James O’Keefe’s latest undercover sting is aimed at the NY Times. It started last week with a video featuring Audience Strategy Editor Nicholas Dudich who is caught saying all sorts of things about his ability to favor or disfavor videos at the Times. Dudich also made some odd claims including that James Comey was his godfather, apparently in an attempt to impress the female undercover reporter working for O’Keefe. O’Keefe caught that lie in the clip.
Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet dismissed O’Keefe’s investigation saying Dudich was an entry-level employee who he had never even met. Baquet said he would deal with Dudich but added, “the greater sin wasn’t his, it was theirs.” He went on to say “[Dudich’s] sin was a sin of foolishness, and it violated our policies, their sin was greater. Their sin was a sin of lying and subterfuge and…they’re just awful.”
It’s a bit odd to hear the head of the nation’s most significant newspaper talk about an undercover video as a “sin.” As O’Keefe points out, the Times published an undercover video investigation into the alt-right just last month. Did Baquet consider that effort a sin of “lying and subterfuge”? His paper seems to have treated it as newsworthy.
Yesterday O’Keefe published a follow-up video suggesting Dudich had been fired, though when he tried to confirm that in an on the street interview with the paper’s deputy managing editor he got the silent treatment.
But the Dudich story isn’t the only one that has been released. Part 3 of this effort features a Senior Staff Editor named Desiree Shoe. To his credit, O’Keefe isn’t just going for a gotcha in this clip. Yes, this is another NY Times editor trashing Trump as an “oblivious idiot” and VP Pence as “f**king horrible,” but O’Keefe spends most of his time teasing out another thread here. He even agrees that Shoe’s points are “quite reasonable.”
Ultimately, the NY Times is a business. They have a mission to keep that business going by expanding their subscription base. Shoe says, “a business model, in this time, is built on what readers want.” She continues, “It’s not so much you have to give the readers what they want. You have to be respectful of reader’s desires, what interests readers.” She claims that doesn’t mean tailoring the news for them but clearly being aware that the readership is overwhelmingly left-leaning has an impact. The Times can’t have missed that subscriptions are up since President Trump was elected. And it’s not just the Times capitalizing on the desire for left-leaning content, a constant stream of stories about Russian collusion has been ratings gold for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow.
Here’s part 3 of the series. It suggests to me that the NY Times is exactly what you thought it was, a left-leaning media organization pretending not to be a left-leaning media organization and not doing a very convincing job of it.