Reading and Thinking

Cancel culture at the New York Times

“We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent, (emphasis added)” Baquet and Managing Editor Joseph Kahn wrote to staffers Friday.


Elahe Izadi, “Two New York Times journalists at the center of separate controversies leave the company; Science reporter Donald McNeil Jr. leaves after revelations he repeated a racial slur, and audio producer Andy Mills resigns after ‘Caliphate’ fallout,” Washington Post, February 5, 2021 (5:36 p.m. EST).

Izadi writes:

High-profile science reporter Donald G. McNeil Jr.’s departure comes after the Daily Beast reported that he had repeated a racial slur during a 2019 trip to Peru for high school students. The Times also confirmed that McNeil, who has been a key reporter covering the coronavirus pandemic, “had used bad judgment by repeating a racist slur in the context of a conversation about racist language…

Friday’s staff news is the latest example of controversy within the Times newsroom spilling into public view, including the summer resignation of editorial page editor James Bennet — once considered a possible successor to Executive Editor Dean Baquet — after the publication of a controversial op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.)…

This week, staffers sent a letter to management saying they were “outraged” that the company’s previous investigation into McNeil’s comments had not resulted in a more severe punishment and that the company needed to do more. Managers signaled agreement.
“We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent,” Baquet and Managing Editor Joseph Kahn wrote to staffers Friday.

See also the story in The Daily Beast:

Maxwell Tani andv Lachlan Cartwright,”The Star NY Times Reporter Accused of Using ‘N-Word,’ Making Other Racist Comments; The paper’s top COVID reporter joined a group of students on a trip to Peru in 2019. Participants alleged he repeatedly made racist comments,” The Daily Beast, January 28, 2021 (3:27 PM EY, Updated 8:48PM ET).

On the elimination of the NYT Public Editor position, see

1) Daniel Victor, “New York Times Will Offer Employee Buyouts and Eliminate Public Editor Role,” New York times, May 31, 2017.

2) Liz Spayd, “The Public Editor Signs Off,” New York Times, June 2, 2017.

On the installation of surveillance cameras in the NYT newsroom, see,

“New York Times adds to apparatus of a totalitarian state,” The Trenchant Observer, June 1, 2019.

The Sulzberger family must replace Dean Bacquet, and root out the “Cancel Culture” in the NYT newsroom

Executive Editor Dean Baquet has allowed a cancel culture to develop in the New York Times newsroom.

He has been supine in surrendering to the “cancel culture” in that newsroom.

He has acquiesced in the installation of a totalitarian system of surveillance monitoring in the newsroom.

Baquet is also responsible for the New York Times lack of coverage and analysis of President Trump’s statement that Russia was right to have invaded Afghanistan.


“International Law after Trump,” The Trenchant Observer, January 10, 2019.

It is time for Executive Editor Dean Baquet to go.

It is time for the camera surveillance system in the newsroom to be removed.

It is time for the “cancel culture” in the newsroom and editorial positions to be rooted out.

Before anyone else is fired summarily, a new Public Editor representing the Readers should conduct a full investigation, and full due process guarantees should be afforded to anyone subject to potential dismissal.

No one should ever be removed for actions or statements made without regard to that person’s intent.

‘Intent” is a requirement for most serious crimes. ‘Strict liability crimes are rare, and usually limited to things like speeding tickets.

Loss of a job at the New York Times is a punishment more serious than those for many felonies. “Intent” should be a necessary element of any “firing offense” at the Times.

How can we trust the editorial judgment of the staff and editors at the New York Times when we know their editors are subject to the pressures of a “cancel culture” mob in the newsroom, and when they have exercised such atrocious judgment as that revealed in the cases cited above?

The Trenchant Observer

By James Rowles

James Rowles is a writer, teacher, international lawyer, and international development expert.

He is particularly interested in the Epistemology of Truth, and how mass propaganda, social media, and other phenomena shape the nature of consciousness and the ascertainment of facts in the world today.

James holds an undergraduate degree in History (Modern Europe) and law degrees from Stanford University, and a Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) in International Law from Harvard Law School, where he has also taught as a Lecturer on Law.

James is a polyglot, who speaks fluent French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, and also knows other languages. His regular if not daily reading includes U.S. newspapers, the Guardian, die Welt, Le Monde, El País, and Veja.

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