Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times, is facing what could easily turn into a full-fledged mutiny from within the rank-and-file at the Gray Lady. With progressives still sore over that fabled “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism” headline from a couple of weeks ago, Baquet held an internal town hall meeting, the content of which was leaked to ultra-left site Salon. In their expose of the meeting, we learn that Baquet is trying desperately to console the leftists under his command, telling them that the Times is struggling to catch up with the changing tides of the nation’s main story.
In other words, they are slowly but surely changing the narrative from “Trump Colluded With Russia to Cheat Hillary Out of the Election” to “Trump Hates Brown People, Let Us Count the Ways”.
“We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” Baquet said. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”
Yes, in Baquet’s view, their coverage of the Great Russian Conspiracy Theory was done “truly well.” That’s one mighty peculiar way to say, “we botched the living shit out of it.”
But Baquet clearly doesn’t see it that way.
“Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else,” Baquet said.
Well, it certainly tells you what a Pulitzer Prize is worth, doesn’t it.
“The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened,” Baquet continued. “Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.’ And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?”
A tiny bit flat-footed. That’s how Baquet describes that feeling of shock that ran through the New York Times newsroom when it was revealed that they had been shoveling metric tons of fake news to the public for two solid years.
Now the Times is turning their focus to Trump’s racism (as though they really haven’t been calling him a racist for nearly four years), and we’re sure readers can expect the same Pulitzer Prize-winning research that they brought to the Russia story. And then, maybe in a couple of years, Baquet will boast about that.
That is, if his leftist staff doesn’t mutiny in the meantime.