlie HebdoOne of the most trusted republishers (of the Danish cartoons, mockers and religious zealotry) was killed in a firebombing in November 2011. It had the most beautiful cover I’ve ever seen, and I keep it up on my wall every day.
Baquet was nearly nine years old when he began to consider how to present the images in this terrible free-speech tale. Baquet was interviewed in detail in an agonizing Margaret Sullivan column titled “A Close Call to Publication of Charlie Hebdo Cartoons” while the crime scene was being cleaned of bloody illustrators. You can see the politician at work:
Baquet explained to me Wednesday that he was convinced by the Times’ publication of these images because of their newsworthiness, solidarity with the fallen journalists, and freedom of expression.
According to him, he spent about half his day answering the question and seeking the opinions of senior editors. He also reached out to editors at some of The Times international bureaus. He told them that they wouldn’t feel threatened if The Times published the images. But he was still concerned about safety for staff.
He stated, “I sought to find a lot more views, but I changed my minds twice.” It was my choice alone.
He decided not to do it. This was because he considered the sensibilities of Times readers and especially Muslim readers. Many of these readers, he stated, consider depictions of Muhammad the prophet sacrilegious. They are made to make fun of even more people.Our standard has been held for a long time and serves us well. We believe there’s a fine line between gratuitous insinuation and satire. These are often gratuitous insults..”
“At what stage does news worthiness override standards?” Mr. Baquet asked. Mr. Baquet asked. He deemed it unacceptable.
I asked Mr. Baquet about a different approach—something much more moderate, along the lines of what the [Washington] Post’s OpEd page did in print. “Something such as that is most likely so compromised it’s meaningless,” he replied. However, he was speaking about generality and not The Post’s decision.
The Times was undoubtedly conscientious and took a thoughtful decision. In accordance with the company’s standards.
Bolding mine for purposes of foreshadowing. Instantly, it was shown that the “standard” for seperating gratuitous insults and satire wasn’t long-held. As newspapers have done since the beginning, there was a “use/mention” distinction for individual pieces of art that could be newsworthy.
The following day, it was the TimesIt was shown that the ever-slippery rule about Islamic imagery didn’t require any insult when it came to portraying real artwork based upon historical figures. The Paper of Record published an article on how Mohammad’s statue remained atop New York’s courthouse for half-century. However, they refused to run any file photographs of its subject.
Out of respect for Muslims (to whom depictions a prophet are offensive), the statue was removed.
(For this same reason, The New York Times decided not to publish photos of the statue along with the article.
At the time that the post-massacre Charlie HebdoCover was out. The only thing that was left to be determined was the extent of Baquet’s frustration at not being able to publish it.
He stated that he had republished Charlie Hebdo cartoons, including one of ISIS’ head. He also included some cartoons about politics. We don’t normally publish any images or material that is deliberately meant to offend religious sensibilities. Images of Prophet Muhammad are considered offensive by many Muslims. We’ve resisted the temptation to publish them.”
Margaret Sullivan, a dissenting member of the group, described his decision-making as follows: “Baquet repeatedly told me in recent days that he was listening to comments from readers on last week’s blog post and that he thought they were thoughtful and in some cases eloquent. He sent me some examples of letters from readers thanking him for The Times’s patience and sensibility last week.
American leaders in cultural institutions created an American publishing ban that was applicable only to one religion over 16 years. Condoms are the Pope. Insult away!). They’ve made it a terrorist’s veto. Baquet is responsible for this shameful development in free speech.
2) Giving in to the mob of newsroom workers. Baquet fired Pandemic Reporter for Extracurricular Linguistic Infraction in February 2021. This was two years after the reporter had been investigated and punished. Baquet fired the reporter because the report had been leaked to the media. TimesYou can find more information here The Daily BeastThe newsroom was enraged by the incident, and a series of histrionic requests were made.
Donald McNeil, Jr., was on the a TimesHigh School students sponsored an overseas trip. One student asked him about his opinion on whether another high school student should have to be punished because he found out that she made a video of herself using the word at 12 years old. Nigger. McNeil, after being forced from the scene, wrote: “To comprehend what was in that video.” TimesI asked her if she’d ever called anyone else the slur, or if she was just rapping about a book title. “I used the slur in asking this question.”
McNeil behaviour was also criticized by parents. It was the Times, through an initial statement last January, said it had “conducted a thorough investigation and disciplined Donald for statements and language that had been inappropriate and inconsistent with our values….We found he had used bad judgment by repeating a racist slur in the context of a conversation about racist language. Additionally, we offered our apologies to all students who participated in the trip. Added Baquet: “[I]I concluded that his comments were offensive, that he had poor judgement and that his intent was not to be hateful or malicious. “I believe people in these cases should be told that they’re wrong and given another chance.
At least 150 McNeil colleagues were not satisfied with this punishment. They declared themselves “outraged” and “in pain”, and claimed McNeil was “irrelevant”. The demands for an apology, reinvestigation and an organizational-wide study on how newsroom decisions are influenced by racial bias included an explanation, an investigation, and an organisation-wide report. They made the shocking claim that McNeil was biased against people of color over time in both his work and relationships with colleagues.
Remarkably, Baquet and his soon-to-be-replacement Joe Kahn buckled, declaring (falsely) that “We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent.”
At major cultural institutions, zero tolerance dismissals for such actions is both distressingly frequent and illiberal. This is an area that’s still well covered in The Pages of Fortunately. The New York TimesMichael Powell and others. It accelerates one the most noxious trends of contemporary intellectual life when it is practiced by the nation’s leading newspaper.
The internal attempts to remove discordant voices is evident. TimesThese pages have been deemed “famous”. The paper’s success will ensure that it is not only more interesting and politically consistent, but also will inspire similar actions in the rest of the media world. Dean Baquet may have pushed back on occasion—including in his farewell present of restricting staff Twitter use—but he gave enough ground to leave open the question of who really will run that newsroom once a character less politically adept sits in his chair.
If Baquet had an impressive pre-editing résumé—he was a Pulitzer-winning investigative reporter, after all—his successor, Joe Kahn, might have an even more spectacular (if considerably more privileged) pedigree, bootstrapping his reportorial chops in China, learning Mandarin, reorganizing the TimesThe paper’s international coverage was a key factor in shaping its ongoing “Live” desk. An exhaustive New YorkProfil from this week. Kahn’s lack of political skill, whether he is confidently speaking on both sides or asking for respect and notice at the shop, shows in his profile.
Reading between the lines of Kahn’s public statements, he seems even more eager than Baquet to keep the paper above the right-left fray, to trim back the staff excesses on social media, and to emphasize the paper’s hard news mission above the increasingly identity-politics-drenched everything else. Kahn will be acting on these impulses as a black college dropout and journalist in the South, not as someone who is hip enough to interview Jay Z. But as an older white Bostonian with fancy tastes. It is likely that we will soon discover whether or not he has. The New York TimesCan be handled by non-politicians.