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Published On: Sun, Aug 18th, 2019

NY Times holds meeting to discuss new vision after failed Russian collusion narrative and bias against Trump

Leftist outrage on Monday prompted a New York Times headline change after Democratic backlash claimed it was too kind to President Donald Trump. Now a transcript published by Slate details a “crisis townhall meeting” with the Time staff, led by executive editor Dean Baquet, who was laying out the new agenda for the Times on how it covers Trump.

“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,” New York Times executive editor said.

photo/ donkeyhotey

“They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president,” Baquet said. “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.”

Staffers repeatedly asked Baquet about the paper’s reluctance to use the word racist, in part because his explanations seemed inconsistent. Calling it a “bizarre litmus test,” Baquet argued it was “more powerful” to avoid directly using the label. “The best way to capture a remark, like the kinds of remarks the president makes, is to use them, to lay it out in perspective,” he said. “That is much more powerful than the use of a word.”

As stated, the initial headline the Times posted in a preview of the next day’s paper read, “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.” That title inspired strong rebuke from many on the Left, including Democratic presidential candidates. In response, the Times quickly altered its title to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.”

Baquet then admits that the Times had “built our newsroom” around covering the ultimately debunked narrative that Trump “colluded” with Russia. “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” said Baquet in comments highlighted by the Washington Examiner‘s Byron York. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”

Here’s the new vision for the Times from Baquet: “I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.”

 

photo/ John Hain

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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