A relentless Times apologist–you know which one—chides me for leaving out this from his interview in the New Yorker, which is the context for the “version of the truth” gaffe, when Baquet said the quiet part out loud (if the Times-enabler hadn’t begun his complaint with “Um,” I might have let it go):
The system of “objectivity” (and I know that’s going to be a bad word) was designed to create a system—Wesley Lowery is right when he describes that—in which the organization’s job was to make sure that whatever your perspective was it didn’t get in the way of reporting the truth. I believe in that very strongly. That’s not the job of every institution. But the job of the New York Times should, in the end, be to come out with the best version of the truth, with your own political opinion held in check by editors and editing. Not everybody believes that, but I believe that. And I think that if you come to work for the New York Times—if you really want to work for the New York Times—you have to embrace that, because that’s what the New York Times is.
In fact, I intended to include that outrageous and insulting lie, but felt it would have just muddled the more important point of the post. (That, and the New Yorker site blocked my access unless I subscribed…)
Who believes that the Times’ staff’s “perspective” doesn’t “get in the way of reporting the truth”? It is a lie, and such an insulting lie. How stupid does Baquet think the pubic is? Does Baquet believe this himself, or is he just repeating the company mantra? The headline above is typical: the “best version of the truth” for the Times was to frame Trump’s election as a source of fear for “students and foreign allies.”
The question that sinks this utter dishonesty is this: when has the Times ever, especially during Baquet’s reign, made a reporting error that favored Republicans or conservatives—like for example, failing to report the sexual harassment accusation against Biden, or stating as fact that a Capitol police officer died from injuries sustained on Jan. 6 helped the Democrats?
I know I’ve quoted this before, but it is apt in discussing the Times. In the 2016 film “Denial,” about the defamation lawsuit by Holocaust denier historian David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt for calling him out as one, her barrister Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) tells the trial judge,
My lord, during this trial, we have heard from Professor Evans and others of at least 25 major falsifications of history. Well, says Mr. Irving, “all historians make mistakes.” But there is a difference between negligence, which is random in its effect, and a deliberateness, which is far more one-sided. All Mr. Irving’s little fictions, all his tweaks of the evidence all tend in the same direction: the exculpation of Adolf Hitler. He is, to use an analogy, like the waiter who always gives the wrong change. If he is honest, we may expect sometimes his mistakes to favor the customers, sometimes himself. But Mr. Irving is the dishonest waiter. All his mistakes work in his favor. How far, if at all, Mr. Irving’s Antisemitism is the cause of his Hitler apology, or vice versa, is unimportant. Whether they are taken together or individually, it is clear that they have led him to prostitute his reputation as a serious historian in favor of a bogus rehabilitation of Adolf Hitler and the dissemination of virulent Antisemitic propaganda.
Baquet and his paper are also “dishonest waiters.” That he holds the Times up as something it is not and so clearly is not doesn’t impress me, and should not impress anyone, except perhaps with the audacity it requires. The record, as in Irving’s case, is undeniable.