New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet is clearly a whiz at social media. But let’s just hope The Grey Lady has no hard and fast rules when it comes to reporters using profanity on Facebook in the wake of criticism.
If so, the editor who has been known to punch walls when angry could find himself in hot water since he took to Facebook on Friday to call Marc Cooper, an associate professor at USC’s Anneberg School, an “asshole.” The prof criticized the NYT for not publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons that prompted this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
The news was first reported by Politico.
At the root of the professor’s critique is the NYT‘ decision to not run the anti-Muslim cartoons that angered the terrorists enough to murder 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.
Cooper questioned Baquet on Facebook: “Exactly how many people have to be shot in cold blood before your paper rules that you can show us what provoked the killers?”
Baquet’s exact response: “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.”
As the top editor likely knows, the publication’s social media rules are quite bland in nature. In 2012, NYT reporters were reminded of such rules when NYT freelancer Andrew Goldman took to Twitter to insult the Manhattan-based author Jennifer Weiner. Among the things he insinuated: That she would’ve enjoyed the opportunity to sleep her way to the top.
Goldman ultimately publicly apologized to Weiner and, at least temporarily, pulled himself off Twitter. He’s back on the medium today.
The NYT‘ social media rules from Philip Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, in a 2012 internal memo are as follows:
First, we should always treat Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms as public activities. Regardless of your privacy controls or the size of your follower list, anything you post online can easily be shared with a wider audience.
And second, you are a Times journalist, and your online behavior should be appropriate for a Times journalist. Readers will inevitably associate anything you post on social media with The Times.
Newsroom staff members should avoid editorializing or promoting political views. And we should be civil – even to critics – and avoid personal attacks and offensive remarks.
Civility applies whether an exchange takes place in person, by telephone, by letter or online.
So is “asshole” an offensive remark?
As far as the NYT decision to not run the cartoons, a reader writes The Mirror, “From the point of view of an ordinary American, what has Islamic culture given us? Death, over-policing & surveillance, debts, additional hatred by progressives and now, censorship…. plus falafel and Turkish coffee.”