Executives at America's top liberal newspapers firmly expressed the sentiment that they report on Donald Trump without bias or partisanship. This should launch a national wave of spit takes.
To underline the chumminess between The New York Times and The Washington Post in this Trump era, the Times published a story on Tuesday on Trump's attack on the "Amazon Washington Post." Media reporter Sydney Ember included a bucket of defensive quotes from Post executive editor Martin Baron about how Trump was making stuff up. This one was a real knee-slapper:
On Monday, Mr. Baron said The Post was not cowed by Mr. Trump’s invectives. “We cover him the way that we feel any president should be covered,” he said.
Earth to Marty: Yours is the newspaper that ran Obama stories with front-page "news" like "The sun glinted off his chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week."
Baron insisted that just because Amazon.com billionaire Jeff Bezos bought the Post, “There isn’t anybody here who is paid by Amazon,” he said. “Not one penny.” And if Trump bought the Wall Street Journal, would he buy anyone suggesting it was independent of Trump?
Then Vanity Fair published a story on internal squabbling between the left and the radical left inside The New York Times, which included this line from managing editor Joe Kahn. Remarkably, it's even funnier than Marty Baron's. CNN's Brian Stelter tweeted it out, like it wasn't preposterous:
Media writer Joe Pompeo described a fight between an old guard and a "woke" new guard. It sounds like the Hillary backers versus the Sanders social justice warriors. The old guard draws contempt by making any gesture toward including a conservative opinion anywhere within a mile of a Times product. The new guard could not abide its editor Dean Baquet appearing on the same stage as Steve Bannon.
In context, Joe Kahn is explaining that all the leftists working at the Times would have been more united behind a President Clinton:
“If this had been the first term of Hillary Clinton, or a less divisive, less polarizing figure for many members of our own staff, some of the issues that have arisen might not have taken on quite the level of importance or urgency or alarm that they have.” At the same time, said Kahn, the Times “has made it really clear that we consider it crucial to our future that we not become an opposition-news organization. We do not see ourselves, and we do not wish to be seen, as partisan media. That means that the news and opinion divide, and things like social-media guidelines and some of our traditional restrictions on political activity by employees, may feel cumbersome to some people at this point in our evolution.”
The old guard wants to maintain a fig leaf of the old decorum. The new guard wants to go streaking into the future. Kahn is still jawing about the old lingo, "reporting without fear or favor, and giving voice to many different sides and perspectives and all of that," while the radicals want the conservatives to be crushed, not quoted. Kahn concluded:
“If you’re a media company, journalism is not about creating safe spaces for people,” he said. “It’s not about democratically reflecting the consensus of the staff about what we say on certain issues. We’re not crowd-sourcing, from our employees, a collective institutional position on Donald Trump.”
As if the institutional position -- as enunciated by the paper's Editorial Board -- isn't vicious enough about Trump....