There are a few very revealing moments in this Lizzie O’Leary interview with Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times that pretty much tell you everything you need to know about what’s wrong with the executive and editorial culture at that newspaper.
Faced with a question about veteran journalists having raised questions about the ways in which the press cover mass shootings, Baquet retorts, “So what’s your alternative? Is it to not cover?” This, of course, is a bath-faith strawman that isn’t the point of the Margaret Sullivan column O’Leary cites.
Faced with questions about the Times no longer having a public editor position, Baquet says, “I don’t think there’s any shortage of ways to criticize The New York Times”, mistaking the ability of any given social media user to tweet at them for “ways to call us to account”, when it’s obvious on its face that having an in-house but independent monitor on journalistic abuses is a unique and high-profile way to focus debate and discussion, and having one—or not having one–is itself a declaration of a newspaper’s values.
The interview mostly serves as an opportunity for a Baquet apologia for the way the Times does things.