BREAKING (And Astounding): A Smoking Gun Inside A Smoking Gun!


The New York Times just published an interview with its editor, Dean Baquet. You, everyone needs to read it. I’m want to minimize commentary, because I think–I think–that the interview  speaks eloquently for itself. What it says, amazingly, is that the New York Times is exactly as biased and partisan as its critics have said it is, and yet is somehow both in denial and incapable of making  coherent statements adequate to the task of fooling anyone who isn’t already on the “team” and committed to its mission. That the paper would subject its own editor to an interview—the interviewer is ex-BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith–that exposes the Times’ unethical manipulation of news and reveals the Times’ own editor as a babbling, rationalizing, spinning and obfuscating fool is incomprehensible.

And the Times published it! How can that be explained? Did the paper want to confess? That can’t be it. Is the Times so completely delusional that they don’t see how awful and incriminating Baquet’s answers are, that they are signature significance for an editor of exactly the kind of newspaper those who resent American journalism turning into partisan propaganda have been saying it is?

Is Baquet, who had to approve this, that certain that his readers have been so corrupted, or are so gullible, that they wouldn’t derive the obvious conclusion from his  double-talk?  Really?

One exchange is sufficient to make the point. Here Smith asks about the fiasco Ethics Alarms covered here, when the Times wrote, of its investigation of Tara Reade’s allegations, “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.”

Smith: I want to ask about some edits that were made after publication, the deletion of the second half of the sentence: “The Times found no pattern of sexual misconduct by Mr. Biden, beyond the hugs, kisses and touching that women previously said made them uncomfortable.” Why did you do that?

Baquet: Even though a lot of us, including me, had looked at it before the story went into the paper, I think that the campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct. And that’s not what the sentence was intended to say.

“The campaign thought that the phrasing was awkward and made it look like there were other instances in which he had been accused of sexual misconduct.” This was left in the interview! The statement means the New York Times was coordinating its reporting of a serious  charge against against the presumptive challenger to President Trump with that challenger’s campaign, and now sees that kind of—shall we say collusion?—as so routine that the editor doesn’t even think it’s damning.

And incidentally, Mr. Baquet, sexual harassment is sexual misconduct, and Biden has been accused of it by others.

The other exchanges are stunning in the verbal Mobius strips and “huminahumina” word fog the editor emits. Here’s another exchange:

Smith: But do you think looking back that The Times hewed to its standards both on Kavanaugh and on Biden, even though the treatment in the moment was so different.

Baquet: I do. The standard, to be really simple, is that we try to give the reader the best information we can come up with at the time. And we try to give the reader the information they need to make their own judgments. Unless we can make the judgment. And Kavanaugh was a running, hot story. I don’t think it’s that the ethical standards were different. I think the news judgments had to be made from a different perspective in a running hot story.

What? The Times didn’t report Reade’s accusation for 19 days, leading most of the rest of the mainstream media to do the same. It wasn’t a “running, hot story” because the news media didn’t let the public know about it! How could Baquet say, “We try to give the reader the best information we can come up with at the time” without cracking up laughing? Giving the readers the basic information that a #MeToo accusation against Joe Biden has been leveled by a former staffer was better than no information, making it the best at the time.

Read all of the interview, headlined The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation Against Biden. Here’s Why.”

20 thoughts on “BREAKING (And Astounding): A Smoking Gun Inside A Smoking Gun!

  1. As soon as I read it I came here to see if you commented yet. The spin was spectacular.

    I still can’t figure out if they think we’re stupid enough to believe it, or they believe their own lies.

    • Neither can I. It’s one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever read. If you can’t spin better than that, it should be a strong clue that you’re on the wrong road. If you can’t spin better than that, you don’t submit to an interview that requires you to spin, which essentially admits that your paper is a disgrace. If you have spun that badly, why would you let it be publicized so everyone knows you’re a fake?

      None of it makes any sense.

  2. First answer: they wanted to bring their expertise doing similar stories. So why did they use their political commentary division instead of their investigative journalism division, the one that actually has done similar stories?

    The entire interview is signature significance after signature significance. A signature stack? Signature series? Julie Principle? Or would it be something else, since most people refuse to acknowledge the signature significance series? Insert a better term if there isn’t already one.

  3. It’s 6 am, and while this post has had fair number of views,, less than 20% have actually read the interview. I know that’s the way of the web, but it’s still discouraging. I’m not kidding: the interview is a smoking gun, and responsible citizens need to know about it first hand.

    • Just read a comment on another blog where someone said the Times interview isn’t a big deal because “we already knew they coordinated with Democrats.” If so, then all those who deny mainstream media bias are lying, then? Because that really would be a conspiracy.

      Hanlon’s Razor still applies.

      • Hanlon’s? Or Occam’s?

        Seriously, I have a hard time attributing this to incompetence. It looks not so much like a conspiracy, but a simple statement of fact that they think is broadly known to, and should be agreeably understood by everyone — there is no ethical price too high to pay to thwart Trump and get him out of office, and the Democrats in power.

        This is essentially a statement of that position using other words, including a transparent admission that the Times believes a double-standard is a perfectly acceptable means to their desired ends. They get to decide what the public “needs to know to make a decision.” They offered no such benefit to Kavanaugh because they wanted Kavanaugh to be rejected by the Senate, and providing the nuance to their reporting they afforded Biden would’ve interfered with and undermined that objective, which they believe all Americans should’ve supported.

        By the way, I read the entire piece, and I think I might have to have my jaw wired shut.

  4. I’m not a subscriber to the Times and, perhaps, a fair number of those viewing Ethics Alarms are not, either. But, I can see the print and online editions through my library. (The interview does not seem to be in the print edition, just in the online edition.)
    I agree the interview is damning for those who look to the Times for accurate, timely reporting. I no longer do and haven’t for some time.
    Here are a couple of quotes from the story that kinda seal the deal for me:
    “Look, I get the argument. Just do a short, straightforward news story. But I’m not sure that doing this sort of straightforward news story would have helped the reader understand. Have all the information he or she needs to think about what to make of this thing.”
    “And we try to give the reader the information they need to make their own judgments. Unless we can make the judgment.”
    The first one is a rationalization, just a lame excuse for not publishing the accusation in a timely manner. It is in fact quite different from their treatment of Kavanaugh and a rationalization is the only way for Baquet to deal with that.
    The second one reminds me of something another reporter said a while back, that is the job of the media to control what people think. That is exactly what the Times acknowledges doing here.
    It might also be a factor that COVID-19 was much more of a “hot running story” on April 12 than it was a few weeks earlier; there are better times to bury a story if one chooses carefully.
    Unfortunately, none of this will matter to the true believers.

    • [Note: The web-browser ‘Startpage’ can be used to access and NYTs story. I have a Times subscription for desktop and iPad but not for my iPhone. So, when on the iPhone I sometimes want to read a story.

      So, I use the terms “NYT The Times Took 19 Days to Report an Accusation” and run it in Startpage. Once it locates the link to the story it has an option to ‘view anonymously’ and I can then access and read the story. Works every time.]

  5. ‘Christine Blasey Ford seemed to remember it clearly and told the story very, very clearly. But reporters didn’t speak to anyone who recalled her telling them contemporaneously. Do you think that her allegation on its face is more credible than Tara Reade’s?’

    The hell you say!

    Christine Blasey Ford’s recounting of events was by no means told ‘very, very clearly’ as her account was full of holes, inconsistencies, and the details of which seemed to change every time she retold the events of her alleged 30 plus year old assault accusation, such as:

    -The date of the alleged assault, which she initially recounted as occurring in the summer of 1982-which conflicts with the date given to her therapist and the text messages she sent to the Washington Post.

    -The number of assailants, which alternated between four and five.

    -The location of the house where the party was held, during which her assault allegedly took place. Ford’s recollections on the location of the house we’re inconsistent and would contradict themselves.

    -Her description about the layout of the interior of the house, the details of the party and her subsequent escape where inconsistent, as well the witnesses, one of which was a lifelong friend, which she claimed could corroborate her presence at the party-all of which had no recollection that a party or any such gathering had even taken place.

    That question/statement immediately got my blood boiling when I read it (though there MANY other runner ups I assure you)

    Overall, the entire interview and the subsequent rationalizations as to why the Kavanaugh accusation and the accusation(s) against Biden are being reported COMPLETELY differently-takes me back to my time in the Navy, when I as lowly Seaman Third Class made the observation to my LPO, of Chiefs and Officers engaging the same behaviors that would have (and had) gotten me severely reprimanded, and to which they themselves had endlessly preached to the rest of the crew against engaging in, to which he responded:

    “It’s not a double standard-it’s a different standard”

    • It isn’t a double standard. There is just a different level of detail and reproducibility that is acceptable for events someone remembers and for ‘memories’ that someone’s therapist told them they recovered with hypnosis.

    • That was the interviewer’s sole concession to his employer, and given then fact that he asked the tough questions, I thought it was fair to let it pass. I’m glad you focused on the characterization, though.

  6. After reading the article I am not surprised by the political bias between Kavanaugh and Biden coverage. It’s the open admission of campaign coordination and the pathetically weak awkward phrasing excuse Baquet refers to twice that stinks from Manhattan all the way to Indiana.

    The Times does what the left candidate campaign and the unmentioned deep staters who are their enforcers tell it to do. Got it.

  7. we try to give the reader the information they need to make their own judgments. Unless we can make the judgment.

    So you don’t give the reader all the information they need to make their own judgment, if you’ve already decided what that judgement ought to be?

  8. If I may make an observation here.

    To you and me and any reasonable person, the Times’ interview is exactly what you accuse it of being. Much of the Times’ base, however, is not reasonable. They consider Trump Hitler.

    In their minds, there’s no such thing as partisan bias against Hitler. Anyone who doesn’t hate Hitler is a Nazi and undeserving of fair treatment. You can’t say there are good people on both sides if one side supports Hitler. That’s been the narrative for almost 4 years now and it will continue to be the narrative so long as it works.

    So the Democratic base believes sources like the Times, NPR and CNN are objective because they are protecting us from evil. You should always fight evil, right? If Trump weren’t evil, they wouldn’t be relentessly criticizing him. Besides, objectivity is a nebulous concept when dealing with Hitler.

    They will rationalize everything that was admitted in the interview through that lens.

  9. Do you think that, in your heart, you’re reluctant to promote a story that would hurt Joe Biden and get Donald Trump re-elected?

    I can’t make that calculation. I won’t. I won’t let my head or my heart go there. I think once you start making those kinds of calculations, you are not a journalist anymore. You’re some sort of political actor.

    This is what stood out for me. While I can see a ‘chemically-pure mendaciousness’ I actually believe that they (he) cannot.

    “. . . you are not a journalist anymore.”

    Good Heavens!

  10. Here’s the sad part: Baquet, a trail-blazer, an reveals that he just isn’t very bright. Journalism has always been a profession largely populated by people who think they are smarter than they are, but it has survived because the smartest, many of them very smart, rise to the top and keep the essential mediocrity of the rest from doing permanent damage. The editors are where the brightest are essential, and the Times has generally been efficient in this regard.

  11. This is an amazing statement:

    “Why was Kavanaugh treated differently?

    “Kavanaugh was already in a public forum in a large way. Kavanaugh’s status as a Supreme Court justice was in question because of a very serious allegation. And when I say in a public way, I don’t mean in the public way of Tara Reade’s. If you ask the average person in America, they didn’t know about the Tara Reade case. So I thought in that case, if The New York Times was going to introduce this to readers, we needed to introduce it with some reporting and perspective. Kavanaugh was in a very different situation. It was a live, ongoing story that had become the biggest political story in the country. It was just a different news judgment moment.”

    Yes, the Blasey-Ford allegations were live in an on-going story simply because the media wanted to torpedo Kavanaugh’s appointment to SCOTUS. How, in all seriousness, can Baquet state that the presumptive DNC presidential nominee was/is not being in a “public forum in a very large way”? Biden isn’t some fellow way down on the pecking order of potential candidates. He served in the Senate for 30 years, was Vice President for 8 years, and was the leading choice for his party’s nomination as its presidential candidate.

    I have no idea if Reade’s allegations are true. if the NYT is looking for contemporaneous complaints as some hallmark of legitimacy, then Reade wins that race – she reported the incident at the time it happened. Blasey-Ford didn’t, only telling her therapist some 30 years later. And she presented her own October Surprise buy making public allegations against Kavanaugh, who had been vetted by Congress repeatedly on his way to the SCOTUS nomination. Yet, she remained silent until she met with California political operatives in Feinstein’s office. Blasey-Ford’s allegations wouldn’t have made it out of preliminary investigations had she reported them to the police.

    The hypocrisy is amazing. As Joseph Heller would say:

    “That’s some catch, that Catch-22,” [Yossarian] observed.

    “It’s the best there is,” Doc Daneeka agreed.”
    ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22


  12. I did originally read the article, and was first struck by what looked like a Gargantuan lack of self-awareness on the part of Baquet.  He seems to obliviously make the rope, fashion the noose, and hang himself.

    What’s going on here? Is it Dunning-Kruger?  Is he so surrounded by like-thinkers that he can no longer recognize his biases, and his mind automatically generates and accepts absurd rationalizations?  Is it actual insanity, like a husband who calmly explains that he had to murder his wife because she burned the toast?  It’s remarkable.

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