Dean Baquet Stirs the Facebook Pot

Outrageous? Or just a simple case of channeling Ben Bradlee?

dean baquetDoes it really matter what someone says on a first post-holiday-week Friday in the Facebook comments? If the accuser is a USC journalism professor and the angry respondent, ending the comment with “Asshole,” executive editor of the New York Times, apparently – yes.

Marc Cooper doesn’t like the stance Dean Baquet has taken with regards to publishing or not publishing contentious Charlie Hebdo cartoons. Baquet, in turn, does not appreciate the tone used by Cooper on Facebook to call him out. Here’s part of Erik Wemple‘s quick first pass:

In showing that the pressure of the week has gotten to him, Baquet is also contradicting a previous self-assessment. As Politico’s Dylan Byers reported, Baquet once drove his fist through a wall in frustration. “I never lose my temper at a person. I lose my temper at walls,” Baquet said last year.

Today, Baquet told Byers that he thought Cooper’s status post was, simply, “nasty and arrogant.” You be the judge.


Update (10:00 p.m.):
A spokesperson for the Times provided the following statement to FishbowlNY:

Dean responded passionately to an arrogant comment that seemed intended to provoke. In the end, these are very difficult decisions and Dean made this one with great care, understanding that there would be people who disagreed – many of them reasonable and civil, some less so.

And here is part of a subsequent post by Cooper on Facebook:

I shook off your petty, childish and insulting outburst this morning the same way a dog shakes of a light coat of fleas. Web trolls are a dime a dozen. I had an enjoyable day at the shooting range with a good friend, we went to a good deli afterward and had a nosh and we never mentioned you until a couple of reporters started calling. I’m cool. I think you are the one who is going to have to deal with his public reputation, not me.

… Outside of a small circle of friends, editor Baquet, nobody gives a flying fig anymore if the New York Times has or has not published the cartoons. While your papal council was solemnly discussing this matter, many other outlets including conservative British dailies, HuffPost, Buzzfeed, Slate, Gawker and myriad other outlets with tens of millions of viewers had ALREADY published them. Nobody really needed the New York Times to do it because by the time you decided not to do it, it was already done by others!

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.