National polling outlet Civiqs has been tracking the level of support from registered voters for Black Lives Matter since April 2017.
Two academics looked at the results from Civiqs most recent survey (May 21) and presented their analysis in The New York Times.
I feel compelled to share their bios, particularly Ms. Chudy’s. [Emphasis mine]: “Jennifer Chudy is an assistant professor of social sciences and political science at Wellesley College. She studies white racial guilt, sympathy and prejudice. Hakeem Jefferson is an assistant professor of political science at Stanford University, where he studies race and identity.
They note that support for BLM overall has seen a net increase since 2018.
On Jan. 1, 2018, 38 percent of registered voters supported the group, 41 percent were opposed, 18 percent neither supported or opposed and 3 percent were not sure. On May 21, 47 percent support BLM, 40 percent oppose, 12 percent neither support nor oppose and 1 percent are unsure.
Support for the group increased over the past three and a half years from 38 to 47 percent while those opposed decreased by one percent. What stands out is that those opposed largely remained opposed and the increase in support came from those who were previously neutral or unsure.
The Times presents Civiqs’ data on a graph which resembles a typical bell curve. It shows a breakout in support starting on March 13, 2020, the date that Breonna Taylor was killed. On May 25, the date of George Floyd’s death, support spikes and the line showing new support is nearly vertical. It continues to rise until June 3. Support reaches 53 percent, just 29 percent of respondents are opposed, 17 percent are neutral and two percent are unsure.
This is the high water mark for BLM. From that point on, support for the movement plummeted.
The authors point out that, by this time, “protests have spread to more than 140 cities nationwide.”
Americans had been shocked after seeing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin press his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, but that wasn’t an excuse for burning down cities, toppling monuments and looting stores.
Chuddy and Jefferson see other reasons for the drop. They lament that they “the more general picture contradicts the idea that the country underwent a racial reckoning. Last summer, as Black Americans turned their sorrow into action, attitudes — especially white attitudes — shifted from tacit support to outright opposition, a pattern familiar in American history. Whereas support for Black Lives Matter remains relatively high among racial and ethnic minorities, support among white Americans has proved both fickle and volatile.”
“Support among white Americans has proved both fickle and volatile?” Is it unreasonable to oppose an organization that burns down buildings and businesses, smashes store windows so they can be looted, wounds our police officers and disregards the law? I don’t see anything fickle or volatile about that.
Then, the two take aim at Republicans specifically. “After Mr. Floyd’s death, Republicans reported much stronger support for Black Lives Matter than they had earlier in 2020. For a party often characterized by its racial insensitivity and antagonism toward racial minorities, this increase in support was striking. But perhaps even more striking is its rapid decline.”
Finally, they write this: “Some have wondered whether support for B.L.M., especially among white people, is genuine or merely virtue-signaling. As the volatility of the polling suggests, there is reason to be skeptical. This conversation, however, misrepresents racism as a social problem rooted in individual values rather than as a system forcefully sustained by our institutions.”
I suppose this kind of stupidity is to be expected from a white guilt and sympathy major.
Not only do I not support Black Lives Matter, I consider them to be a terrorist group.
By constantly telling blacks that they’re oppressed, people like Chuddy and Jefferson are making blacks believe they’re oppressed.
Shortly after the protests began last summer, conservative writer and Senior Fellow at The Hoover Institution, Shelby Steele, joined Fox News’ Mark Levin on his Sunday night show. Steele, who is black, shared some much needed insight into the racial riots that were rocking the country at the time.
Steele recalled growing up in the 1950s in Chicago when segregation was “fierce.” No one was taking money from the government. His father, with a third grade education, bought three ramshackle houses, rebuilt them and then rented them out. He “kept clawing his way up.” And he wasn’t unique. They were all working hard.
Steele came of age during the civil rights era in the 1960s and said the biggest difference between then and now is that, back then, everybody knew exactly what they wanted. “Often [it was] a piece of legislation, a civil rights bill or something else that was specific or concrete.”
He speaks of the vagueness of the current protests. “So, what is this really all about?” Steele thinks it’s about power and, “in order to pursue power, as they do, you have to have victims.”
The death of George Floyd, he told Levin, “generates such excitement among this crowd and validates their argument that America is a wretched country. It feeds this old model of operation that we’ve developed, that America is guilty of racism – and has been for four centuries and minorities are victims who are entitled.”
Steele continued: “And so, when people start to talk about systemic racism built into the system, what they’re really doing is expanding their territory of entitlement. We want more. We want more. … Society is responsible for us because racism is so systemic.”
“Well, that’s a corruption. And I know it’s a corruption. Because the truth of the matter is that blacks have never been less oppressed than they are today. Opportunity is around every corner.”
He also believes there’s always going to be some racism in every society. He noted, “My own sense is that it’s endemic to the human condition. We will always have to watch out for it.”
“Blacks, he says, are unhappy that they’re at the bottom of most socioeconomic ladders, but instead of blaming it on the police or anyone else, they need to take a look at themselves.”
“Why don’t you take some responsibility for it? … I would be happy to look at all the usual bad guys, the police and so forth, if they have the nerve, the courage, to look at black people and say, you’re not carrying your own weight, you’re going to go have a fit and a tantrum and demonstrations…
“Are you teaching your child to read? Are you making sure that the school down the street actually educates your child? Are you becoming educated and following a dream in your life and making things happen for yourself? Or are you saying ‘I’m a victim and I’m owed? And the entitlement is inadequate and I need to be given more and after all, you know racism has been here for 400 years…and so, it’s time for you to give to me.
“That’s an exhausted, fruitless, empty strategy to take and we’ve been on that path since the 60s and we are farther behind than we’ve ever been and we keep blaming it on racism and blaming it on the police. I’m exhausted with that.
“They took a lot of responsibility for their lives because the government didn’t [during segregation]. What civil rights bill is going to replace that? What value system?
“And that is the problem. That we have allowed ourselves to be enabled in avoiding our real problems by a guilty white society. That keeps using us and exploiting us as victims. … If you really care about how minorities do, why don’t you ask them to do it? Why don’t you ask them to drop the pretense?
“We have let this sort of guilty society and our grievance industry put us in this impossible position where we are a permanent underclass.
“White guilt: Buying back legitimacy by exploiting minorities all over again.
“‘Look, we beat you up pretty badly. You can’t make it without us – unless WE are the agent of that change. Not you, us. So they take over the agency, over black development and say, if you don’t get more government money, more government programs, you will never make it. You are dependent on us and what happens? A grievance industry springs up in black America to receive all that white beneficence.
Chuddy and Jefferson would do well to listen to Steele.
If you have a degree in sociology, psychology or gender studies, it’s not my fault. This isn’t a knock on your choice. I know how it feels to waste my own money, personally carrying around a degree in philosophy. I told myself I would continue on to law school, but the new ‘lottery’ (apologies to Shirley Jackson) draft system and my amazingly low draft number altered my plans.
Imagine my surprise when reading the news today and stumbling across an article that details just exactly how I, specifically as a white person, am supposed to behave in public when visiting the newly erected shrine dedicated to George Floyd; a drug addict and thug who had a violent criminal history. I am so glad that some woke social studies major got that figured out. I just hate not knowing how to act.
What would I do if I found myself in George Floyd Square, previously known as the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago, and didn’t conform to dictatedexpected behaviors?
Now I can go and visit that hallowed ground and do exactly what the rioters, BLM racists and socially woke, useful idiots want me to do.
Mr. Narrator (interrupts): “Richard Edward, stop! You are being disrespectful to the memory of George Floyd. People are trying to build a shrine to the memory of a hero, a man who sacrificed his life on the altar of justice. Crazy Nancy said so just a couple of days ago and you know you can’t tell her she is wrong.”
Richard Edward: “What? (don’t you just hate being surprised all of the time?) Shrine to? Social justice warrior? I read in an article by my colleague Elizabeth Vaughn that he was high on fentanyl at the time of his arrest. He told the officers “I can’t breathe” and repeated “put me on the ground” several times before he was placed on the ground during his apprehension. You sure we’re talking about the same dude?”
Mr. Narrator: “Yes, Richard Edward. That was George Floyd in life. In death, he has been given an entirely different biography. In life, he was just another drug-addled thug in Minneapolis who resisted arrest for his latest suspected crime; but in death, he has become a civil rights icon, more than worthy of your obsequious genuflecting. The woke graduate sociology majors have declared it so.”
Wow, is there anything a liberal arts degree can’t do? Rewrite history? Dictate your behavior in public places, especially according to your race? Tell millions of your neighbors how to think and feel about current events? I never understood that the possession of a degree in social studies, sociology or any other of the ‘Liberal Artx’ would hold the answer to all of the world’s conundrums.
Mr. Narrator: “Don’t be snarky, Richard Edward. These folks are serious. White people need to be told how to act in a place of worship. Here, let me show you what is required of you if you visit. Newsmax captured the woke folk’s instructions in a nifty little list:
White guests need to “decenter” and “come to listen, learn, mourn, and witness.”
“Remember you are here to support, not to be supported,” the sign instructs.
White people are then asked to “contribute to the energy of the space, rather than drain it.”
Any “processing” must be brought to “other white folks” so that “BIPOC” (an acronym for “Black and Indigenous people of color”) are not harmed….
Richard Edward: “Well, that does it. I am going to plan my trip to George Floyd Square right away. But before I go, I’ll first need to decipher the social justice warriors’ instructions to ensure my behavior will be acceptable to their hall-monitors, whom I am sure will be on duty, cell phone cameras at the ready. These instructions are so wonderfully today’s pop psychology, I am positive they were written by recent graduates from any woke, ivy league school.”
“Mr. Narrator, do you know where I can go to find out how to ‘decenter’? This is important to me. My balance isn’t as good as it used to be, so any ‘decentering’ might have significantly adverse effects on my health and ability to stand upright. If I can’t stand up right, how can I follow the rest of their instructions?”
“Support? I love being a support. That’s something I can get right without any homework. I’ve raised and supported a family, been married four times and thus clearly understand the true meaning of support. Heck, I once single-handedly held up a section of fence until the last post was installed. I can easily go to the location of the Great Fentanyl Incident and hand-out money, along with my deepest personally sympathy, to the race grifters who will inevitably inhabit the sidewalks of said intersection.”
“Be a contributor? You bet. Didn’t I already say I’ve been married four times?”
“Keep my processing to myself or folks of my own race? (So much for reaching out to others.) I guess I can support and contribute to those in the George Floyd matrix without letting it upset me to the point where I become triggered and need to run off, screaming for my safe space. Processing? Well, I used to work in the tech industry and can understand a little about processing, so I guess I’ll be alright with that one, too.”
“I can do this trip, Mr. Narrator. I can make the hajj to George Floyd Square and prostrate myself before the alter of wokeness, asking for forgiveness for being a white, law-abiding citizen; one whose expectations used to be only to ‘treat others as I would like to be treated.’ That life approach is so passé.”
Mr. Narrator: “Richard Edward, I knew you would get it. There is hope for you to fit somewhere towards the bottom of the new woke, world order. We are so lucky that the sociology majors of the world have shown you your path to redemption.”
If you think that having a Liberal Artx degree and a holier than thou attitude does/doesn’t give one the right to dictate other’s behavior, please make a comment and let Richard Edward and Mr. Narrator know your thoughts.
As America awaits the verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey’s rhetoric during a Monday news conference exacerbated an already overwrought situation. He told reporters, “As we await the verdict, there are several inescapable truths. … Regardless of the outcome of this trial, regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality. which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police.”
He added, “Being black in America should not – cannot be a death sentence. … We understand that people will feel the need to express it. … What has become increasingly clear is that the foundation of anti-blackness and deep structural racism within our society is palpable.
The occasion was a public safety update ahead of the verdict. Frey was joined by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter. The second video records the entire press conference.
In the first segment of the video, Gov. Walz slams the inherent racism he sees within the culture and he voices his commitment to respecting the right to protest.
On Saturday night, Rep. Maxine Waters expressed basically the same opinion. She told BLM supporters, “Oh no, not manslaughter,” as she raised a hand to show her opinion of the lesser possible charge of manslaughter. “No, no, no. Listen, listen, guilty for murder. I don’t know if it’s in the first degree, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s first degree murder.”
Shortly before a verdict is to be delivered in a case that has deeply divided the country, three elected officials, both Democrats, feel it’s wise to fan the flames of racism. The city of Minneapolis, ground zero for the riots sparked by the death of George Floyd last summer which quickly spread throughout the country, is on edge. Daunte Wright’s death has exacerbated the situation. It has already set off rioting in Brooklyn Center. The slightest provocation is all that’s required to set off more destruction and chaos.
The city is poised to erupt into violence and chaos once the verdict is handed down and instead of calling for calm, these three are publicly stating their opinions as facts. By expressing solidarity with BLM at this time, they are increasing the chances that destructive riots will break out.
If Chauvin is acquitted, all bets are off. Chaos will follow. A second-degree manslaughter verdict will also likely trigger riots. Although it would be reasonable to expect that BLM would be satisfied with a second or third degree murder conviction, they’ll probably still riot for the same reasons they did so last summer. In other words, the verdict itself won’t really make a difference. The city is a powder keg and it won’t take much to spark the flames.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey:
“Regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality, which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police." pic.twitter.com/0o7dYty5NQ
The backlash over Rep. Maxine Waters’ (D-CA) inflammatory remarks to a group of Black Lives Matter protestors in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Saturday night continues to grow.
On Monday, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill, who is presiding over the Derek Chauvin murder trial, to declare a mistrial due to prosecutorial misconduct and Waters’ comments. Nelson cited the fact that “an elected official, U.S. Congressperson” made public statements that “I think are reasonably interpreted to be threats against the sanctity of the jury process” which amounted to “threatening and intimidating the jury.”
Cahill declined. However, he told the court, “I’ll give you that Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned,”
Fox News reporter Chad Pergram reported that, when Waters was asked if her comments could result in Chauvin’s “eventual acquittal,” she replied that “The judge says my words don’t matter.” Pergram’s source was Fox’ Capitol Hill reporter Caroline McKee.
From colleague Caroline McKee. Waters when asked if her remarks over the weekend could result in the eventual acquittal of Derek Chauvin: "The judge says my words don’t matter.” Did got respond to question about McCarthy's censure resolution
For those who may have missed it, Waters told protestors, “We’re looking for a guilty verdict.” And if Chauvin is acquitted, she said we need to take to the streets and “get more confrontational.” Below is a clip from the event. I posted about this story here.
Maxine Waters is marching in Brooklyn Center tonight and told people to take to the streets if Chauvin is acquitted pic.twitter.com/RemfvCCLAn
The judge’s response can be heard in the video below.
“This goes back to what I’ve been saying from the beginning,” Cahill said. “I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function.”
“I think if they want to give their opinion they should do so in a respectful and in a manner that is consistent with their oath to the Constitution to respect a co-equal branch of government. Their failure to do so, I think, is abhorrent, but I don’t think it’s prejudiced us with additional material that would prejudice this jury.”
Cahill concludes that “a Congresswoman’s opinion really doesn’t matter a whole lot.”
Chauvin trial judge denies the defense's request for a mistrial, BUT he did SLAM Maxine Waters for her threatening comments in Minnesota this weekend to jurors, calling them "abhorrent" and "disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function." pic.twitter.com/rAoa1QvcqZ
If Chauvin is found guilty of any of the three charges against him, it’s highly likely he will appeal. Before Waters’ foolish, incendiary remarks, he had any number of reasons to appeal. First, his legal team would argue that it was impossible for Chauvin to have a fair trial in the city of Minneapolis. Given the notoriety of the George Floyd case, it would be impossible for him to have a fair trial anywhere. But that would have been only a starting point for an appeal.
Waters’ words have handed him a gift. She stepped way out of her lane on Saturday night. And some are already tying a drive-by shooting of the National Guard in Minneapolis that occurred several hours after Waters spoke to BLM protestors.
Waters may believe that because she has the support of party leaders such as Nancy Pelosi, this story will go away. She may be surprised to find that the fallout has just begun. Ironically, she may ultimately be responsible for producing the outcome she’d feared the most – the full exoneration of Derek Chauvin.
Hours after Maxine Waters told people to be more confrontational there was a drive-by shooting of the National Guard in Minneapolis
"I am relieved to know none of our Guardsmen were seriously injured," said Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, the Adjutant General of the @MNNationalGuard. "This event highlights the volatility and tension in our communities right now. I ask for peace as we work through this difficult time."
Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters spoke to Black Lives Matter members at a march in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, to protest the city’s curfew enacted in the aftermath of the Daunte Wright shooting. In the video below, recorded on Saturday night, the congresswoman from California tells protestors to “stay in the streets … fight for justice … get more confrontational” if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted. “We’re looking for a guilty verdict.” Sounds almost as if she’s inciting a riot.
As the clip begins, Waters is answering a question about the police reform bill. She tells the group she knows “the right wing, the racists, are opposed to it. … We’ve got to stay in the streets. We’ve got to demand justice.”
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict. … If nothing does not [sic] happen, then we know that we’ve got to not only stay in the streets, we’ve got to fight for justice. I am very hopeful and I hope that we’re going to get a verdict that will say guilty, guilty, guilty. And if we don’t, we cannot go away.”
A protestor asks, “And not just manslaughter, right, I mean.”
“Oh no, not manslaughter,” as she raises a hand to show her opinion of the lesser possible charge. “No, no, no. Listen, listen, guilty for murder. I don’t know if it’s in the first degree, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s first degree murder.”
She is asked what protestors should do.
“Well, we’ve got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active. We’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know we mean business.”
Knowing that Minneapolis and Brooklyn Center, Minnesota are literally powder kegs, which will explode if Chauvin is acquitted, a member of the U.S. Congress is telling Black Lives Matter members, who set cities on fire last summer, that not even a verdict of manslaughter will do. As far as she is concerned, Chauvin is guilty of first degree murder.
Is she implying that not even a verdict of second or third degree murder will do?
Chauvin is not even being charged with first degree murder. So, either he will be charged with second or third degree murder, second degree manslaughter or he will be acquitted.
Is Waters actually telling them to protest no matter what the verdict is?
Last week, I posted about a lawyer’s take on the charges against Chauvin. He cast doubt on the second-degree murder charges, even saying it’s possible the judge might throw it out when he instructs the jury. RedState’s Shipwreckedcrew wrote:
To convict Chauvin of “second degree” murder, the jury will be instructed that they must find that “Chauvin intended to kill Floyd”, in that he acted “with the purpose of causing death and believed the act would cause that result.”
There is simply no evidence presented anywhere in the prosecution’s case that would support such a finding, and I would not be surprised if the Judge dismissed this count when the prosecution rests its case.
To convict Chauvin of “third degree” murder, the jury will be instructed that they must find that Chauvin’s “intentional act was imminently dangerous to human beings and was performed without regard for human life.”
Third degree murder might also be a tough sell, when one considers that the technique Chauvin used is taught at the police academy.
If Chauvin is found guilty of second degree manslaughter or acquitted, we can probably expect riots, starting in Minneapolis to spread across the country.
Although toned down from her dangerous rhetoric of June 2018, when she called on supporters to confront Trump officials wherever they were, this was pretty incendiary language coming from a U.S. lawmaker. Waters is well aware of how volatile the situation is.
Didn’t House Democrats recently impeach former President Donald Trump for far less incendiary language?
Maxine Waters is marching in Brooklyn Center tonight and told people to take to the streets if Chauvin is acquitted pic.twitter.com/RemfvCCLAn
Two tragic unintended police shootings. The officer responsible for the first and arguably more egregious death was given complete anonymity and was not criminally charged for his actions. His victim was unarmed. She was trespassing in the Capitol building. The other officer’s name was immediately revealed to the public and she was charged criminally within days of the incident. Her victim was armed and there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. He was facing first degree aggravated robbery charges for pointing a gun at and choking a woman (twice) who would not hand over her cash to him. The difference? The color of the victims’ skin. There are now two tiers of justice in America.
The Biden Department of Justice issued a press release on Wednesday to announce they had closed their investigation into the death of Ashli Babbitt, the thirty five-year-old Air Force veteran who was shot dead by a U.S. Capitol police officer during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The DOJ “will not pursue criminal charges against the officer involved.” The identity of the officer remains unknown.
The DOJ’s decision sparked no riots, no looting, no destruction. Just sadness.
The statement (printed below) explains that not only would prosecutors have to prove that “the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so ‘willfully,’ which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.”
The Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer, Kimberly Potter, who mistakenly drew her firearm instead of her Taser and shot Daunte Wright on Sunday, did not do so willfully. Yet, her identity was immediately revealed publicly. Riots erupted in the city. Additional riots broke out in other U.S. cities. And it took only days for her to be charged with second degree manslaughter.
So, what’s the difference? Oh yeah, one victim was white. The other was black.
America is no longer the land of the free. Justice is dead.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice will not pursue criminal charges against the U.S. Capitol Police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 35-year-old Ashli Babbitt, the Office announced today.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia’s Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section and the Civil Rights Division, with the Metropolitan Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division (IAD), conducted a thorough investigation of Ms. Babbitt’s shooting. Officials examined video footage posted on social media, statements from the officer involved and other officers and witnesses to the events, physical evidence from the scene of the shooting, and the results of an autopsy. Based on that investigation, officials determined that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal prosecution. Officials from IAD informed a representative of Ms. Babbitt’s family today of this determination.
The investigation determined that, on January 6, 2021, Ms. Babbitt joined a crowd of people that gathered on the U.S. Capitol grounds to protest the results of the 2020 presidential election. Inside the Capitol building, a Joint Session of Congress, convened to certify the results of the Electoral College vote, was underway. Members of the crowd outside the building, which was closed to the public during the Joint Session, eventually forced their way into the Capitol building and past U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) officers attempting to maintain order. The Joint Session was stopped, and the USCP began evacuating members of Congress.
The investigation further determined that Ms. Babbitt was among a mob of people that entered the Capitol building and gained access to a hallway outside “Speaker’s Lobby,” which leads to the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the time, the USCP was evacuating Members from the Chamber, which the mob was trying to enter from multiple doorways. USCP officers used furniture to barricade a set of glass doors separating the hallway and Speaker’s Lobby to try and stop the mob from entering the Speaker’s Lobby and the Chamber, and three officers positioned themselves between the doors and the mob. Members of the mob attempted to break through the doors by striking them and breaking the glass with their hands, flagpoles, helmets, and other objects. Eventually, the three USCP officers positioned outside the doors were forced to evacuate. As members of the mob continued to strike the glass doors, Ms. Babbitt attempted to climb through one of the doors where glass was broken out. An officer inside the Speaker’s Lobby fired one round from his service pistol, striking Ms. Babbitt in the left shoulder, causing her to fall back from the doorway and onto the floor. A USCP emergency response team, which had begun making its way into the hallway to try and subdue the mob, administered aid to Ms. Babbitt, who was transported to Washington Hospital Center, where she succumbed to her injuries.
The focus of the criminal investigation was to determine whether federal prosecutors could prove that the officer violated any federal laws, concentrating on the possible application of 18 U.S.C. § 242, a federal criminal civil rights statute. In order to establish a violation of this statute, prosecutors must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the officer acted willfully to deprive Ms. Babbitt of a right protected by the Constitution or other law, here the Fourth Amendment right not to be subjected to an unreasonable seizure. Prosecutors would have to prove not only that the officer used force that was constitutionally unreasonable, but that the officer did so “willfully,” which the Supreme Court has interpreted to mean that the officer acted with a bad purpose to disregard the law. As this requirement has been interpreted by the courts, evidence that an officer acted out of fear, mistake, panic, misperception, negligence, or even poor judgment cannot establish the high level of intent required under Section 242.
The investigation revealed no evidence to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the officer willfully committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242. Specifically, the investigation revealed no evidence to establish that, at the time the officer fired a single shot at Ms. Babbitt, the officer did not reasonably believe that it was necessary to do so in self-defense or in defense of the Members of Congress and others evacuating the House Chamber. Acknowledging the tragic loss of life and offering condolences to Ms. Babbitt’s family, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and U.S. Department of Justice have therefore closed the investigation into this matter.
Politico reported on Wednesday morning that President Joe Biden will be signing several gun control executive orders on Thursday. This report was confirmed by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki at today’s daily briefing.
The report says that Biden has been pressured by Democratic lawmakers, supporters and others to take action against our Second Amendment rights.
According to Politico:
Over 100 House Democrats wrote to Biden urging him to take action on the concealed assault-style firearms, which is similar to the one used in the Colorado shooting.
Biden will direct the administration to begin the process of requiring buyers of so-called ghost guns — homemade or makeshift firearms that lack serial numbers — to undergo background checks, according to three people who have spoken to the White House about the plans. He is expected to be joined at the event by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Other executive actions remain unclear. But stakeholders have speculated that the president could announce regulations on concealed assault-style firearms; prohibitions on firearm purchases for those convicted of domestic violence against their partners; and federal guidance on home storage safety measures.
Gun ownership in America continues to hit record levels. USA Today reports that Americans purchased close to 40 million firearms in 2020. Those figures sounded high to me, so I checked several other sites and they are indeed accurate.
The FBI processed a record 39.7 million firearm background checks in 2020, beating previous highs by more than 10 million.
Roughly 8.5 million people across the US purchased their first firearm in 2020, a significant portion of total gun sales, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Gun sales in the U.S. exploded in March 2020 after President Trump announced our first two week lockdown. They shot up (no pun intended) again following the death of George Floyd and the violence that followed. Biden’s victory triggered an additional round.
In January, another 4.1 million firearms were purchased, setting a year-over-year record. Liberal websites claim that Americans were looking for security after the “insurrection” that occurred on January 6. I don’t believe that. More likely, people wanted to buy a gun before Biden took office.
In February, gun sales dipped by about 10 percent. Sales came roaring back in March, however they failed to reach the record set in March 2020.
Gun control bills are extremely difficult to pass through Congress. In addition to nearly solid Republican opposition, some Democratic lawmakers, such as Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, oppose these bills as well.
Cruz was spotted at Biden’s inauguration ceremony wearing a mask adorned with Texas’ famed “Come and Take It” logo, a phrase made famous by the Battle of Gonzales, which “marked the first military fight of the Texas Revolution in 1835,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
Speaking before members of the NRA in 2018, former President Donald Trump recounted the story of the Battle of Gonzales, Breitbart reported.
“In 1835, soldiers from General Santa Anna’s army marched into the little Texas town of Gonzales and ordered those Texans to surrender their small cannon that they relied on to protect their lives and protect their homes,” he said. “The Texans refused! They were not about to give up their only means of self-defense.
“In response, Santa Anna’s army returned with a large group of additional people. They had men all over the place … [but] this time, they were met by dozens of Texans … who had rushed to Gonzales to defend their rights and their freedom.
“As Santa Anna’s men watched from a distance, those brave Texans raised a flag for all to see. On the banner, they painted a cannon along with four words that echoed through the ages. It said, ‘Come and Take It.’”
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, introduced the concept of “camera perspective bias” in court on Monday. Please bear with me for a moment because the images are quite compelling. In the video from former Officer Alexander Keung’s body-camera, Chauvin’s knee looks like it’s sitting on George Floyd’s shoulder blade. In the bystander video, taken from a completely different angle, Chauvin’s knee looks like it’s pressing on Floyd’s neck.
These images are especially important because of the discrepancies between the autopsy results from the Hennepin County medical examiner and those from “celebrity” medical examiner whom the family had hired to perform a second autopsy.
Nelson plays the two videos. The first video was recorded by teenager Darnella Frazier, a bystander, and the second is from Keung’s body-camera.
Nelson is questioning Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Nelson said, “From the perspective of Miss Frazier’s camera, it appears that Officer Chauvin’s knee is on the neck of Mr. Floyd.”
Arradondo replies, “Yes.”
Nelson asks, “Would you agree that from the perspective of Officer Keung’s body camera, it appears that Officer Chauvin’s knee was more on Floyd’s shoulder blade?”
Arradondo replies, “Yes.”
“I have no further questions,” said Nelson.
Derek Chauvin's defense counsel Eric Nelson introduces the concept of "camera perspective bias." Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo agrees Chauvin's knee looks like it's on Floyd's neck in the bystander video, but appears to be on his "shoulder blade" in the body-cam video. pic.twitter.com/YoR2GWTdaH
Within days of former police officer Derek Chauvin’s arrest on charges of murder and manslaughter, the Hennepin County medical examiner presented prosecutors with the autopsy results. They showed that Floyd had three times the lethal amount of fentanyl in his system.
He told them that “this level of fentanyl can cause pulmonary edema. Mr. Floyd’s lungs were 2-3x their normal weight at autopsy. That’s a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances.”
Floyd also had methamphetamine in his system, a drug the medical examiner noted was “hard on the heart.”
Most significantly, the medical examiner said that “if Mr. Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else), and there were no other contributing factors, he would conclude that it was an overdose death.”
Following the second autopsy, The New York Times reported that Floyd’s death was caused “by compression of his neck and back by Minneapolis police officers.”
According to the Times:
The findings by the family’s private medical examiners directly contradict the report that there was no asphyxia, said Dr. Allecia M. Wilson, of the University of Michigan, one of the doctors who examined his body. The physical evidence showed that the pressure applied led to his death, she said. In an interview, Dr. Michael Baden, who also participated in the private autopsy, said there was also some hemorrhaging around the right carotid area.
Although she has not had access to the full medical examiner’s report, Dr. Wilson said: “We have seen accounts from the complaint and based on that, yes our findings do differ. Some of the information I read from that complaint states that there was no evidence of traumatic asphyxia. This is the point in which we do disagree. There is evidence in this case of mechanical or traumatic asphyxia.”
She noted that she did not have access to toxicology results, tissue samples or some organs. Those items are not likely to change the results, she said.
The private doctors also said that any underlying conditions Mr. Floyd had did not kill him or contribute to his death.
“He was in good health,” Dr. Baden said.
The private autopsy concluded that even without evidence of “traumatic” asphyxia, such as broken bones, the compression caused by the officers still led to Mr. Floyd’s death by depriving his brain of blood and oxygen and his lungs of air.
A couple of weeks ago, I published a a 24-minute video produced by former federal and state prosecutor and current conservative writer George Parry which shows the interaction between Floyd and the four Minneapolis police officers throughout the arrest.
I’m including part of the post and the video for anyone who may be interested. On March 24, I wrote:
“It might surprise you to learn that George Floyd uttered the now famous words, “I can’t breathe,” seven times before he was placed on the ground.
We also learn that it was Floyd’s idea to lay on the ground. As they tried to put him into the squad car, Floyd tells police. “I wanna lay on the ground, I wanna lay on the ground, I wanna lay on the ground, I wanna lay on the ground. I know, I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”
Moreover, there was foam around Floyd’s mouth at the time of his arrest. When one of the officers asked him about it, Floyd replied. “Yes, Yes, I was just hooping earlier.” I’ll leave it to the video to explain the meaning of “hooping” in this context.
Additionally, Parry explains the autopsy results and makes it clear that the fatal dose of fentanyl in Floyd’s system, combined with his severe coronary artery disease, his history of hypertension, his poor physical condition and the extremely agitated state he was in at the scene all fits into a classic pattern of excited delirium syndrome.”
The reason excited delirium syndrome is so serious, Parry tells us, “is that it leads to sudden onset cardiac arrhythmia. In fact, the finding by the Hennepin County medical examiner was that Mr. Floyd died as a result of cardiac arrest.”
Disclose.tv put out a warning on TikTok on Tuesday from Maya Echols, who is a “prominent” Black Lives Matter activist. This woman “threatened that cities will be “on fire” if [former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin] is not convicted for the death of George Floyd.”
In the video below, Echols tells her followers, “If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose. Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just sayin.”
“Justice” apparently now means people riot in the street if they don’t get the conviction that they want…pic.twitter.com/yeZ62Y6fWN
We don’t need Echols, who by the way is a model with IMG Worldwide, to tell us that.
Still, cities should be prepared in case there are people sitting on that jury who are able to wade through the emotional testimony that prosecutors have so carefully prepared, and see the truth. I don’t expect that to happen, but it’s a possibility.
Interestingly, last month, a Hennepin County, Minnesota judge reinstated the charge of 3rd-degree murder against Chauvin.
This was actually the initial charge in his case. However, following enormous public outrage, including that from the highly partisan Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, the charge was upgraded to 2nd-degree murder and a charge of 2nd-degree manslaughter was added.
Ellison issued a statement at that time which read: “The charge of 3rd-degree murder, in addition to manslaughter and felony murder, reflects the gravity of the allegations against Mr. Chauvin. We look forward to presenting all three charges to the jury.” [Emphasis mine.]
To the contrary, the addition, or more accurately the adding back of the original, lesser charge, at least as I see it, signals that prosecutors are less sure of their case than they let on.
If prosecutors added 1st degree murder or manslaughter charges, that would reflect the gravity of the situation.
Cities will probably burn even if Chauvin is convicted of 2nd degree manslaughter or 3rd degree murder. Maybe even if he’s convicted of 2nd degree murder.
Rioting appears to be sport for the folks at Black Lives Matter – just a big party where they even get to burn stuff and if they’re lucky, come away with some nice merchandise too.
Much ink has been spilled about the systemic racism that exists in America. This, of course, became front and center following the death of George Floyd last May. That event, which it turns out was grotesquely misreported, served as the green light for an all-out war against the evil white man who continues to oppress blacks to this day.
It gave license to domestic terrorist groups such as Black Lives Matter and Antifa to burn and loot American cities without consequence. Contrast the anemic efforts by law enforcement to pursue those responsible for what became billions of dollars of property damage and injury to police officers and civilians, with the FBI’s robust campaign to chase down citizens who attended the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally. We’ve heard reports of FBI SWAT teams conducting pre-dawn raids, similar to the Roger Stone raid, at the homes of these “dangerous criminals.”
Where the %&$# was the FBI when former President Donald Trump was being targeted for colluding with Russia to win the 2016 election? Oh yeah, they were in on it. They were busy preparing their fraudulent applications to the FISA Court for a warrant and three renewals to spy on members of the Trump campaign. And wracking their brains to find a way to set a perjury trap for Gen. Michael Flynn so they could turn his life into a living hell for the next four years.
The riots that spread like wildfire throughout the U.S. last summer thrust the issue of systemic racism to the fore. In the midst of a pandemic and a deep recession, systemic racism became the most pressing issue of the day. The country needed to find a way – and fast – to atone for the heinous behavior of nineteenth century southern plantation owners even though hundreds of thousands of Americans died fighting a war to abolish slavery.
The mainstream media has been moving away from the practice of journalism for years. With the arrival of candidate Donald Trump, it was abandoned altogether. The media collectively embraced activism. They operate as a unit.
Unlikely as it may sound, the adoption of “race” as a top issue in American discourse was actually a deliberate decision made by The New York Times, which is arguably the most influential newspaper in America.
It happened in August 2019, long before Americans ever heard of George Floyd. The manner of Floyd’s death, as it was represented in the viral video of then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, merely served as a catalyst.
The occasion was a “crisis employee town-hall,” a staff meeting held by The Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet. A recording of his remarks was leaked to and published by Slate. (The full transcript of the meeting, via Slate, is reprinted at the bottom of the page.)
At the time, Trump had just delivered a positive and widely praised speech on two mass shootings that had taken place nearly simultaneously in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. The President had denounced racism in the strongest possible terms.
The headline in The Times read, ““TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.” Following harsh criticism from the left for their positive take on the speech, the newspaper changed its headline to “ASSAILING HATE BUT NOT GUNS.”
The Times’ title change became a huge story, as it should have.
Baquet opened the meeting with a discussion of the “significant missteps” they had made in handling the “crisis.” But, he told employees, “there’s something larger at play here and that was their coverage of Trump.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller had given his disastrous testimony several weeks earlier which pretty much ended the Trump/Russia collusion story they had spent years covering. “We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” Baquet said. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.”
The story that would dominate the news over the next two years, he said, would be race.
Race in the next year and I think, to be frank, what I hope you come away from this discussion with – race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration.
Baquet offered his “vision” of what this meant for them.
I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.
So Baquet had two goals. The first was to paint President Trump as a racist. The second goal was to reshape American history putting slavery at the center of the story. This was the introduction of Nikole Hannah-Jones’ 1619 project, for which she has subsequently won a Pulitzer Prize.
The Washington Examiner’s Byron York wrote that The Times hopes to “reframe America’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.”
“The basic thrust of the 1619 project is that everything in American history is explained by slavery and race.”
The essays go on to cover the economy (“If you want to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.”), the food we eat (“The sugar that saturates the American diet has a barbaric history as the ‘white gold’ that fueled slavery.”), the nation’s physical health (“Why doesn’t the United States have universal healthcare? The answer begins with policies enacted after the Civil War.”), politics (“America holds onto an undemocratic assumption from its founding: that some people deserve more power than others.”), daily life (“What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot.”), and much more.
Newt Gingrich appeared on “Fox and Friends” to weigh in on this travesty. He told viewers:
The whole project is a lie. Look, I think slavery is a terrible thing. I think putting slavery in context is important. We still have slavery in places around the world today, so we need to recognize this is an ongoing story. I think certainly if you’re an African-American, slavery is at the center of what you see as the American experience. But for most Americans, most of the time, there were a lot of other things going on. There were several hundred thousand white Americans who died in the Civil War in order to free the slaves.
I saw one reference that the New York Times claims that the American Revolution was caused, in part, to defend slavery. That is such historically, factually false nonsense that it is embarrassing the New York Times is doing this.
But, if you saw the recent leaked interview town hall meeting with the New York Times editor, he basically said, look, “We blew it on Russian collusion, now we’re going to go to racism, that’s our new model, the next two years will be Trump and racism.” This is a tragic decline of the New York Times into a propaganda paper worthy of Pravda.
Baquet, in his wildest dreams, couldn’t have envisioned how perfectly his vision would be executed. This is an illustration of the enormous power the major media outlets wield over us. They not only influence events, they shape events.
Just as they perpetuated the Russian collusion hoax, they’ve methodically worked to create the systemic racism hoax.
Of course, the death of George Floyd handed them an extraordinary opportunity which they seized upon and ran with. Additionally, they worked in tandem with the like-minded leaders of Big Tech and the Democratic Party.
Their efforts have inflicted deep wounds upon our once great country.
Liberals writers and politicians will continue to rail against the systemic racism inherent in America.
But it’s not really about race. It’s about power.
Full transcript of Dean Baquet’s staff meeting: (Via Slate)
Dean Baquet: If we’re really going to be a transparent newsroom that debates these issues among ourselves and not on Twitter, I figured I should talk to the whole newsroom, and hear from the whole newsroom. We had a couple of significant missteps, and I know you’re concerned about them, and I am, too. But there’s something larger at play here. This is a really hard story, newsrooms haven’t confronted one like this since the 1960s. It got trickier after [inaudible] … went from being a story about whether the Trump campaign had colluded with Russia and obstruction of justice to being a more head-on story about the president’s character. We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well. Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story. I’d love your help with that. As Audra Burch said when I talked to her this weekend, this one is a story about what it means to be an American in 2019. It is a story that requires deep investigation into people who peddle hatred, but it is also a story that requires imaginative use of all our muscles to write about race and class in a deeper way than we have in years. In the coming weeks, we’ll be assigning some new people to politics who can offer different ways of looking at the world. We’ll also ask reporters to write more deeply about the country, race, and other divisions. I really want your help in navigating this story.
But I also want to [inaudible] this as a forum to say something about who we are and what we stand for. We are an independent news organization, one of the few remaining. And that means there will be stories and journalism of all kinds that will upset our readers and even some of you. I’m not talking about true errors. In those cases, we should listen, own up to them, admit them, show some humility—but not wallow in them—and move on. What I’m saying is that our readers and some of our staff cheer us when we take on Donald Trump, but they jeer at us when we take on Joe Biden. They sometimes want us to pretend that he was not elected president, but he was elected president. And our job is to figure out why, and how, and to hold the administration to account. If you’re independent, that’s what you do. The same newspaper that this week will publish the 1619 Project, the most ambitious examination of the legacy of slavery ever undertaken in [inaudible] newspaper, to try to understand the forces that led to the election of Donald Trump. And that means trying to understand the segment of America that probably does not read us. The same newspaper that can publish a major story on Fox News, and how some of its commentators purvey anti-immigrant conspiracies, also has to talk to people who think immigration may cost them jobs and who oppose abortion on religious grounds. Being independent also means not editing the New York Times for Twitter, which can be unforgiving and toxic. And actually, as Amanda Cox reminds me, doesn’t really represent the left or the right. [inaudible] who care deeply about the Times and who want us to do better, we should listen to those people. But it is also filled with people who flat out don’t like us or who, as Jack Shafer put it, want us to be something we are not going to be.
By the way, let’s catch our breath before tweeting stupid stuff or stuff that hurts the paper—or treats our own colleagues in a way that we would never treat them in person. It is painful to me personally, and it destabilizes the newsroom when our own staff tweets things they could never write in our own pages or when we attack each other on Twitter. But let me end where I began: This is hard stuff. We’re covering a president who lies and says outlandish things. It should summon all of our resources and call upon all of our efforts to build a newsroom where diversity and open discussion is valued. We will make mistakes, and we will talk about them openly. We’ll do things that cause us to disagree with each other, but hopefully we’ll talk about them openly and wrestle with them. I want your help figuring out how to cover this world. I want the input—I need it. So now I’m going to open the floor to questions.
Staffer: Could you explain your decision not to more regularly use the word racist in reference to the president’s actions?
Baquet: Yeah, I’m actually almost practiced at this one now. Look, my own view is that the best way to capture a remark, like the kinds of remarks the president makes, is to use them, to lay it out in perspective. That is much more powerful than the use of a word.
The weekend when some news organizations used the word racist, and I chose not to, we ran what I think is the most powerful story anybody ran that weekend. [inaudible] [chief White House correspondent] Peter Baker, who stepped back and took Trump’s remarks, looked at his whole history of using remarks like that, and I think it was more powerful than any one word. My own view? You quote the remarks. I’m not saying we would never use the word racist. I’m talking about that weekend. You quote the remarks. The most powerful journalism I have ever read, and that I’ve ever witnessed, was when writers actually just described what they heard and put them in some perspective. I just think that’s more powerful.
Staffer: But what is [inaudible] the use of a very clear word most people [inaudible]?
Baquet: I think that that word it loses its power by the second or third time. I do. I think that these words—can I talk about the use of the word lie for one second?
Staffer: As long as you come back to my original question.
Baquet: I will, I will. I’m not running away from you, you know me.
I used the word lie once during the presidential campaign, used it a couple times after that. And it was pretty clear it was a lie, and we were the first ones to use it. But I fear that if we used it 20 times, 10 times, first, it would lose its power. And secondly, I thought we would find ourselves in the uncomfortable position of deciding which comment by which politician fit the word lie. I feel the same way about the word racist.
I think that a bizarre sort of litmus test has been created: If you don’t use the word racist, you’re not quite capturing what the president said. I’m going to argue that, first off, if you go back and look at what Peter Baker wrote that weekend, it was more powerful than the news organizations that just tossed the word out lightly as the first thing. Secondly, I’m going to ask you to go back and read the most powerful journalism of the civil rights movement. The most powerful journalism of the civil rights movement—for instance Joe Lelyveld’s portrait of Philadelphia, Mississippi, after the murders of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman—were vivid descriptions of what people in Philadelphia, Mississippi, said and how they behaved. The lead of the story described an old white man sitting on his front porch, saying that the town wasn’t racist, saying that everybody lived peacefully in the town. And as he was saying that, a much older black man walked by, and the guy called him “boy.” That is 20 times more powerful, by my lights, than to use the word racist. If the lead of that story had been “Philadelphia, Mississippi, is a racist town,” it would have been true, but it wouldn’t have been as powerful. I don’t expect everybody to agree with me. In fact, some of the people who were in the discussion that weekend don’t agree with me, but that’s how I feel, strongly.
Staffer: Hi. Thank you so much for doing this. I guess I have a two-part question. The first part is: Would it be fair to say that, if [contributing op-ed writer] Roxane Gay hadn’t tweeted out what she tweeted out, that we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now? And if that is true—or, regardless of whether it’s true—I think that something that some people have been wondering is: Do you feel that there is a person in a high position of power who can be as explicitly self-critical of this organization as Roxane Gay has, and is in a position to be, because she’s on the outside? Do you think that we would benefit from that?
Baquet: I know what you’re getting at—this is a roundabout public editor question, right?
Staffer: No, it’s not. It’s just true. I mean, I don’t know if Roxane hadn’t shared those tweets or those emails, whether we’d be having this conversation.
Baquet: Well, all I can say is, long before that happened I was out in the world meeting with groups of people, having one on one discussions with people. Meeting with, like, large groups of people who wanted to talk about using the words. I gave three interviews in one day. I mean, it’s possible, but I guess I think that—maybe I’m kidding myself, and tell me if I am—I guess I think that we have been having self-critical discussions before that. Do you all think we haven’t had enough of them? Let me turn it to you all, to the room.
Staffer: I mean, it doesn’t seem like there’s that much comfort with having certain kinds of discussions. And I think understanding that certain people’s jobs weren’t at risk, and that it was explicitly their job to be critical, is something that some people might relish or appreciate.
Baquet: Well, let me say something I would relish and appreciate. I would relish and appreciate anybody who wants to come to my office. And some of you have—a lot of people have—to tell me when there are things you don’t like about the New York Times. I get the question about having an outside critic, and it’s an interesting one. But to be frank, the best thing we can do is have a newsroom where, if you don’t like something the newsroom is doing, you can come to me and talk about it. I hope some people feel that way. Some people don’t, but I think that’s more important. And I promise you, if anybody wants to come talk to me or members of the masthead about anything involving coverage—and I’ve had 20 conversations in the last two weeks with people who disagree with me about coverage, or disagree with me about using the word racist, who disagree with me about a lot of stuff—we only get through this if we get to the point where we can have those kind of conversations.
Staffer: Hi. You mentioned that there could be situations when we would use the word racist. What is that standard?
Baquet: You know, we actually should have a written standard. I wasn’t expecting two weeks ago—and [associate managing editor for standards] Phil [Corbett] is working with me and the masthead to come up with it. I can think of examples, like, you know, the governor—was it the governor of Virginia with the costume? I mean, it’s hard for me to answer, but yes, I do think there are instances when we would use it. It’s hard for me to articulate an example of it.
A.G. Sulzberger: So I’m no longer in the newsroom, but Dean tends to bring me in on some of these conversations. And I think it’s useful sometimes to show the journey a little bit of how we reach these decisions. Because otherwise it can feel a little bit like this is a single case in which we’re deciding whether something is or is not racist. The conversation that I heard was really a conversation about labels and about whether we’re going to use labels as shorthand for something that we can convey through words and actions and with greater color and detail. And the moment that, for me, really hammered home the risk of some of these labels was actually when someone passed along to me a headline that we had run six months before the “Trump Makes Comments Condemned as Racist” headline. And the headline we had used six months before was, “Omar Makes Comments Condemned as Anti-Semitic.” And the amount of pushback that that I and others received in that moment from leaders in the Jewish community was really considerable. People wanted us to call this phrase, “It’s all about the Benjamins, baby,” an anti-Semitic phrase. They pointed out that this is actually an historically anti-Semitic trope. Though that it was an anti-Semitic trope was actually referred to in the body of the story, which I pointed out.
But we’re really cautious with labels, because labels tend to slip. They tend to stick to each other. And I think that the conversation I heard Dean and other members of the leadership have was about whether or not those types of shortcuts actually end up doing the exact thing that we don’t want, which is keep people from reading, would keep people from actually understanding, by giving folks who are inclined to be skeptical that that label is fairly applied—whether it’s anti-Semitic or racist or anything else—to keep those people from having an easy out not to look at what actually just occurred, and what happened, and what the implications are, and what the effects are on the community. And I think this is a really tricky moment right now. You know, someone did a study of Twitter shares that showed that 70 percent of all stories shared on Twitter were never opened. And to me, that’s just a reminder that so much of the world is judging before they’re actually engaging. And I don’t think any of us would defend the headline from last week. Not only would you not defend it, we changed it. But I do think that if you take a step further back, and you look at the entire front page, or the entire body of coverage, I actually think that you saw in unmistakable clarity all the themes that we rightfully should be addressing. I just wanted to say that.
Staffer: I wanted to ask about the Atlantic interview from last week, where you were talking about how the headline happened, and you said that the copy editors had written [inaudible] I believe that was a slip of the tongue. I do. But I think it raises important issues, because the copy desk was in fact [inaudible] frequently flagged things like this. It was the place that wrote a lot of headlines. I can recall, personally, numerous times on the copy desk when I and my fellow copy editors flagged and got changed problematic headlines or phrasings before they went into print. And I’m just wondering if there has been any discussion of the extent to which streamlined editing system increases the risk of errors like this.
Baquet: I don’t think this one was the streamlined editing system. I mean we are having conversations about the streamlined editing system and whether some desks need more help, but I don’t think that’s what happened here.
Staffer: I’m not talking specifically about, you know, was this headline attributable to it. I’m talking about, in general, there are fewer eyes on stories and the copy editors would normally have been—
Baquet: I know. I honestly don’t think there are fewer eyes on that kind of story. There were a lot of eyes on that particular story. The eyes didn’t come in all at the right time. I know. I get what you’re saying. I don’t think this was a copy desk issue. I really don’t.
Staffer: To come back to the discussion of the word racist for a second, I’m sensitive to how charged a word it is. I’m sensitive to not using labels. But I was struck a couple of years ago. I went to Little Rock for the 60th anniversary of Central High School. And I went back and I reread Homer Bigart’s story, you know, the day it happened, and it was a triple banner headline across the front page. And Homer Bigart, who was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, his lead was, “An impressive array of federal force cowed racist agitators outside Central High School.” And I was thinking, wow, that’s blunt, it’s powerful, it’s simple, it’s direct. And I was thinking, I wonder if that would ever be the way we would do it today.
Baquet: Oh, sure. The scene he described is—I mean, I’ve actually read this, I’ve gone back and looked at those stories. I don’t think anybody would avoid using the “racist” in a scene like that. It was only Charlottesville times 100, in a historic moment. I think that headline would appear in the New York Times. And I can say, because—.
Staffer: The flipside that I worked out—
Baquet: But I think you’d also… In a weird way, I would argue that proves my point. That was such a powerful moment in American history. It still resonates in American history. It was such a powerful scene of the American South at that moment, that in that instance, to have not used the word would have been weak. And I think, to me, I would argue that that proves my point.
Staffer: But the part that got me a little bit worried about is, if you compare it to how we would cover Charlottesville, which is different, sometimes we use these other words that sound like euphemisms or like—
Staffer: —you know, “white nationalists who are racially tinged” or we use things that seem to normalize and clean up and sanitize an ugly reality.
Baquet: Yeah, I hate racially tinged, racially charged, too. I think those are worse. If you’re going to do what I said, if you’re gonna put your money where your mouth is and actually just describe it, you shouldn’t use sort of half-assed words like racially charged or racially tinged either. You should either say it when the moment comes or you should describe the scene. I agree with that.
Staffer: Hello, I have another question about racism. I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know? Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country. And I think particularly as we are launching a 1619 Project, I feel like that’s going to open us up to even more criticism from people who are like, “OK, well you’re saying this, and you’re producing this big project about this. But are you guys actually considering this in your daily reporting?”
Baquet: You know, it’s interesting, the argument you just made, to go back to the use of the word racist. I didn’t agree with all of this from Keith Woods, who I know from New Orleans and who’s the ombudsman for NPR. He wrote a piece about why he wouldn’t have used the word racist, and his argument, which is pretty provocative, boils down to this: Pretty much everything is racist. His view is that a huge percentage of American conversation is racist, so why isolate this one comment from Donald Trump? His argument is that he could cite things that people say in their everyday lives that we don’t characterize that way, which is always interesting. You know, I don’t know how to answer that, other than I do think that that race has always played a huge part in the American story.
And I do think that race and understanding of race should be a part of how we cover the American story. Sometimes news organizations sort of forget that in the moment. But of course it should be. I mean, one reason we all signed off on the 1619 Project and made it so ambitious and expansive was to teach our readers to think a little bit more like that. Race in the next year—and I think this is, to be frank, what I would hope you come away from this discussion with—race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story. And I mean, race in terms of not only African Americans and their relationship with Donald Trump, but Latinos and immigration. And I think that one of the things I would love to come out of this with is for people to feel very comfortable coming to me and saying, here’s how I would like you to consider telling that story. Because the reason you have a diverse newsroom, to be frank, is so that you can have people pull together to try to tell that story. I think that’s the closest answer I can come.
Staffer: Yeah, I want to follow up and disentangle a couple of things that I’ve often seen conflated in these meetings. You have questions like “should we call Donald Trump a racist” and these broader discussions of our coverage getting flattened with the reason that I think we’re here today, which is really narrowly the question of how we present the work that we do and the headlines that end up on our work. Because this is sort of the thing that a lot of us who are, in some capacity, public representatives of the Times feel ourselves called to answer for. Because there are these patterns of getting headlines wrong in a very specific way that recur repeatedly and in a way that makes me think that it’s a process issue. And to me, the question of whether you put a phrase like “racial fires” in a headline is not actually about whether we think it’s OK to call Donald Trump racist. It’s whether we think it’s OK to use euphemisms instead of direct, clear speech in a headline. Which I think is a question you would ask of any administration.
And the issue with last week’s headline was not really about Trump per se. It was really more broadly about what kind of credulousness we want to reflect in terms of an administration—any administration. Or about other cases where we’re sort of shying away from the real content of the story to put a milder spin on it in the headline, which is sometimes actively misleading. And the process by which these headlines end up on stories is often kind of opaque, and it’s not always clear whether we’re taking on board the criticism that I think is very valid of a lot of these headlines. It is a real storyline about the Times out there now, that we are kind of repeatedly making mistakes that other people aren’t making so much. And it is something that’s kind of baffling to me from where I sit, and I guess I’m curious what is our process? How are we thinking about it? Do we perceive ourselves making the same errors repeatedly, or do we see these as sort of isolated episodes?
Baquet: I’m going to be really honest. I actually don’t think we make a whole lot more mistakes. I think I’ve made clear I’m going to own up to my mistakes. I don’t think we make a whole lot more mistakes than the Washington Post or anywhere else. After the headline issue came up, I think I heard from 10 executive editors, pretty much every major news organization. My favorite one was from somebody—I guess I shouldn’t use their names—was somebody who said, “I wish people cared about my headlines as much as they care about yours.”
Look, we are scrutinized. I ran another newspaper. I’ve never seen anything like this. We are scrutinized more than any other news organization in the country, in the world probably. To be frank, some of that comes with being the biggest and, I would argue, the best. And as hard as it is to do this, I think we have to accept it. We have to accept that maybe what goes along with being the New York Times is that we get scrutinized more. Maybe we should even say we deserve it more. You know? That’s the position I’m going to take. I mean, it’s almost funny when I read all of the attacks on the New York Times for not having a public editor. Nobody has a public editor! We’re not the only ones that made the decision to not have a public editor.
My main point is, yeah, we do get beat up more. And I think we just have to own up to [inaudible] in the process. Should I, do you want me to walk through what happened in this headline again, or is that—
Staffer: I would like to know. I mean I think in this specific case that’s now been made public. But in general, kind of, how does this happen?
Baquet: I mean, I think that if I had to (and I will) engage in a little bit of self-criticism, I made a decision. So we’re talking about print headlines here for a second. I made a decision that I still think was the right decision for the New York Times. We’re not just a print newspaper anymore. We have a television show. We have a podcast. We have a daily website that reaches tens of millions people. I thought that the days when the executive editor sat and sort of picked the stories, fly spec-ed the headlines … I just thought that that was sending the wrong signal to the room. What does that say to our video team if executive editor only cares about the print front page? I also, by the way, assembled a remarkable group of people who worry over the print front page. I’m going to also say that nobody puts out a print front page like the New York Times. Don’t let getting whacked the last couple of weeks make you forget that. But I think I should probably spend a little more time thinking about it. You know, again, I’ve said half of the big decisions I’ve had to make as executive editor I’ve made in my bathrobe at home.
You know, I didn’t look closely enough at it. I should make sure that the front page of the New York Times, which is still our glory, gets more scrutiny than it does, and we should all look at it. In this case, I’ve said it before, I think the layout boxed in the print hub in a way that probably made it impossible to put a great headline on it. But I think I should probably spend a little more stewing on the front page. Does that answer your question?
Staffer: Kind of. I mean, I think—
Baquet: Push! Push, man. They’ve never been shy.
Staffer: I do think, I mean, I guess I see it as not a matter of like getting beat up over the past couple weeks. I feel like there’s a sort of weariness with the share of the criticism directed towards us that is about the headlines that detracts from the discussion that we’d like to be having about the actual [inaudible].
Baquet: I agree, but I’m going to say one thing. And then [associate managing editor and Metro editor] Cliff [Levy] wants to say something. We let it distract us, if you don’t mind my saying. You know, there’s a little bit of … there are HR people in the room? There’s a little bit of a wallowing gene in the New York Times. Look, I don’t think any executive editor has owned up to more mistakes than I have. I don’t know if that means I’ve made more mistakes. Maybe it does. Or if it means I just believe in transparently owning up to your mistakes. But the last few months of the New York Times, we have produced some remarkable reports. Before I came in here, somebody from the national desk sent me a note pointing out just how amazing our coverage of El Paso was and how much it happened to have been driven by Latino reporters who felt powerfully about that story and wanted to surface it. We’ve got to move away from the position where we want to just beat ourselves up and not think about that stuff a little bit, too.
Cliff wanted to say something.
Cliff Levy: I just want to kind of delicately push back a little bit on this question of headlines. Headlines are very, very hard, as you well know. I spent a lot of time thinking about headlines. My colleagues on Metro might tell you that I’m kind of obsessed with them in an unhealthy way. A lot of the pushback that we often receive about headlines, particularly on social media is from people who have never written a headline, don’t have an understanding of how hard it is, the burdens on a headline. Particularly the burdens on a headline in print space where you are really limited. But the burden’s in digital, as well. We are limited by length and SEO and all these other factors. People who criticize our headlines—particularly people who are not in this newsroom—you’ll say to them, “Well, what would you want this headline to be?” And they repeat back something to you that’s like 15 lines or 15 words. You know, people want headlines that blitz out any nuance. They want headlines that say, “Donald Trump Is a Racist,” or “Donald Trump Is a Liar” or things that really take out all the texture and fabric of the article itself. And I will just say, you know, they’re extremely hard to do well, and I think in general we do them extremely well. And I think Phil would probably want to add something to that.
Philip Corbett: I did want to push back just a little bit more. Sorry, we’re all pushing back on you. This might not be a widely held view, but I would dispute the idea that when we have made mistakes about headlines in the last months or couple of years that they have always been in the same direction, which I think is how you put it. In other words, that the mistakes you’re seeing are when we’re going, shall we say, too easy on Donald Trump. There certainly have been headlines where I feel like that has been a failing. But I will say, honestly, there have been headlines that many of us have been concerned about or asked to have changed or have had discussion about where I felt the problem was the opposite. Where we were showing what could be read as bias against Trump, and were perhaps going too far in the opposite direction. So this goes to Cliff’s point that headlines are hard to write anyway, and we’re going to get them wrong sometimes. But I would not accept the criticism that the ones we get wrong necessarily show that we’re bending over backwards in one direction, because I’ve definitely seen headlines that I’ve been uncomfortable with that have fallen too far on both sides of the line.
Staffer: So I share the concerns about how coverage can be done aggressively, but not from a default point of view, which can feed into outcomes that repeatedly read to a number of people across the newsroom—and then outside as well—being too cautious or winding up in a zone that fails to accurately represent the situation to the readers. Which is, of course, the mission that we all do believe in. And I have had conversations and exchanges with a number of colleagues in different roles, from different backgrounds across the newsroom in the past week. And one of the things that I’ve brought up—and I know, Dean, you and I have talked about this a bit, too, is that some people, despite your welcoming stance as far as bringing feedback to you, are hesitant to speak up. Or don’t necessarily feel like they can do that safely, or have the standing to do that. Or some may not even have the access to do that. I wondered if it would be OK for me to share some of the feedback that I got that people asked for to be anonymous, but that I thought was thoughtful and could be useful.
Staffer: OK, so here’s just a selection that I thought was thoughtful.
“Saying something like divisive or racially charged is so euphemistic. Our stylebook would never allow it in other circumstances. I am concerned that the Times is failing to rise to the challenge of a historical moment. What I have heard from top leadership is a conservative approach that I don’t think honors the Times’ powerful history of adversarial journalism. I think that the NYT’s leadership, perhaps in an effort to preserve the institution of the Times, is allowing itself to be boxed in and hamstrung. This obviously applies to the race coverage. The headline represented utter denial, unawareness of what we can all observe with our eyes and ears. It was pure face value. I think this actually ends up doing the opposite of what the leadership claims it does. A headline like that simply amplifies without critique the desired narrative of the most powerful figure in the country. If the Times’ mission is now to take at face value and simply repeat the claims of the powerful, that’s news to me. I’m not sure the Times’ leadership appreciates the damage it does to our reputation and standing when we fail to call things like they are.”
And then this is a question that is more specifically about the process that you are also addressing: “Why are we passing off the biggest, most important part of the stories that we know very well”—this is from a writer—“that we know very well to this strangely anonymized print hub I am often completely unaware of who is even writing the headlines for my stories. Why can’t I or one of the editors who actually worked on the story just write it?”
Staffer: You know, I hurt the print hub in this case because I didn’t think sufficiently about. … We had created a front page, because we had two big stories, one of which had a two-column headline. One had a single line, four-column headline. It was designed with the print hub, but I don’t think I sat and thought about, what can you really say in four words. Right? Now, I do not scrutinize the print hub headlines before it goes to press. I happen to think that many of the people on the print hub are some of our best editors and are extremely talented. The second I saw that headline—I always get the front page that night—I kind of put my head in the hands. And I called in before I knew there was a Twitter storm and said, you know, this is off. We’ve really got to fix this. But I think in some ways, you know, those of us involved that day did a disservice to our colleagues, because it was a very hard thing to write. They were writing it on deadline. And because the headline had seemed fine on the web all day, it didn’t occur to me it would be problematic. But on the web they had a very large banner, and I think one of the things we’ve learned is that, if we’re going to do something that’s a banner, more of us should be involved. But I think I should’ve thought more about, if you have just four words, what can you write? I had been envisioning something like “A Day of Reckoning.”
Staffer: Hi, I actually wanted to raise a different issue, not to stop the discussion about language. About the push for social media and audience engagement, it’s very clear that the direction of the paper and of management is to incentivize and reward more engagement on social media. But then you have the things that get the most traffic on social media or something like people’s Twitter accounts, where it might push them to write inflammatory or stupid or ill-thought-out things. So we’re kind of incentivizing people to get eyes, but that also incentivizes people to say stupid things on social media.
Baquet: You know, other people can jump in here, I’m sort of unconvinced that the tweets that have made me uncomfortable happened because people wanted to get eyes. I mean, I don’t think the tweet that sparked part of this discussion, from an editor in the Washington bureau, was because he wanted to get eyes. I think he just. … We somehow have convinced ourselves that Twitter is not the real world, and that you can say things on Twitter that you wouldn’t be able to say in a newspaper story. And we need to just convince ourselves that that is not true. I mean, others should jump in, but I’m not sure that the tweets that have made me uncomfortable are tweets that were just done to attract attention. But others?
Staffer: I’m wondering what is the overall strategy here for getting us through this administration and the way we cover it. Because I think one of the reasons people have such a problem with a headline like this—or some things that the New York Times reports on—is because they care so much. And they depend on the New York Times. They are depending on us to keep kicking down the doors and getting through, because they need that right now. It’s a very scary time. And when something like this happens, or we have opinion columnists—because people really can’t tell the difference between op-eds and news anymore—but when we have people who post and tweet incendiary things, like Bret Stephens, people don’t understand. I think they get confused as to what we’re trying to do.
Staffer: And I’m just wondering, how can we tighten that up?
Baquet: Are you talking about coverage, or are you talking about social media?
Staffer: I’m talking about all of it.
Baquet: OK. I mean, let me go back a little bit for one second to just repeat what I said in my in my short preamble about coverage. Chapter 1 of the story of Donald Trump, not only for our newsroom but, frankly, for our readers, was: Did Donald Trump have untoward relationships with the Russians, and was there obstruction of justice? That was a really hard story, by the way, let’s not forget that. We set ourselves up to cover that story. I’m going to say it. We won two Pulitzer Prizes covering that story. And I think we covered that story better than anybody else.
The day Bob Mueller walked off that witness stand, two things happened. Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, “Holy shit, Bob Mueller is not going to do it.” And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago. We’re a little tiny bit flat-footed. I mean, that’s what happens when a story looks a certain way for two years. Right?
I think that we’ve got to change. I mean, the vision for coverage for the next two years is what I talked about earlier: How do we cover a guy who makes these kinds of remarks? How do we cover the world’s reaction to him? How do we do that while continuing to cover his policies? How do we cover America, that’s become so divided by Donald Trump? How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about? How do we write about race in a thoughtful way, something we haven’t done in a large way in a long time? That, to me, is the vision for coverage. You all are going to have to help us shape that vision. But I think that’s what we’re going to have to do for the rest of the next two years.
This is no longer a story where the Washington bureau every week nails some giant story by [Washington correspondent] Mike Schmidt that says that Donald Trump or Don McGahn did this. That will remain part of the story, but this is a different story now. This is a story that’s going to call on different muscles for us. The next few weeks, we’re gonna have to figure out what those muscles are.
In terms of how to keep people from having these discussions on social media, I’m not 100 percent sure. I think we should tighten the rules a little, which always upsets people a little bit. I mean, there were tweets that people at the New York Times retweeted or liked last week that were really painful for this newsroom and for me personally. So I’m gonna keep saying that, and maybe we should talk about the rules, too.
Staffer: It appears to be that the public narrative around the headline is different from the internal narrative that I’ve been hearing. So for example, I know that the copy desk thing was a slip. But I have also heard that someone actually raised concerns about the headline and was overruled. So, I’m just trying to reconcile what I’m hearing from my co-workers internally and what I’m hearing from my other co-workers in the public.
Baquet: I reached out to the person who raised questions about the coverage that day, who works on the print hub, and it’s a little more complicated than that. She was leaving town, and I was leaving town. She thought it was a bad headline, but mainly she thought that particular story shouldn’t led the paper. Her complaint was different than the narrative that has developed, which is that one person on the print hub threw their body in front of the headline. In my exchanges with her, that wasn’t the case. She thought that that story should not have led the paper. And she thought the headline was bad, but mainly she thought the whole package, the whole architecture—but mainly the story—is what was wrong. And I told her frankly, in my exchange with her, which was good and helpful, I said look I disagree with you on this one. I’m happy to sit down and talk to you in person. I thought that was the right lead of the paper. I would not have minded, by the way, if she’d wandered into my office, knocked on the door, which I told her and which I will keep telling her when I talk to her in person. If she had come in and said, I think you picked the wrong lead of the paper, that’s a little bit of a different narrative from the headline narratives. That make sense?
Staffer: Hi. I just kind of wanted to return to the internal debate before the headline went to print. Do you think there was a breakdown there other than space pressure or time pressure? And if so, I wonder what you think that that breakdown was?
Baquet: Again, I had this exchange with an editor as she was going away and I was going away. I’m not sure that was a breakdown. I think the breakdown was that we drew a page that was really, really, really hard to put a thoughtful headline on. This was a really complicated story. It was not a story that said, Trump said X. In fact, what was wrong with the story is that the “Trump said X” headline wasn’t enough to capture the hypocrisy and all the kind of nuance we’re talking about. So I think we built a page on deadline that made it really hard to put a headline on it. So we set it up for a bad headline, and the people who were in a position to judge it quickly and change it, like me, did not look at it until too late. So I guess this is a system breakdown. We didn’t have a system in place where the people who would recognize it and then change it—And maybe, by the way, the right change—if you want me to tell you—the perfect scenario for this headline would have been like this: The print hub—I’m not blaming the print hub, I’m blaming me, because I set up this system—the print hub comes in and says, “We tried, we cannot put a headline on that story with this layout. You need to redraw the page.” We would have redrawn the page in a way that allowed us to put a more nuanced headline on it. That would have been, in retrospect, the ideal situation.
Staffer: But the editors were looking at it, do you have the impression that they felt that that was necessary, or there was a recognition that there was a problem?
Baquet: I should ask [associate masthead editor] Tom [Jolly] and others on the print hub. I mean, there was a recognition among the masthead when it got sent around. As soon as the mockup of the front page got passed around, I looked at it. Matt looked at it. Everybody looked at and said, “Oh shit.” The first edition had already closed, so that was a system breakdown. Does that answer it? I’m trying to walk you through the process a little bit. Go ahead.
Staffer: It just seems like the people who could have recognized that, perhaps, did not or were not on the team to look at the first edition.
Baquet: Tom, do you have a thought about that? Tom runs the print hub.
Tom Jolly: Well, I think, a) the problem was that the editor felt like that difficult headline had to tie directly into the lead story. If we had made it a broader headline that addressed the package of four different stories, “the day of reckoning” or something along those lines, it would have solved it. In terms of a system problem, print hub had a meeting Thursday, and one of the things that we’ve realized is, we need to be looking at the front page. First of all, we need to be talking to the editors who are going to be writing the headlines that come in in late afternoon. They’re not a part of the discussion during the day. We need to talk to them, give them a sense of what the storyline is. And then we need to review the page before it comes out. One of the problems here was that the page was already published, and that page goes to half of our print readers. So at that point, there was no bringing it back. Right? So yes we’ve addressed system issues that we’ve identified, and I’ve also talked with the editor from the stories going around. And she doesn’t feel that she was rebuffed. Obviously, we would never want that to happen. And I think as Dean explained that was a little bit of a bigger issue. But I think the biggest thing is discussing the storyline at a time in the late afternoon or early evening when the editors who are just coming in have an opportunity to think it out one more time.
Baquet: Can I say something in support of the print hub? Because just for the record, I’m not sure I love this narrative of these sort of anonymous editors you know sitting on another floor fucking up the New York Times. The print hub builds the front page of the New York Times every day. Pick up today’s front page. It is it is a thing of beauty. They do it every day. They’re not some anonymous nobodies. They’re fine journalists, assembled from across the newsroom, assembled from other news organizations. The original sin, I can say since I’m a Catholic and a former altar boy, the original sin was ours. Was setting up a front page that was really, really difficult to build a headline around. But don’t, do not… Go visit the print hub. I mean these are journalists just like us. I talked to the editor who wrote the headline. He’s sick, you know. I mean he feels terrible. He feels more terrible than he should, to be frank. But it feels terrible, and I don’t want to walk away from this with all of us thinking that they’re a group of fumble fingers on another floor of the New York Times secretly fucking up the New York Times. They’re not.
Staffer: When it came to actually changing that headline, how much influence did the reader input have? I mean, OK, all you guys didn’t like it. You were unhappy. But was a change in the works, or was it the response?
Baquet: We were all—it was a fucking mess—we were all over the headline. Me. Matt. The print hub. Probably [assistant managing editor] Alison [Mitchell]. We were all over it, and then in the middle of it, [deputy managing editor] Rebecca Blumenstein sent an email—but we were already messing with it —saying, “You should know, there’s a social media firestorm over the headline.” My reaction [inaudible] was not polite. My reaction was to essentially say, “Fuck ’em, we’re already working on it.” And we were working on it, on deadline. We had already lost half of the papers, and it was too late to redraw the whole page. We would’ve lost the whole thing.
Baquet: Can I just say one thing? This is a hard story. This is larger than the headline. This is larger than the other stuff. This is a really hard story. This is a story that’s going to call on like all of our muscles, all of our resources, all of our creativity, all of our empathy. Including all of our empathy for each other. It’s going to call on us to be maybe a little less harsh with each other, because we’re gonna make other mistakes. It’s going to call on us to listen to each other more, including me listening to you all more. If you ask me how we end up getting through this with the best coverage, it’s by having honest conversations. It’s by inviting people into the Trump story who ordinarily might not have played on stories like this and making sure they get to participate in the coverage. But I hope this is a start, and I hope people take me at my word when I say you may come into me and tell me something you don’t like. I may not agree with you. I will be direct, and I will say I don’t agree with you. But I promise you I will listen and I promise you that in the end all of this influences the coverage. So thank you. Thank you.