Saturday, February 6, 2021

Donald McNeil Out at the New York Times

Actually, it's both Donald McNeil and Andy Mills (a podcaster of whom I've never heard). 

But McNeil was a superstar at the newspaper. Back in spring/summer 2020, my wife and I saw him appear on CNN a number of times. He's an arrogant bastard, but he did seem to know what he was talking about. But he made an extremely detrimental faux pas while leading a field trip of young people to Peru in 2019. As Andrew Sullivan noted on Twitter last night, regarding McNeil's resignation, "This reads like a confession procured by the Khmer Rouge. It’s both ridiculous and terrifying."

As I always tell my (extremely "woke") 25-year-old son, be careful of cancel culture, and avoid partaking in it, because it always come back to you, with not-so-excellent consequences. Or another way of putting it, "the revolution eats its own."

See, "Two Journalists Exit New York Times After Criticism of Past Behavior":

Two journalists responsible for some of The New York Times’s most high-profile work of the last three years have left the paper after their past behavior was criticized inside and outside the organization.

In two memos on Friday afternoon, Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor, and Joe Kahn, the managing editor, informed the staff of the departures of Donald G. McNeil Jr., a science correspondent who reported on the coronavirus pandemic, and Andy Mills, an audio journalist who helped create “The Daily” and was a producer and co-host of “Caliphate,” a 2018 podcast that was found to have serious flaws after an internal investigation.

Mr. McNeil, a veteran of The Times who has reported from 60 countries, was an expert guide on a Times-sponsored student trip to Peru in 2019. At least six students or their parents complained about comments he had made, The Daily Beast reported last week. The Times confirmed he used a “racist slur” on the trip.

In their memo, Mr. Baquet and Mr. Kahn wrote that Mr. McNeil “has done much good reporting over four decades” but added “that this is the right next step.”

The statement was a turnabout from last week, when Mr. Baquet sent a note to the staff defending his decision to give Mr. McNeil “another chance.”

“I authorized an investigation and concluded his remarks were offensive and that he showed extremely poor judgment,” Mr. Baquet wrote, “but that it did not appear to me that his intentions were hateful or malicious.”

Days after that note, a group of Times staff members sent a letter to the publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, that was critical of the paper’s stance on Mr. McNeil. “Despite The Times’s seeming commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said the letter, which was viewed by a Times reporter, “we have given a prominent platform — a critical beat covering a pandemic disproportionately affecting people of color — to someone who chose to use language that is offensive and unacceptable by any newsroom’s standards.”

Mr. Sulzberger, Mr. Baquet and Meredith Kopit Levien, the chief executive of The New York Times Company, replied to the group in a letter on Wednesday, saying: “We welcome this input. We appreciate the spirit in which it was offered and we largely agree with the message.”

In a statement to Times staff on Friday, Mr. McNeil wrote that he had used the slur in a discussion with a student about the suspension of a classmate who had used the term...

Still more at that top link.