Concha: The New York Times is ‘lionizing cancel culture’
Fox News contributor Joe Concha reacts to The New York Times being accused of celebrating cancel culture for spotlighting a video of a teenaged girl using a racial slur, in which, led to her being forced to withdraw from college.
The beleaguered New York Times continues to be plagued by internal issues and chaos as Gray Lady editors refused to publish a column by conservative columnist Bret Stephens, who intended to criticize the paper’s leadership.
Stephens planned on bashing the paper’s handling of recently-ousted Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr., who announced his resignation on Friday after he was accused of using the “n-word” while leading a student trip in Peru. McNeil explained the context of the slur in his resignation letter, sparking a heated clash among Times staffers when he explained he was simply having a conversation about someone else’s use of the word. Stephens’ attempt to publish his thoughts on the internal spat was rejected by Times opinion editor Kathleen Kingsbury.
“I have an especially high bar of running any column that could reflect badly on a colleague and I didn’t feel that this piece rose to that level,” Kingsbury told Fox News.
‘OUTRAGED’ NY TIMES STAFFERS SEND LETTER TO BOSSES OVER HANDLING OF REPORTER WHO USED ‘N-WORD’: REPORT
Kingsbury said she made the decision because she believed executive editor Dean Baquet planned on walking back his initial claim that the paper would not tolerate racist language “regardless of intent,” which caused a divide among employees.
New York Times editors refused to publish a column by conservative columnist Bret Stephens, who intended to criticize the paper’s leadership. (Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)
Kingsbury was apparently aware that Baquet planned to clarify his stance, which he did during a staff meeting on Thursday.
“In our zeal to make a powerful statement about our workplace culture, we ham-handedly said something you rightfully saw as an oversimplification of one of the most difficult issues of our lives. It was a deadline mistake and I regret it,” Baquet told Times staffers.
“Of course intent matters when we are talking about language in journalism. The author and his purpose also matter, the moment matters. The slur we’ve been discussing is a vile one. I’ve been called it. But it appears in our pages and it will no doubt appear in our pages again,” he continued. “It should not be used for effect. It comes with a grim history and it’s a blow to the gut … each use should be put to the test. That’s why we have a style book. But the main thing is of course intent matters.”
NY TIMES STAFFERS REPORTEDLY CLASH IN PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP FOLLOWING OUSTING OF VETERAN REPORTER
The Washington Free Beacon reported on Monday that a “private” Facebook group made up of current and former Times employees were engaging in heated exchanges after McNeil announced his exit.
“One camp argues that his dismissal was justified and another asserts it set a troubling precedent, which the New York Times union should have done more to prevent,” the Free Beacon reported.
Donald McNeil was the New York Times’ longtime science reporter and was one of the star journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse reportedly defended McNeil, writing “What ever happened to the notion of worker solidarity … to giving a fellow worker the benefit of the doubt? And why didn’t the NewsGuild do far more to defend and protect the job of a long-time Times employee, one who at times did tireless, heroic work on behalf of the Guild to help improve pay and conditions for all NYT employees?”
Deb Amlen, the Times crossword columnist, allegedly pushed back, accusing Greenhouse of putting the focus on the “perpretrator” and not on the people McNeil had “harmed.”
Times finance reporter Lawrence De Maria knocked Baquet’s initial statement.
“‘We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent’ might be the most racist statement I’ve ever read,” De Maria exclaimed. “It demeans ALL races.”
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Times Magazine contributor Robert Worth also questioned Baquet’s leadership as well as Times publisher AG Sultzberger, writing “Dean and AG make a decision, and then are bullied by a vocal minority into changing their minds… This is not the NYT I know.”
McNeil, 67, was the Times’ longtime science reporter and was one of the star journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic. He had worked for the Gray Lady since 1976.
Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.
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