IS THE NEW YORK TIMES A LIBERAL NEWSPAPER? OF COURSE IT IS. Don McNeil: Dean Baquet, Joe Kahn, Racist Slurs, Twitter and Mao: on Passing the Torch at The New York Times.
The Times has done everything short of admitting it erred. It still occasionally uses the very word that got me ousted, a word it was using in the same month in 2019 I uttered it in Peru. It didn’t punish Bret Stephens for his leaked column calling its decision hypocritical. It canceled the student trips program. It hired John McWhorter as a columnist even though he had trashed the decision to oust me and called it “contemptible.”
The Times has not publicly disputed even one of the 20,000 words I published March 1, 2021, describing what really happened in Peru and during the internal investigations.
Why? Because it knows they’re true. And because of corporate cowardice. The company instantly corrects its reporters’ errors, but it takes decades to admit blunders by its owners (such as ignoring the Holocaust.)
When I started in 1976, The Times was run by a former Marine who cared more about the mission — journalism — than about policing the personalities of his troops. Now it’s run by his grandson, a Brown graduate who believes in safe spaces and race-based capitalization. It once dealt calmly with criticism. Now it panics — even over a tabloid piece based on anonymous quotes from very naive teenagers. It hunts for someone to flog into the street, or uses threats to extract apologies it can issue with a groveling press release. (See below.)
To my mind, that shift began during the Jayson Blair/Judy Miller/Rick Bragg fiascos. The company became addicted to self-mortification. A weekly public editor column meant someone had to be hung out to dry every week, guilty or not.
The company has also hired more and more young elitists who sneer at average Americans. And who get their way by running to the teacher and weeping “I feel unsafe!” I found that tactic baffling when it was used against James Bennet in 2020. Who chooses journalism with an expectation of safety? It’s an incredibly exciting life; it’s not always a safe one — you may be sent to cover wars. I loved it.
Read the whole thing to learn how the sausage is made, but note McNeil’s line that “The company has also hired more and more young elitists who sneer at average Americans.” You’ll be shocked to discover that there are also older elitists who sneer at average Americans” as well at the Times. Including this former employee: Donald McNeil described Americans as ‘selfish pigs’ in email to Fauci. The then-New York Times science writer compared us unfavorably to the average Chinese who ‘behaved incredibly heroically.’
(Classical reference in headline.)