Next Baquet, Dao, Rubenstein and Sulzberger.
New York Times editorial page editor resigns after uproar over Cotton op-ed
By Travis M. Andrews and Elahe Izadi, Washington Post
June 7, 2020
The New York Times on Sunday announced the resignation of its editorial page editor James Bennet, who had held the position since May 2016, and the reassignment of deputy editorial page editor James Dao to the newsroom.
The announcement comes three days after Bennet acknowledged that he had not read, before publication, a controversial op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R.-Ark.) headlined “Send in the Troops,” which called for military intervention in U.S. cities where protests over police brutality have ignited violence.
Dozens of Times staffers spoke out on Twitter on Wednesday evening to denounce their newspaper’s decision to run the essay shortly after it appeared online, calling it inflammatory and saying it contained assertions debunked as misinformation by the Times’s own reporting; several hundred later signed a letter objecting to it.
Bennet and the paper’s publisher initially defended the publication of the piece, arguing the benefits of an editorial page that includes diverse viewpoints. But by Thursday evening, a little more than 24 hours after it published, the Times abruptly said the op-ed was the result of a “rushed editorial process” and “did not meet our standards.” A lengthy editor’s note to the column was added.
Kathleen Kingsbury, a deputy editorial page editor, will assume the role of editorial page editor through the presidential election in November, the Times announced.
Bennet’s resignation is a stunning end to a tenure during which he expanded the editorial page roster and saw one of his writers win a Pulitzer. The younger brother of Sen. Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.), he previously had a long career on the Times news staff, as White House correspondent and Jerusalem bureau chief. Bennet, 54, was considered one of the potential internal candidates in contention to succeed Executive Editor Dean Baquet, who plans to step down in a few years.
Bennet also oversaw the section through several high-profile controversies, including one that led to legal action by Sarah Palin, who accused the Times of linking her to the 2011 shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, and an op-ed by conservative columnist Bret Stephens, in which he seemed to compare a professor calling him a bedbug on Twitter to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews during the Holocaust.
Bret Stephens endorses Race Based Eugenics (Genocide) and Charles Murray (also in favor of Genocide). Forget the petty “bedbug” crap.
The Times reported on Thursday that the Cotton op-ed was handled by an editor named Adam Rubenstein who shrugged off accuracy issues raised by a photo editor, and that Bennet had acknowledged in a meeting that he had not read it. Dao, Bennet’s deputy, told colleagues in internal messages reviewed by The Post that he had read the op-ed and that it had been fact-checked.
Oh by the way, Dao has been busted back to a Beat Reporter so expect his resignation too. Screw you. I hope you starve you suck up Racist Toady.
Dao, a well-liked personality in the newsroom and the highest-ranking Asian American at the paper, defended Rubenstein on Saturday night. “I oversaw the acceptance and review of the Cotton Op-Ed,” he wrote on Twitter, saying blame should be laid with the opinion section’s leaders and not with “an intrepid and highly competent junior staffer.”
You weasel. You sucked your way up the ladder (“intrepid and highly competent junior staffer? Deputy Editor!) signed off and now you’re trying to escape accountability. The fact that you’re Asian doesn’t make you any less Racist.
You’re a Coward and an Asshole.
Rubenstein should hit the bricks too. Not only is he Racist, he’s completely incompetent. Fact Checked?
Oh, you think I’m wrong about Sulzberger? Just because he’s Jewish doesn’t make him not a Racist Asshole.
In a phone interview Sunday, Sulzberger acknowledged that the turmoil over Cotton’s piece and Bennet’s subsequent resignation had been challenging for the entire Times organization — part of a tumultuous period that began before he was named publisher in January 2018 and has included the rise of misinformation, the attacks on the press by President Trump, and “the collapse of the news ecosystem.”
He gave Bennet warm praise for broadening the ranks of columnists at the Times, and of reinvigorating the staff-written editorials to lead crusades on issues such as privacy and economic inequality.
But he emphasized that the Times is not backing off from offering a wide range of viewpoints within its Opinion section — and that he won’t yield to those who don’t want to hear opposing views. “Independence is our most important strength and the thing I guard most zealously,” he said.
Is this a SJW scalp? Screw You!
These people are Assholes. Fire them all!
Quislings are not Allies.
Back Atcha Post
An update if you will.
Inside the Revolts Erupting in America’s Big Newsrooms
By Ben Smith, The New York Times
June 7, 2020
Wesley Lowery woke up in Ferguson, Mo., on Aug. 14, 2014, his cheek sore from where a police officer had smashed it into a vending machine. He was also wondering how to get his shoelaces back into his boat shoes, after the police took them when tossing him in a holding cell the night before. Around 8:30 that morning, he dialed into CNN’s morning show, where a host passed on some advice from Joe Scarborough at MSNBC: “Next time a police officer tells you that you’ve got to move along because you’ve got riots outside, well, you probably should move along.”
Mr. Lowery responded furiously. “I would invite Joe Scarborough to come down to Ferguson and get out of 30 Rock where he’s sitting sipping his Starbucks smugly,” he said on CNN, describing “having tear gas shot at me, having rubber bullets shot at me, having mothers, daughters, crying, having a 19-year-old boy, crying as he had to run and pull his 21-year-old sister out of a cloud of tear gas.”
The outburst from a 24-year-old Washington Post reporter provoked eye rolls in Washington. But Mr. Lowery would go on to make his name in Ferguson as an aggressive and high-profile star, shaping a raw new national perspective on racial injustice. Six years later, few in the news business doubt Mr. Lowery’s premise: that American police are more brutal and dishonest than much of the media that came of age pre-Ferguson reported.
“I look at everything differently, and would never do that again,” Mr. Scarborough told me of his 2014 exchange with Mr. Lowery. “I should have kept my mouth shut.”
Historical moments don’t have neat beginnings and endings, but the new way of covering civil rights protests, like the Black Lives Matter movement itself, coalesced on the streets of Ferguson. Seeing the brutality of a white power structure toward its poor black citizens up close, and at its rawest, helped shape the way a generation of reporters, most of them black, looked at their jobs when they returned to their newsrooms.
And by 2014, they had in Twitter a powerful outlet. The platform offered a counterweight to their newsrooms, which over the years had sought to hire black reporters on the unspoken condition that they bite their tongues about racism.
Now, as America is wrestling with the surging of a moment that began in August 2014, its biggest newsrooms are trying to find common ground between a tradition that aims to persuade the widest possible audience that its reporting is neutral and journalists who believe that fairness on issues from race to Donald Trump requires clear moral calls.
“Objective” Journalism is why politics have been so corrupt for so long. You’re an Asshole Ben. Sometimes reality is Manichean.
The conflict exploded in recent days into public protests at The New York Times, ending in the resignation of its top Opinion editor on Sunday; The Philadelphia Inquirer, whose executive editor resigned on Saturday over the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” and the ensuing anger from his staff; and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. And it has been the subject of quiet agony at The Washington Post, which Mr. Lowery left earlier this year, months after the executive editor, Martin Baron, threatened to fire him for expressing his views on Twitter about race, journalism and other subjects.
Mr. Lowery’s view that news organizations’ “core value needs to be the truth, not the perception of objectivity,” as he told me, has been winning in a series of battles, many around how to cover race. Heated Twitter criticism helped to retire euphemisms like “racially charged.” The big outlets have gradually, awkwardly, given ground, using “racist” and “lie” more freely, especially when describing Mr. Trump’s behavior. The Times vowed to remake its Opinion section after Senator Tom Cotton’s Op-Ed article calling for the use of troops in American cities infuriated the newsroom last week.
Actually there’s a part in here that describes credulous and naive Reporters going to first discover Racism and Right Wing hostility to factual reporting in Ferguson which is complete bullshit because it’s been going on for at least a Century you ignorant moron.
Some of the lessons learned in Ferguson — about race and the particular experience of black reporters, among others — carried over into the next challenging era: the arrival of Mr. Trump, whose bigoted language and tactics shattered norms. Black reporters were joined by other journalists in pushing, inside newsrooms and on Twitter, for more direct language — and less deference — in covering the president.
That pattern continued last week, as Times staff members began an extraordinary campaign to publicly denounce the Op-Ed article written by Senator Cotton. Members of an internal group called Black@NYT organized the effort in a new Slack channel and agreed on a carefully drafted response. They would say that Mr. Cotton’s column “endangered” black staff members, a choice of words intended to “focus on the work” and “avoid being construed as hyperpartisan,” one said. On Wednesday evening around 7:30, hours after the column was posted, Times employees began tweeting a screenshot of Mr. Cotton’s essay, most with some version of the sentence: “Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger.” The NewsGuild of New York later advised staff members that that formulation was legally protected speech because it focused on workplace safety. “It wasn’t just an opinion, it felt violent — it was a call to action that could hurt people,” one union activist said of Mr. Cotton’s column.
Times employees sent the publisher a letter, which a reporter shared with me, saying Mr. Cotton’s “message undermines the work we do, in the newsroom and in opinion, and is an affront to our standards for ethical and accurate reporting for the public’s interest.” A NewsGuild spokesman said more than 1,000 Times employees signed the letter, but that the names weren’t being made public or shared internally.
The protest worked: The paper veered into internal crisis, and the publisher, A. G. Sulzberger, decided he could not continue with Mr. Bennet running the Opinion section, which had repeatedly stumbled in ways that infuriated the newsroom.
Mr. Bennet acknowledged that he had not read the Op-Ed before it was published, which people at all levels of the Times saw as a damning admission. He said in a virtual meeting with nearly 4,000 Times staff members on Friday that he had long believed that for “ideas and even dangerous ideas, that the right thing to do is expose them on our platform to public scrutiny and debate, and that’s the best way, that even dangerous ideas can be discarded.” But, he said, he was now asking himself, “Is that right?” (Mr. Bennet declined to discuss the situation further with me.)
At the same meeting, Times executives thanked staff members for their public outrage, and later that day published an editor’s note atop Mr. Cotton’s article, saying that it contained allegations that “have not been substantiated,” its tone was “needlessly harsh” and that it should not have been published.
And while those angered by Mr. Cotton’s piece dominated the Twitter and Slack conversations and won the day, some staff members disagreed in private and public with the decision.
“A strong paper and strong democracy does not shy from many voices. And this one had clear news value,” Michael Powell, a longtime reporter and sports columnist at The Times, wrote on Twitter. He also called the editor’s note an “embarrassing retreat from principle.”
I have read Michael Powell. He’s not all that as writer and he’s a stone cold Racist. Why are you paying him again? I could be twice as bad at half the cost.
The fights at The Times are particularly intense because Mr. Sulzberger is now considering candidates to replace the executive editor, Dean Baquet, in 2022, the year he turns 66. Competing candidates represent different visions for the paper, and Mr. Bennet had embodied a particular kind of ecumenical establishment politics. But the Cotton debacle had clearly endangered Mr. Bennet’s future. When the highly regarded Sunday Business editor, Nick Summers, said in a Google Hangout meeting last Thursday that he wouldn’t work for Mr. Bennet, he drew agreement from colleagues in a chat window.
How long Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Baquet will put up with public pressure from their staff is not clear. In an earlier moment of social turmoil, A.M. Rosenthal, who led the newsroom from 1969 to 1986, kept a watchful eye and heavy hand on reporters he perceived to lean too far left. The words, “He kept the paper straight,” are inscribed on his gravestone.
Minutes after Mr. Sulzberger told the staff in an email that Mr. Bennet had resigned, he told me not to interpret the move as a philosophical shift. Mr. Rosenthal, he noted, had presided over a much less diverse newsroom, and one that focused on covering New York for New Yorkers.
“In this case, we messed up and hiding behind, ‘We want to keep the paper straight,’ to not acknowledge that, would have left us more exposed,” Mr. Sulzberger said.
And he told me in a separate interview on Friday: “We’re not retreating from the principles of independence and objectivity. We don’t pretend to be objective about things like human rights and racism.”
Department of Redundant Redundancy- “Objective” Journalism is why politics have been so corrupt for so long.
Oh, and here is where we call the WaPo hypocrites (and they are actually but it doesn’t excuse your own hypocracy you sanctimonious jerk).
But the shift in mainstream American media — driven by a journalism that is more personal, and reporters more willing to speak what they see as the truth without worrying about alienating conservatives — now feels irreversible. It is driven in equal parts by politics, the culture and journalism’s business model, relying increasingly on passionate readers willing to pay for content rather than skittish advertisers.
That shift will come too late for Mr. Lowery’s career at The Washington Post. After Ferguson, he proposed and was a lead reporter on a project to build the first national database of police shootings and draw lessons from the results. It won The Post a Pulitzer Prize in 2016. He seemed to insiders and outsiders the prototype of the precocious, nakedly ambitious, somewhat arrogant and very talented (though usually white and male) reporter who has risen quickly at American newspapers.
But Mr. Baron has been more sensitive than other newsroom leaders to reporters who push the limits on Twitter and on television, as Max Tani reported in the Daily Beast earlier this year. (At The New York Times, social media policy is usually enforced by a passive-aggressive email from an editor and rare follow-up.) Mr. Lowery said that when he hit back at a Republican official who criticized his Ferguson coverage on Twitter, he drew a lecture from Mr. Baron.
By 2019, the executive editor had gathered examples of what he saw as misconduct, from Mr. Lowery’s tweet mocking attendees at a Washington book party as “decadent aristocrats” to one tweet criticizing a New York Times report on the Tea Party.
And after a tense meeting last September, Mr. Baron handed Mr. Lowery a memo written in the wooden, and condescending, language of human resources:
Mr. Lowery was “failing to perform your job duties by engaging in conduct on social media that violates The Washington Post’s policy and damages our journalistic integrity,” the memo says.
“We need to see immediate cessation of improper use of social media, outlined above. Failure to address this issue will result in increased disciplinary action, up to and including the termination of your employment.”
Mr. Lowery responded with his own memo, defending himself point-by-point, pointing to specific errors, and arguing that in one case he was joining the “debate about a topic I cover directly — race and racism in America.”
“Generations of black journalists, including here at The Washington Post, have served as the conscience not only of their publications but of our entire industry,” Mr. Lowery said in the memo to Mr. Baron, which I also obtained. “Often those journalists have done so by leveling public criticism of both their competitors and their own employers. News organizations often respond to such internal and external pressure.”
Washington Post employees said the confrontation between America’s most famous newspaper editor — Mr. Baron is portrayed heroically by Liev Schreiber in the movie “Spotlight” — and his protégé was followed by a flurry of efforts by the Post’s national editor, Steven Ginsberg, and others to mediate the conflict. Mr. Baron declined through a spokeswoman to comment on the episode or its broader themes. “As editor, it would be inappropriate for him to speak about an individual employee,” the spokeswoman, Kris Coratti, said.
But six months later Mr. Lowery left The Post, for a “60 Minutes” project on the new streaming platform Quibi. It was, he said, a great opportunity. But “you have to live outside the realm of reality to think the executive editor of The Washington Post dressing me down in his office and inviting me to seek employment elsewhere didn’t contribute to me seeking employment elsewhere.”
He still has Twitter, though. On Wednesday, he tweeted that he’d canceled his subscription to The Times and demanded that Mr. Bennet resign. The next day, he broke some big news: George Floyd’s family and the Rev. Al Sharpton would lead a national march on Washington to mark the anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march.
“American view-from-nowhere, ‘objectivity’-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment,” he tweeted of the Times debacle. “We need to rebuild our industry as one that operates from a place of moral clarity.”
That argument is gathering momentum in key American newsrooms. At The Times, staff members are pressing for changes beyond the Opinion section. At The Post, a committee reporting to Mr. Ginsberg recently delivered a review of staff members’ attitudes toward social media policy. And at The Post’s own tense town hall on Friday, Mr. Baron apologized for failing in a recent email to address “the particular and severe burden felt by black employees, many of whom were also covering the story” of the protests, according to notes from a participant in the meeting. The Post’s union then sent an email to the staff criticizing Mr. Baron’s response. “Most striking of all was that the four voices the company chose to elevate in this moment belonged exclusively to white people. There could be no starker example of The Post’s lack of diversity in management.”
Perhaps most tellingly, reporters I spoke to at The Post said they wished Mr. Lowery was still there, breaking news from Minneapolis for the paper.
“When an organization loses a journalist as talented and as fiercely committed to the truth as Wesley Lowery, its leaders need to ask themselves why,” said Felicia Sonmez, a national political reporter who clashed with Mr. Baron over a different tweet. “We need more reporters like him, not fewer.”
So you’re the lesser of two evils rather than good. Doesn’t make you not evil. I don’t buy it from “Democrats” and I don’t buy it from you either, you Rectum Licking Toady.
I once wanted to work at the Times.
Now it’s all about the price.