On October 12th, in a D.C. media panel discussion about coverage of the Trump administration overseen by moderator and columnist Jim Rutenberg, New York Times White House correspondents Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker were joined by executive editor Dean Baquet. About half an hour into the conversation, the topic of liberal bias was raised, resulting in categorical denials.
According to Baker, those quick to accuse the Times of bias were simply confusing editorials with news stories:
“The truth is, like, I understand--I understand the bias question, I get it, I understand. First of all, we have a newspaper whose editorial page happens to be liberal, and therefore there is a natural assumption, and I get what people think, that must therefore automatically bleed into the pages. I had a very senior White House official one time, not this administration, tell me, you can’t tell me that it doesn’t affect your opinion, what’s on the editorial page every day when you write your story. Not only I can tell you that -- I can swear on a stack of Bibles, I don’t read it.”
Haberman seconded the motion.
Baker did concede that personal bias may exist, but he unequivocally denied the existence of bias in reporting:
“I don’t read our editorials. No offense to our great editorial writers. I make a point of not reading our editorials. If it were up to me, we wouldn’t have editorials because I think it confuses readers into thinking that we are a liberal paper.”
Surprisingly, Baker claimed:
“I don’t consider myself to be a liberal and I don’t think most people I work with consider themselves particularly ideological. I don’t hear them express ideological opinions. I hear them express journalistic opinions, like, we ought to do this story, this is an important story, this is an important target for scrutiny, this is an important mission for us. If we are biased, we are biased toward conflict, and that’s a reasonable debate to have in our industry, how much we are overly wedded to that.”
“I think we try and play this straight down the middle.”
Riiight. They may "think" they play it down the middle, but both Baker and Haberman are regulars on sites like Newsbusters, where their part in the liberal bias of the New York Times is frequently showcased. Furthermore, the Times's bias is featured in stories such as this article and this one, by TruthRevolt's Trey Sanchez. But there's nothing to see here, according the NYT. Move along.