Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-MA, greet each other before the first of two Democratic presidential primary debates hosted by CNN, 7/30/19, in the Fox Theatre in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Because the Impeachmentpalooza show trial has understandably been grabbing all the headlines and most of the attention over the past couple of weeks, it’s been easy to miss some of the other notable goings-on in the crazy world of American politics.
One such story that hasn’t gotten much attention is an interview the UK’s Guardian newspaper recently did with New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet in which Baquet made a rather an eye-opening statement about what reporters in his newsroom have reportedly said to him regarding how they’d prefer the paper cover certain Democratic candidates for president.
A considerable amount of the interview was about how Baquet felt that the highly adversarial relationship between President Trump and the mainstream press had put the lives of journalists in his newsroom in particular at risk:
Dean Baquet, who has led the news outlet during one of the most tumultuous periods in its history, said the US president’s history of verbal attacks on journalists such as the New York Times’s political reporter Maggie Haberman was “appalling” and risked having serious consequences.
“I think his personal attacks on reporters, including Maggie, are pretty awful and pretty unpresidential,” he said. “I think personal attacks on journalists, when he calls them names, I think he puts their lives at risk.
While this is not the first time a high-ranking representative of the paper has made such an accusation, something new learned from Baquet during his talk with the Guardian is how he says some of the paper’s staff feels about openly embracing certain Democratic candidates for president in their coverage – specifically either Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), both of who are considered among the most liberal of those still in the race:
New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet has reportedly told his junior staff and readers that the paper’s news coverage won’t openly side with particular Democratic candidates for president, despite pressure from those constituencies to do so.
In a profile of Baquet, The Guardian reported that Baquet told staffers “the outlet would lose its status if it openly sided with particular politicians.” The piece implied that Baquet had been pressured to approve coverage favorable to Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., but did not provide details.
“They probably want a more political New York Times than I’m willing to give them,” Baquet said of those staffers. “I hope they will learn over time that a New York Times that plays it straight has much more power and much more longevity.”
“…a New York Times that plays it straight ..”? I hope I didn’t just startle my neighbors with the loud sounds of laughter coming from my office.
The day the so-called “Newspaper of record” plays it straight with their readers is the day hell freezes over.
I mean, think about it: The editorial side hasn’t endorsed a Republican for president in over 60 years (Eisenhower) and like other newspapers where the editorial board always goes with Democrats, the newsroom follows that direction in their straight news reporting. The New York Times is certainly no exception to that and in fact has been a “leader” when it comes to deliberately slanting their coverage to paint their preferred (Democratic) candidates in more flattering lights than the ones (Republicans) they don’t like.
That Baquet is now on record as admitting some in his newsroom believe their coverage of Sanders and Warren should be more favorable just proves that point all the more. And in spite of his supposed veto of the idea, you better believe those same journalists will do it anyway. In the event it’s Biden who gets the nomination instead of Sanders or Warren, look for the paper to provide glowing profiles of him the likes of which you’ve never seen before.
Because Orange Man Bad and must be defeated, no matter how much more journalistic integrity the New York Times will have to sacrifice in order to make it happen.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –