NYT exec editor calls Mohammed cartoon censorship critic 'asshole'

You can tell a nerve has been touched when a highly placed wordsmith resorts to vulgar epithets in response to criticism.  So we can reasonably assume that New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet has some deeply conflicted emotions regarding the Gray Lady’s decision to not run the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo.

The NYT editorial honcho’s descent to boorishness began with a comment on Facebook by USC Annenberg School associate professor of journalism Marc Cooper:

 “Exactly how many people have to be shot in cold blood before your paper rules that you can show us what provoked the killers? Apparently 23 shot including 11 dead is not enough. What absolute cowardice. These MSM managers act is if they are running insurance companies, not news organizations."

Baquet fired back, also in comments:

“Dear Marc, appreciate the self righteous second guessing without even considering there might be another point of view,” Baquet said in a comment on Cooper’s Facebook page. “Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole.”

“Of course there is a second view,” Baquet said in another comment. “And I welcome it. But your note was thoughtless and arrogant. It didn’t invite argument. It invites so what you got [sic].”

This is an astonishing response to legitimate criticism from an academic authority.  Does Baquet seriously contend that the standard he enforces at the New York Times is to invite argument whenever an opinion or criticism is expressed?  Does he guide his subordinates to always consider that there might be another point of view?  How, then, to explain?

In a statement to Politico, which broke the story of his descent to the gutter, Baquet dug his hole even deeper:

"We have a standard that is pretty simple. We don't run things that are designed to gratuitously offend," Baquet told POLITICO at the time. "[O]bviously [I] don't expect all to agree. But let's not forget the Muslim family in Brooklyn who read us and is offended by any depiction of what he sees as his prophet. I don't give a damn about the head of ISIS but I do care about that family and it is arrogant to ignore them."

The problem with this statement is that it is easily proven false.  Offending Jews is no problem at all to the Times.  The Allgemeiner writes:

as POLITICO pointed out, “in August 2010, the Times published this item about a Holocaust-denying Iranian cartoonist with an image of a cartoon that featured, in the Times’ words, ‘anti-Jewish caricatures.’ Four years earlier, in 2006, the Times published this article about an Iranian exhibition of ‘anti-Jewish art,’ which featured a photograph of three anti-Semitic cartoons, one of which included a swastika.”

POLITICO also noted that in 1999, “the Times ran a report with a photo of Chris Ofili’s ‘The Holy Virgin Mary,’ a 1996 painting of a black Madonna ‘with a clump of elephant dung on one breast and cutouts of genitalia from pornographic magazines in the background.’ Per the report, John Cardinal O’Connor called the show an attack on religion itself. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said it found Ofili’s painting offensive, too.”

Baquet appears to be in violation of the Times’ own standards regarding social media.  The Daily Caller points out:

The NYT‘ social media rules from Philip Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, in a 2012 internal memo are as follows:

First, we should always treat Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms as public activities. Regardless of your privacy controls or the size of your follower list, anything you post online can easily be shared with a wider audience.

And second, you are a Times journalist, and your online behavior should be appropriate for a Times journalist. Readers will inevitably associate anything you post on social media with The Times.

Newsroom staff members should avoid editorializing or promoting political views. And we should be civil – even to critics – and avoid personal attacks and offensive remarks.

Civility applies whether an exchange takes place in person, by telephone, by letter or online.

The ball is now in the court of NYT publisher Pinch Sulzberger.  If he deems “asshole” to be “offensive,” then it would seem that Baquet needs disciplining.  If none is forthcoming, then we can deem the term acceptable according to that paper’s own standards, as is a double standard on offending Jews versus Muslims.

You can tell a nerve has been touched when a highly placed wordsmith resorts to vulgar epithets in response to criticism.  So we can reasonably assume that New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet has some deeply conflicted emotions regarding the Gray Lady’s decision to not run the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo.

The NYT editorial honcho’s descent to boorishness began with a comment on Facebook by USC Annenberg School associate professor of journalism Marc Cooper:

 “Exactly how many people have to be shot in cold blood before your paper rules that you can show us what provoked the killers? Apparently 23 shot including 11 dead is not enough. What absolute cowardice. These MSM managers act is if they are running insurance companies, not news organizations."

Baquet fired back, also in comments:

“Dear Marc, appreciate the self righteous second guessing without even considering there might be another point of view,” Baquet said in a comment on Cooper’s Facebook page. “Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole.”

“Of course there is a second view,” Baquet said in another comment. “And I welcome it. But your note was thoughtless and arrogant. It didn’t invite argument. It invites so what you got [sic].”

This is an astonishing response to legitimate criticism from an academic authority.  Does Baquet seriously contend that the standard he enforces at the New York Times is to invite argument whenever an opinion or criticism is expressed?  Does he guide his subordinates to always consider that there might be another point of view?  How, then, to explain?

In a statement to Politico, which broke the story of his descent to the gutter, Baquet dug his hole even deeper:

"We have a standard that is pretty simple. We don't run things that are designed to gratuitously offend," Baquet told POLITICO at the time. "[O]bviously [I] don't expect all to agree. But let's not forget the Muslim family in Brooklyn who read us and is offended by any depiction of what he sees as his prophet. I don't give a damn about the head of ISIS but I do care about that family and it is arrogant to ignore them."

The problem with this statement is that it is easily proven false.  Offending Jews is no problem at all to the Times.  The Allgemeiner writes:

as POLITICO pointed out, “in August 2010, the Times published this item about a Holocaust-denying Iranian cartoonist with an image of a cartoon that featured, in the Times’ words, ‘anti-Jewish caricatures.’ Four years earlier, in 2006, the Times published this article about an Iranian exhibition of ‘anti-Jewish art,’ which featured a photograph of three anti-Semitic cartoons, one of which included a swastika.”

POLITICO also noted that in 1999, “the Times ran a report with a photo of Chris Ofili’s ‘The Holy Virgin Mary,’ a 1996 painting of a black Madonna ‘with a clump of elephant dung on one breast and cutouts of genitalia from pornographic magazines in the background.’ Per the report, John Cardinal O’Connor called the show an attack on religion itself. The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights said it found Ofili’s painting offensive, too.”

Baquet appears to be in violation of the Times’ own standards regarding social media.  The Daily Caller points out:

The NYT‘ social media rules from Philip Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, in a 2012 internal memo are as follows:

First, we should always treat Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms as public activities. Regardless of your privacy controls or the size of your follower list, anything you post online can easily be shared with a wider audience.

And second, you are a Times journalist, and your online behavior should be appropriate for a Times journalist. Readers will inevitably associate anything you post on social media with The Times.

Newsroom staff members should avoid editorializing or promoting political views. And we should be civil – even to critics – and avoid personal attacks and offensive remarks.

Civility applies whether an exchange takes place in person, by telephone, by letter or online.

The ball is now in the court of NYT publisher Pinch Sulzberger.  If he deems “asshole” to be “offensive,” then it would seem that Baquet needs disciplining.  If none is forthcoming, then we can deem the term acceptable according to that paper’s own standards, as is a double standard on offending Jews versus Muslims.