The town hall was spurred by angry reaction, both inside and outside the Times, to a headline that many on the Left faulted for being insufficiently anti-Trump. After the El Paso shootings, when the president denounced white supremacy, the Times published a page-one story with the heading, “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.”
“I think one of the reasons people have such a problem with a headline like this … is because they care so much,” one staffer said to Baquet. “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.”
Baquet vowed a transition to a new “vision” for the paper for the next two years. “How do we grapple with all the stuff you all are talking about?” he said to the staffer. “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.”
The headline controversy, it appears, was a preview of a new 2019-2020 New York Times.