As editor of the New York Times, Dean Baquet surely takes a lot of grief from a lot of people, but this one clearly struck a nerve. As noted by JimRomenesko.com, it began when a journalism professor at USC Annenberg blasted the newspaper's decision not to run cartoons about Islam by the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. The initial exchange on Facebook:
- Marc Cooper: "A question for NYTimes editor Dean Baquet. Exactly how many people have to be shot in cold blood before your paper rules that you can show us what provoked the killers? Apparently 23 shot including 11 dead is not enough. What absolute cowardice. These MSM managers act is if they are running insurance companies, not news organizations."
- Baquet: "'Dear Marc, appreciate the self righteous second guessing without even considering there might be another point of view. Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole"
When Politico reached out to him, Baquet was unapologetic: "Mr Cooper's comment was nasty and arrogant. So I told him what I thought." Interviewed by the Times' public editor, Baquet called the cartoon decision a wrenching one that consumed half his day. "I changed my mind twice," he said, but ultimately came down against it. “We have a standard that is long held and that serves us well: that there is a line between gratuitous insult and satire. Most of these are gratuitous insult.” Public editor Margaret Sullivan, who suggests that a "review and consideration" of the decision was in order, also takes notes of a tweet from free-press champion Glenn Greenwald, whose position might surprise some: “When did it become true that to defend someone’s free speech rights, one has to publish & even embrace their ideas?" he tweeted.