Monday, February 8, 2021

Repugnant speech: the NYT and the "N word"

 NPR has the story:

Two Prominent 'New York Times' Journalists Depart Over Past Behavior  by David Folkenflik   February 6

"Two widely heralded journalists for The New York Times departed the paper Friday after unrelated episodes of their past behavior received sharp new scrutiny from other media outlets, readers and colleagues.

"Donald McNeil Jr., recognized as one of the nation's leading reporters on COVID-19, left after fallout from the disclosure in The Daily Beast that he had used a racial slur during a New York Times-sponsored trip for high school students. The revelation of his use of the N-word, which he said came in response to a student's query about the appropriateness of the word in a young friend's video, stirred a formal protest among more than 100 of his peers in the newsroom.


"In his parting letter to colleagues, McNeil said he had used a racial slur in a context that he had thought defensible at the time, but now realizes was not.

"I was asked at dinner by a student whether I thought a classmate of hers should have been suspended for a video she had made as a 12-year-old in which she used a racial slur. To understand what was in the video, I asked if she had called someone else the slur or whether she was rapping or quoting a book title. In asking the question, I used the slur itself.


"In a joint letter to the newsroom, Baquet and Kahn said, "We do not tolerate racist language regardless of intent." They pledged to better define and enforce guidelines on workplace behavior, including "red-line issues on racist language."

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