Charlie Hebdo Massacre

New York Times Editor Dean Baquet Continues to Beclown Self Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

The Paper of Record is in the increasingly lonely position of not reprinting newsworthy cartoon image, yet agonizing over it

|

All the cowardice that's fit to obfuscate. |||

As predicted in this space, The New York Times did not include in its "All the News That's Fit to Print" yesterday any reproduction, print or online, of the most newsworthy cartoon of the year, Charlie Hebdo's latest cover. As further foreshadowed, the paper did manage to noisily wring its hands over its self-made controversy, by publishing two pieces questioning the decision.

The first is titled "New Charlie Hebdo Cover Creates New Questions for U.S. News Media," and carries the distinct whiff of newsroom dissatisfaction with management:

Some American newspapers, including The New York Times, did not [reprint any allegedly offensive Charlie Hebdo cartoons just after the attack], calling the decision an editorial judgment. They drew criticism from some free­speech advocates who called the decision cowardly in the face of a terrorist attack. […]

The choice to republish the [new cover] image (The Times, again, is not) goes to the heart of the debate about what constitutes free expression versus gratuitous images that at least some viewers find offensive, newspaper executives and other journalists said. […]

"Actually we have republished some of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons including a caricature of the head of ISIS as well as some political cartoons," Dean Baquet, executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. "We do not normally publish images or other material deliberately intended to offend religious sensibilities. Many Muslims consider publishing images of their prophet innately offensive and we have refrained from doing so."

As I pointed out in my blog post, and as numerous commentators have demonstrated online, Baquet is just lying about not publishing images deliberately intended to offend. In addition, with its decision last week to not include a file photograph with an article on a long-removed statue of Mohammed that sat atop a Manhattan courthouse for a half-century without incident, the Paper of Record is establishing the alarming standard that any representation of this historically existing figure is now off-limits.

Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan, who last week let Baquet play Hamlet in her column about the decision (even though the man has had nine years to come up with a better rationale), today disagreed with him in a piece sensibly titled "With New Charlie Hebdo Cover, News Value Should Have Prevailed."

Reporting the encouraging news that she's never had a bigger response to a column, and that a "vast majority of readers were critical of The Times's decision," Sullivan concluded that "The cartoon itself, while it may disturb the sensibilities of a small percentage of Times readers, is neither shocking nor gratuitously offensive. And it has, undoubtedly, significant news value."

The good news, for those of us who appreciate good news judgment and the diffusion of perceived blasphemous risk, most large American newspapers, and at least some large broadcast companies, in addition to a whole host of online news sites and opinion magazines, reprinted the image without making a fuss about it. As for my fellow connoiseurs of Dean Baquet's haughty sense of his own journalism seriousness, his quotes and paraphrases in Sullivan's piece do not disappoint:

Mr. Baquet told me repeatedly in recent days that he was paying attention to reader comments on last week's blog post, and that he found them thoughtful and, in many cases, eloquent. He also passed along to me examples of correspondence from readers who thanked him for The Times's restraint and sensitivity last week.

The little people: wrong, and insufficiently sensitive to the offense of Muslims, but at least well-spoken!

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

31 responses to “New York Times Editor Dean Baquet Continues to Beclown Self Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

  1. They’re still printing Krugman’s column though, right? So we can still respect them as the leading journal of critical thought and opinion.

    1. And David Brooks and Thomas Friedman!

    2. So when Krugman snidely proclaims that all libertarians are evil and hate the poor, will the New York Times not publish that since it’s ‘deliberately intended to offend?’

      Or are we not allowed to mock ideas we disagree with only if those ideas claim to be a religion?

      1. Very few libertarians threaten to blow shit up or behead people who say mean things about them.

        1. Speak for yourself, wimp.

  2. The downside to criticizing the New York Times’ articles is that it often drives traffic to the New York Times’ site so that people can read the drivel the Times editors write.

    This is why I get frustrated by the NYT’s constant dithering about a paywall and wish they’d go all in on erecting one. I wish to live in a world where you can rip them for being the spineless hypocrites that they are, while not increasing their readership. Then maybe that fucking rag will finally fold or get sold to someone who has some standards on what it prints.

  3. the paper did manage to noisily wring its hands over its self-made controversy, by publishing two pieces questioning the decision.

    I suspect that was done mostly to make sure the Islamonutters were aware that the NYT is a good little dhimmi.

  4. Some American newspapers, including The New York Times, did not [reprint any allegedly offensive Charlie Hebdo cartoons just after the attack], calling the decision an editorial judgmen

    *cough*Seattle Times*cough*

    1. Nice.

      I don’t normall read the Daily Blaze, but did you see their piece on how the AP dodged the issue in their wire photos? Classic weaseling behavior.

  5. This is my surprised face.

  6. I think this is a pretty fair assessment:

    http://daviddfriedman.blogspot…..ribal.html

    1. Well put.

    1. There’s a guy in the comments who really sums up the poisonous ‘minority beliefs trump free speech’ mentality:

      Catholics who were upset about “Piss Christ” have plenty of political power and avenues to protest and make their displeasure heard in ways that can actually affect policy or other people’s bank accounts. (We won’t even talk about the Supreme Court right now.) In short, Catholics are not a marginalized group. In contrast, no one reasonable believes Muslims in America have any real political power or avenues to log game-changing nationwide protest outside of Dearborn, MI.

      When one understands the power differential, one realizes that the failure to deliberately antagonize minorities isn’t a free speech issue per se?it’s a basic tolerance issue, i.e., the majority respecting a minority b/c they realize some groups lack institutional protections and there’s no need to pile on.

      Because clearly Muslims have no power in the political process in comparison to Catholics (“The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet Muhammad”). And I have yet to ever see a substantial reason as to why I have to ‘respect’ another people’s belief in anything.

      So when do libertarians and other political minorities get protections against speech they find offensive because they lack ‘institutional protections’? Better stop running those Krugman articles Times, they’re triggering.

      1. Muslims are vastly more powerful than Catholics in virtually all of Western Europe. Who has more of an ability to dictate policy in France, Catholics or Muslims? How about Britain?

        1. Practically, yes.

          But it should be noted that there is no official “Minister of Muslim Affairs and Offense Mitigation” anywhere. The British are simply being spineless here.

      2. Catholics who were upset about “Piss Christ” have plenty of political power and avenues to protest and make their displeasure heard in ways that can actually affect policy or other people’s bank accounts.

        Tell us more about how the Catholics can use political power to punish offensive speech.

        While you’re at it, tell us how they actually affected policy or other people’s bank accounts over Piss Christ.

        1. An artist immerses a representation of the most important figure in Christianity in urine, and the absolutely most violent Christian response is that a couple of prints of the photo were vandalized. Meanwhile, artists draw a goddamned picture of Mohammed, and even if the picture depicts him reading a newspaper, helping a grandmother across the street, or just as a guy with a beard Muslims either actively try to kill them or believe they deserve whatever they get.

          I’m all for freedom of religion, and I don’t believe in collective guilt, but if your religion or culture is so sensitive that you can’t handle people who aren’t even a part of it violating its precepts, you need to reevaluate your beliefs. At a minimum, the moment you decide non-Muslims should be subject to Muslim rules and prohibitions is the moment when your shitty little religion no longer deserves anyone’s respect.

      3. In other words, be nice to Muslims because they’re not powerful enough to meaningfully punish you for your speech?

        Are “offended” groups supposed to be punishing newspapers now? Is that the correct, default reaction, and so it’s not fair to offend those groups that can’t take part in the relationship?

  7. “Beclown” continues to be one of the best words ever.

    1. Agreed. Well-done, Welch.

    2. I fully expect the NYT to embiggen its beclowning in the days to come.

    3. Joined by kerfuffle.

      “He beclowned himself during the recent Charlie Hebdo kerfuffle.”

  8. Just before I saw the paycheck which was of $9215 , I did not believe that my brothers friend was really making money part time from their computer. . there sisters neighbor has done this 4 only about seven months and recently paid for the loans on their home and purchased a great Fiat Panda .
    all visit this page ******** http://www.jobsfish.com

  9. my neighbor’s ex-wife makes $77 hourly on the internet . She has been out of a job for nine months but last month her check was $18454 just working on the internet for a few hours. read………….
    ????? http://www.cashbuzz80.com

  10. Many Muslims consider not imposing sharia law innately offensive and we so we have started to impose it.

  11. Some American Arab with a PhD in multiculturalism or something (probably on MSNBC) compared publishing images of Mohammed to printing the word “nigger” in the newspaper. That actually happened. I didn’t have adequate words, but the first thing I thought was that I’ve never heard of black people conducting terror attacks against Random House or whoever over The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

  12. The problem with being a lying crap weasel about something is that you have to make sure you are being a consistent lying crapweasel so you don’t get caught.

  13. USA Today has the same policy as the NY Times, but they ran a picture of the cover, saying its newsworthiness trumped the policy.

    It must hurt when the once most respected paper in the country has less journalistic integrity than USA Today.

    1. Yeah, wouldn’t want to tarnish the fine legacy of Walter Duranty.

  14. Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan

    She was great in Shop Around the Corner.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.