The Headbangers' Ball

Underneath the effete cultured tone of the New York Timesthe tone of the Victorian Gentleman, as Tom Wolfe would call it — a massive amount of rage seethes. Check out this telling detail from Jeff Bercovici’s post at Forbes on Jill Abramson’s departure:


Abramson and Baquet clashed last year over the quality of the paper’s coverage, in an argument that ended with Baquet slamming his hand into a wall and storming out, according to a report by Politico’s Dylan Byers. In that report, Byers catalogued a litany of complaints against Abramson by various anonymous Times insiders, a number of whom described her as stubborn, condescending, difficult to please and rude to underlings.

That attitude is considered a feature, not a bug, at the Times. Last night I was rereading Bernard Goldberg’s 2004 book Arrogance — a word that sums up the leftist worldview of the average Timesperson rather nicely. Bernie featured this anecdote from an April 2001 column by National Review’s Deroy Murdock:

I enjoy reading the liberal Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. Ideology aside, the NYT exudes an insufferable snottiness. As I recently joked with a colleague, “It’s not the Marxism. It’s the mucus.”

I once phoned a friend at the NYT. “Hi, is Mark there?”

“No, he’s not,” a woman replied.

“May I leave a message?”

“No,” she said. “You’ll have to call back and speak with an editorial assistant. I’m an editor, and at the New York Times, editors don’t take messages.” Click.

Such pompousness permeates the paper.

And Baquet brings a similar amount of baggage to his new gig as editor. At Big Journalism, Ben Shapiro rounds up “9 Things You Didn’t Know About The NYT’s New Editor,” including these gems, from Baquet’s days at the L.A. Times:

He Will Feed You Journalistic Broccoli. In 2006, Baquet explained that his job was to feed readers information they don’t always want:

…what makes me different from a consumer product — and when I say “me,” I’m talking about the Los Angeles Times and newspapers in general — is that one of my jobs is to sometimes give my customer things he doesn’t always want. I think of a newspaper as the restaurant that, when you order just a steak and dessert, says, “Absolutely not; you’ve got to have some broccoli.”

He Thinks The Media Are Not Leftist. From a 2006 interview:

I started out as a newspaper reporter at 19. I’ve spent so much time subjugating my political beliefs. … The main political institution that I believe in is the newspapers. I’ve never had a public discussion about my politics….If you ask me to make a list of the senior editors of the L.A. Times and whether they’re Democrats or Republicans — these are people I spend all day with — I don’t think I could tell you for most of them. I’d have to guess….I can tell you that some of them are conservative, sure. Absolutely.


I have to go now Dean, I’m due back on Planet Earth. (To paraphrase a line from a reader of the Times that the paper fetes on a regular basis.) If I order a steak in a restaurant and the waiter refuses to bring it to me, I get up and go somewhere else and never come back. And I think I can speak for the 99.999999 percent of the rest of the world that would react the same way — which is why the Times is hemorrhaging readers to newspapers and Websites that present the news in a much less boring way — and serve it up to match the tone, style and biases of their core readers.

And speaking of bias, Baquet’s line that he doesn’t know the politics of his fellow journalists is one of the hoariest cliches of the MSM, dating back at least half a century. To an anomalous era in the history of wildly diversified American journalism, when mass production shrunk the media overculture down to three TV networks, three wire services, and one or two newspapers per city. These days, readers on both sides of the aisle want to know the worldview of the people they’re reading. And if a journalist can’t figure out his co-workers’ politics, how can he report on politics in DC, L.A. or New York?

Related: Ann Althouse reads the Times like a trained Kremlinologist: “How did the NYT call Jill Abramson a bitch? Well, it all started with the unfit-to-print image of the new executive editor, Dean Baquet, as the angry black man.”

Read the whole thing.™

Incidentally, Abramson’s tale is a cautionary one in all sorts of ways



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