Will the NYT start asking some questions about how safe COVID vaccines are now that they've lost an editor?

It had to be a hard blow when the New York Times' deputy Asia editor, Carlos Tejada, unexpectedly dropped dead of a heart attack.  He had just turned 49.

After all, for the Times, guys with his skills are pretty hard to find.  I didn't know him, but I used to work as an editor at a big newswire in Singapore myself, and I recognized his name as that of a superb reporter and writer, a guy with little bias, lots of foreign knowledge, and a byline worth reading.

According to his New York Times obit, he was also a superb editor, someone who could scruff out stories from the filings of weak reporters.  The Times doesn't say so, but since I know about editing in Asia, that likely was editing stories from the filings of non-native speakers of English, as well the filings of  U.S.-born freelancers and staff, who might have been good reporters but were wretched writers — people who couldn't write ledes (yes, that's the word used in the industry), organize sentences, or sometimes even spell (I can name names at the Times; I knew editors there).  Tejada was the guy who could turn these shambles into publishable stories.  In addition, he was an old Asia hand, with experience and know-how around the region, including some knowledge of Mandarin.  Guys like that are diamonds to big newspapers with expensive foreign operations.  Tejada had been poached from the Wall Street Journal in 2016, which meant that the Times had been watching him for a while as he honed his skills at the Journal before moving in to make him a better offer.

Next thing they knew, Tejada died suddenly, leaving behind a wife and two small kids, on Dec. 17.  After that, other outlets, notably Alex Berenson, a former Timesman himself on his Substack page, published what might have been a pertinent issue: that Tejada had gotten a Moderna booster shot a day earlier, following two Johnson & Johnson vaccine shots.  Based on his picture in the Times, a recent one, taken only a few weeks earlier at a November gathering, he looked fit, healthy, and happy.

Something sounds funny here.

Now, it's possible that the Moderna booster had nothing to do with this.  It's possible he had an underlying condition, such as untreated high blood pressure, which triggered an "event."  All the same, most people don't drop dead at age 49.  But we hear a lot about this around cases of healthy young men, such as athletes, dropping dead of heart issues after their COVID shots.  The press hasn't asked many questions about it.  The media, including the Times, have busied themselves with promoting the "get vaccinated" line on political grounds as if no other questions need be asked in what may well be an unfolding story.  Tejada was the editor who fluffed up the copy of the first COVID stories coming out of China, as Berenson's Substack piece shows.  Now Tejada himself may be the latest or last chapter in the question about whether these vaccine solutions to the problem are really safe and whether vaccine mandates are a good idea.  

The New York Times has lost someone good from its team following a booster shot, which ought to be prompting the people there to ask some questions at this point.  Are these boosters — in Tejada's case, a mismatched booster, given that his original shot was the Johnson & Johnson — a factor in his early death?  And apparently, he'd had two of those.  The Twitterati, as Berenson notes, have been all over this.  We know the readers are asking.

It would seem natural that maybe the Times would be interested in knowing whether the booster was what killed him, in order to just make sense of this loss, which hit the paper hard.  The Times ought to be writing stories about it, about what its people find.  Will it?

As Berenson wrote:

RIP Carlos Tejada, Dec. 7, 1972 - Dec. 17, 2021.

If this does not wake the Times nothing will.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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