New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet labeled the paper’s opinion
page as “far left wing” and defended the hiring of columnist Bret
Stephens, during a private meeting with members of Stanford University’s
college newspaper, according to a student at the meeting.
addressed the staff of The Stanford Daily before his scheduled public
event Tuesday night. One student who does not work for the paper, Elliot
Kaufman, snuck in and took notes before giving exclusive access to The
Daily Caller News Foundation.
an attendee raised the topic of journalism in the age of President
Donald Trump, Baquet discussed the controversial hiring of Stephens
— a self-identified “conservative” and former Wall Street Journal
already have a far left wing opinion page,” said Baquet before
explaining why he thought the paper could hire someone like Stephens
without fundamentally altering the section’s partisan bent.
also criticized students at other universities for intolerant behavior.
Baquet applauded the peaceful coexistence that the Hoover Institute
shares with Stanford and called it “probably the most reputable
conservative think tank.”
the Hoover Institute was at [the University of California, Berkeley],
they’d burn it down,” he added. “If it was at Columbia [University],
they might burn it down.”
to Kaufman’s notes, it is clear that Baquet has been digesting the
number of criticisms — both from readers and even internally among other
Times employees — that have been lobbed his way since assuming his
position in 2014.
New York Times’ job is not to be the opposition to Trump.” If that were
the case, he asked, “what would we do when the opposition eventually
wins?” before suggesting they would just be the Democratic Party’s
lackeys and not journalists.
roughly the last 12 months, the paper’s opinion section has been a
lightning rod for criticism under the leadership of editorial page
editor James Bennet. The hiring of Stephens, a so-called intellectual
diversity hire to give conservatives another voice in the Gray Lady,
despite the fact that Stephens has called for a full repeal of the
editor Bari Weiss has also attracted nearly unprecedented scrutiny, not
only for her decisions to occasionally run columns written by
conservatives, but also because of her conduct on Twitter.
potential columnist, Quinn Norton, was fired mere hours after the Times
announced her addition to the staff after Twitter users uncovered
years-old tweets that some criticized as racist.
a meeting with some Times employees in December, Bennet tried to explain
the page’s recent changes. They did not seem pleased, Huffington
were not satisfied with his answers,” one staffer told HuffPost.
“Since his answers were equivocal bullshit that didn’t really address
that the opinion section abuses fact and elevates white male
conservative voices under the guise of ‘diversity of thought.’ And
that he admits to making mistakes without any concern or even
acknowledgement of what the consequences of those ‘mistakes’ actually