Monday, June 05, 2023
Oct 12

Written by: Diana West
Friday, October 12, 2012 2:48 AM 

The NYT's Dean Baquet, Jill Abramson and Bill Keller: Newshounds all.


The explanations offered by NYT exec editor Jill Abramson and managing editor Dean Baquet for why the newspaper isn't covering House hearings on Benghazi-gate goes beyond parody, science fiction and satire. Of course, it could have been written by the Obama campaign.

NYT "Reader's Representative" Margaret Sullivan reports:

I talked with Jill Abramson, the executive editor, about the decision, which she said she may have set in motion while running the morning news meeting on Wednesday.

“I said that I wanted us to weigh the news value against the reality that Congressional hearings are not all about fact-finding,” she said. In other words, they are often deeply politicized.

She described The Times’s Libya coverage in recent weeks as “excellent and very muscular,” and she said that for her and the managing editor Dean Baquet, “it’s been one of the absolute key stories – getting to the bottom of what happened and why.”

She suggested that she puts more emphasis on The Times’s original reporting. “We have done a lot on the security issues in Libya and will continue, with our own reporters, to pursue this,” she said.

Mr. Baquet, who ran the afternoon news meeting at which the decision was made, said the reasoning was simple enough: “I didn’t think there was anything significantly new in it,” he said.

Like Ms. Abramson, he was wary of the political nature of the hearing, noting that “It’s three weeks before the election and it’s a politicized thing, but if they had made significant news, we would have put it on the front.”

And, he added, “There were six better stories.”

But many readers wrote to me Thursday morning in dismay. They were disturbed not only by the lack of Page 1 coverage, but also by what they see as not enough attention paid to Libya and the events surrounding the fatal attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi.

This e-mail, from Brendan DuBois of Exeter, N.H., was typical:

After a day of Congressional testimony where two public officials outlined the numerous times that their request for extra security for our diplomatic offices in Libya were ignored, time and time again, no doubt contributing to the slaughter of four Americans on 9/11/12, and when it was clear that the days of stories coming from the White House that the attack began after a nonexistent spontaneous demonstration outside of the U.S. Consulate …

The lead story in today’s paper is about Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong!

The Libya story isn’t even on Page 1. It’s on Page 3.

What does this say about The Times’s news judgment?

Another reader, Sharon Hastings of St. Petersburg, Fla., wrote as follows (her e-mail is abridged here):

I am writing to say how shocked I am at The NYT’s coverage of the Benghazi events and, more so, the coverage of the hearings. This is a major scandal and The Times has more often than not buried the story. The hearings, which made major revelations, are presented as simply partisan wrangling. The major elements on the story this morning are not brought up until the end of the story.

This is deeply shameful, and it reinforces the widely held perception of The Times as deeply partisan — especially before the election. Does The Times truly believe — can it possibly believe — that it is neutral in its news coverage? Either The Times is deeply deluded or extremely cynical in its claims in this regard. Sadly I suspect cynicism.

Sullivan herself adds:

I believe that the Libya hearing story belonged on The Times’s front page. It had significant news value, regardless of the political maneuvering that is inevitable with less than four weeks to go until the election. And more broadly, there is a great deal of substance on this subject that warrants further scrutiny.

I can’t think of many journalistic subjects that are more important right now, or more deserving of aggressive reporting.

The paper of record? Broken record.

<June 2023>
June, 2023
May, 2023
April, 2023
March, 2023
February, 2023
January, 2023
December, 2022
November, 2022
October, 2022
September, 2022
August, 2022
July, 2022
June, 2022
May, 2022
April, 2022
March, 2022
February, 2022
January, 2022
December, 2021
November, 2021
October, 2021
September, 2021
August, 2021
July, 2021
June, 2021
May, 2021
April, 2021
March, 2021
February, 2021
January, 2021
December, 2020
November, 2020
October, 2020
September, 2020
August, 2020
July, 2020
June, 2020
May, 2020
April, 2020
March, 2020
February, 2020
January, 2020
December, 2019
November, 2019
October, 2019
September, 2019
August, 2019
July, 2019
June, 2019
May, 2019
April, 2019
March, 2019
February, 2019
January, 2019
December, 2018
November, 2018
October, 2018
September, 2018
August, 2018
July, 2018
June, 2018
May, 2018
April, 2018
March, 2018
February, 2018
January, 2018
December, 2017
November, 2017
October, 2017
September, 2017
August, 2017
July, 2017
June, 2017
May, 2017
April, 2017
March, 2017
February, 2017
January, 2017
December, 2016
November, 2016
October, 2016
September, 2016
August, 2016
July, 2016
June, 2016
May, 2016
April, 2016
March, 2016
February, 2016
January, 2016
December, 2015
November, 2015
October, 2015
September, 2015
August, 2015
July, 2015
June, 2015
May, 2015
April, 2015
March, 2015
February, 2015
January, 2015
December, 2014
November, 2014
October, 2014
September, 2014
August, 2014
July, 2014
June, 2014
May, 2014
April, 2014
March, 2014
February, 2014
January, 2014
December, 2013
November, 2013
October, 2013
September, 2013
August, 2013
July, 2013
June, 2013
May, 2013
April, 2013
March, 2013
February, 2013
January, 2013
December, 2012
November, 2012
October, 2012
September, 2012
August, 2012
July, 2012
June, 2012
May, 2012
April, 2012
March, 2012
February, 2012
January, 2012
December, 2011
November, 2011
October, 2011
September, 2011
August, 2011
July, 2011
June, 2011
May, 2011
April, 2011
March, 2011
February, 2011
January, 2011
December, 2010
November, 2010
October, 2010
September, 2010
August, 2010
July, 2010
June, 2010
May, 2010
April, 2010
March, 2010
February, 2010
January, 2010
December, 2009
November, 2009
October, 2009
September, 2009
August, 2009
July, 2009
June, 2009
May, 2009
April, 2009
March, 2009
February, 2009
January, 2009
December, 2008
November, 2008
October, 2008
September, 2008
August, 2008
July, 2008
June, 2008
May, 2008
April, 2008
March, 2008
February, 2008
January, 2008
December, 2007
November, 2007
October, 2007
September, 2007
August, 2007
Privacy Statement  |  Terms Of Use
Copyright 2012 by Diana West