by Giulio Meotti
Donald McNeil is a famous American reporter for the New York Times, where he has worked for45 years and had just been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his articles on the pandemic.
Two years ago, McNeil led a group of high school students on a Times-affiliated trip to Peru. Subsequently, a handful of students and some parents complained that McNeil, who is white, had used the word “nigger” to repeat a story and that he had rejected the idea that there is a “white privilege”.
What is the real story? McNeil was asked at dinner by a student if he thought a classmate of his should be suspended for a video made when she was twelve in which she used a racial slur. To understand what was in the video, McNeil used the insult himself .Therefore, the journalist did not want to use the word to offend, but to understand in what context the word had been used. That’s enough to be destroyed.
“It is now the official policy of the New York Times that for some words intent does not matter, it only takes one strike to sink a 47-year career,” wrote Reason’s Matt Welch.
Two years ago the Times investigated the complaints, scolded McNeil and closed the case. End of story? No, because days ago The Daily Beast website learned of the complaints and wrote about the case.
150 Times reporters said they were “offended” by the comments reported by their colleague McNeil and complained that they had not been consulted at the time. Times editor Dan Baquet reneged on the 2019 decision, denounced “racism and discrimination of all kinds” and pushed McNeil out.
And it is certainly not the first case. “By now Twitter is running the newspaper”. It is with these words a year ago another journalist, Bari Weiss, resigned from the Times.
Not only that, but to try to calm the situation, the reporter had written a pathetic letter of apology, which Andrew Sullivan compared to the “confessions” that the Khmer Rouge extorted from prisoners. “This sounds like a Bolshevik at his trial of him farce that he admits he betrayed the revolution even though he never wanted to betray the revolution because he loves the revolution,” comments Vanity Fair‘s Peter Savodnik.
It is the story of Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon”, the Rubascëv case, the tale of a former Soviet commissioner who himself ends up in the dock and who will “confess” to crimes he was not guilty of just as the people he had accused did.
The liberal press is daily less and less liberal.