What the NYT Newsroom Needs to Hear About the Editorial Page: Liner Notes

I have a new column up at The Federalist, “NYT Reporters Upset The Editorial Page Includes Conservative Voices Need To Hear This.” And while some of you may already know the backstory, it’s easier for me to excerpt the beginning of the piece:

The head of The New York Times editorial page is under siege by the paper’s own journalists.

James Bennet’s crime? Hiring NeverTrumper Bret Stephens and Israel defender Bari Weiss as columnists, as well as publishing op-eds by people whose views offend the newsroom staff. Bennet has held at least three internal town-hall meetings in an attempt to respond to his critics, but the level of acrimony only seems to have increased. A different approach is needed.

Bennet should consider delivering remarks along the following lines when he opens his next in-house gripe session…

And what follows is a quasi-humorous rant about a situation in which the patients are trying to run the asylum.  When this topic first came under discussion, it was my pitch to do it is a rant because: (a) I don’t usually write rants much these days and they can be fun to write; (b) more serious pieces had already been written on the value of the NYT editorial product diversifying, however slightly, as well as the problems with the internal complaints; and (c) it seems manifestly obvious that the internal complainers have no interest in having an adult conversation about what an editorial page is or does and why it’s really not the reporters’ business to try to supervise Bennet.

The problem with ranting is — because it’s fun — it’s difficult to stop.  As long as the column is, you wind up having to leave stuff out about the mentality of people who think debating what to do about climate change makes someone a denier, while also wanting to question that modern capitalism has been the greatest single engine in eliminating poverty the world has ever seen.  The former is about long-term simulations and predictions, while the other can be answered by looking at a any serious history book, or a nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea.  Not surprising from a paper that spent the year whitewashing Soviet Communism for its 100th anniversary, but still.

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