Ed Driscoll

Confirmed: Gray Lady Regresses to Infantilism

“Dean Baquet calls N.Y. Times critic ‘a–hole'”, Dylan Byers of competing DNC house organ the Politico reports today. As Kate McMillan of Canada’s Small Dead Animals blog would say, “Your Moral And Intellectual Superiors:”

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet called an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School an “asshole” on Facebook today after the professor took a shot at Baquet for not running Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammed cartoons.

“Dear Marc,” Baquet wrote to USC’s Marc Cooper, “appreciate the self righteous second guessing without even considering there might be another point of view. Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole.”

Reached via email, Baquet told POLITICO: “Lots of people have disagreed with my decision. Some of them are in The Times. I get that. Mr Cooper’s comment was nasty and arrogant. So I told him what I thought.”

Remember, this is a man paid to instructs his journalists to choose their words thoughtfully before typing them. And it’s example of the Times’ management regressing further towards infantilism. Last year, when then-Times editor Jill Abramson was ousted by Pinch Sulzberger (himself no stranger to sophomoric thoughts), she posed for a New York Daily News cover standing next to a punching bag while wearing boxing gloves, a ironic trucker’s cap, a visible tattoo and a Les Misérables tank top, as the 60 year old journalist revealed her inner college hipster. Her successor is reverting towards high school playground insults to respond to a college professor.

All of which is confirmation of Matthew Continetti’s thesis last year in the Washington Free Beacon that the New York Times is, as Martin Mull once said of Hollywood, the ultimate example of high school with money:

Gossipy, catty, insular, cliquey, stressful, immature, cowardly, moody, underhanded, spiteful—the New York Times gives new meaning to the term “hostile workplace.” What has been said of the press—that it wields power without any sense of responsibility—is also a fair enough description of the young adult. And it is to high school, I think, that the New York Times is most aptly compared. The coverage of the Abramson firing reads at times like the plot of an episode of Saved By the Bell minus the sex: Someone always has a crazy idea, everyone’s feelings are always hurt, apologies and reconciliations are made and quickly sundered, confrontations are the subject of intense planning and preparation, and authority figures are youth-oriented, well-intentioned, bumbling, and inept.

Of course, reading further into Continetti’s article, it’s perhaps a good thing that Abramson’s successor and the latest subject of pique weren’t in the same room together:

As a daily reader of the paper I also agreed with Abramson’s assessment when she told Dean Baquet that some of the articles he was putting on the front page were boring. My only quibble is with her use of the word “some.” Editor’s prerogative, one would think, to critique the work of subordinates. Baquet’s response was to punch a wall.

As Continetti wrote, the Times is a daily Saved By the Bell rerun, bereft of functional grownups. No wonder the paper is incapable of sanely reporting on the news of the week in Paris. And no wonder it sees such kindred juvenile spirits in the current occupants of the White House.

Update: Question asked — and tacitly answered by Baquet and Pinch:

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