Much chat today on political sites about how it is the New York Times came by internal Wall Street Journal emails wherein Journal editor in chief Gerard Baker lectures his reporters for editorializing in their news stories about President Trump. He calls much of the stories of his reporters “commentary dressed up as news reporting” and requested “can we please just stick to reporting what he said rather than packaging it in exegesis and selective criticism?”
To be sure the Times was not praising Baker for insisting on the old separation between news and opinion. This separation has long since disappeared at the Times, the copy in which today is either ads or opinion. In the story, Times writer Michael M. Grynbaum, no slouch at injecting opinion into his copy, as much as suggests Baker is a journalistic Mustache Pete for criticizing reporters for being opinionated. He claims Baker “has faced unease and frustration in his newsroom over his stewardship of the newspaper’s coverage of President Trump, which some journalists there say has lacked toughness and verve.”
Of course “toughness and verve” in Times-speak means ridiculing Trump in news stories. And “some journalists there” means reporters who would rather be working for the Times than the Journal. Grynbaum’s story/opinion piece also refers to a February Journal staff meeting where Baker told his reporters who were unhappy with the old news/opinion division should seek work elsewhere. Good career advice.
The important question left hanging by all of the stories I’ve read on this is how the hell did the Times get internal Journal emails? The most likely answer is they were leaked by disloyal Journal reporters who would rather be working at the Times, or someplace else where can retail their opinions and call it news. See, it’s not just 1600 that has a problem with leakers.
Good to see at least one top editor of a leading newspaper not only knows what his job is but isn’t afraid to do it, even when all those young j-school graduates bang their spoons on their high chairs and whine.
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