Two NY Times reporters resign
Donald McNeil sorry for racist slur.
Journalists are expressing solidarity with recently-ousted New York Times reporter Donald McNeil Jr. after new reporting shed light on remarks he made during a 2019 educational trip to Peru.
McNeil announced his resignation on Friday, days after The Daily Beast reported that he had been previously reprimanded by the Times over complaints the paper received from students, who alleged that the veteran science reporter used offensive rhetoric, including the “n-word.”
However, a piece published by The Washington Post Tuesday delves a bit deeper into what actually transpired between McNeil and the students on the trip.
After speaking with six students who attended the trip, Post media critic Erik Wemple summarized that McNeil “provided expertise about public health and science consistent with what the students had expected,” but that he was “brusque and difficult” during “informal chatter.”
NY TIMES REPORTER ACCUSED OF USING ‘N-WORD,’ OTHER RACIST, SEXIST REMARKS ON 2019 EDUCATIONAL TRIP: REPORT
According to Wemple, the students confirmed McNeil’s explanation that he used the “n-word” during a discussion about the word itself but that he “uttered the epithet in a way that they perceived as casual, unnecessary or even gratuitous.”
McNeil reportedly “scoffed” when asked about the subject of cultural approriation, asking “what’s the problem,” for example, with people all over the world eating “imported Italian tomatoes.”
“Two students reported coming away with troubling impressions of McNeil’s view of white [sic] supremacy, with one of them claiming that he said it didn’t exist,” Wemple wrote. “Speaking about high incarceration rates of African Americans, McNeil argued that if they engage in criminal activity, that’s on them, and not on an oppressive and racist power structure, recalls a trip participant who said that the comments were ‘triggering’ to the group. The participant, however, said that McNeil’s opinions didn’t disparage African Americans.”
Wemple did note that the roughly 20 students on the trip were a “predominantly White group with progressive sensibilities.”
Following Wemple’s reporting, journalists expressed their support for McNeil and knocked the students he led on the trip.
“McNeil was fired for being sane,” columnist Andrew Sullivan reacted.
“Basically, McNeil spent almost 50 years reporting from global virus hot zones but nothing he did prepared him for contact with the American upper middle class’s social mores,” journalist Zaid Jilani wrote.
“A predominantly white [sic] group of high school students who can afford a $5500 trip to Peru with NYT reporters are the vanguard of the revolution,” The Intercept DC bureau chief Ryan Grim tweeted.
‘OUTRAGED’ NY TIMES STAFFERS SEND LETTER TO BOSSES OVER HANDLING OF REPORTER WHO USED ‘N-WORD’: REPORT
“Read this and rejoice that you are not subject to the completely arbitrary, repressive and punitive despots who rule the NYT despite not being on the masthead. What an appalling and dishonest debacle,” journalist Glenn Greenwald exclaimed.
“The lesson, as always: strenuously avoid being around the children of wealthy NYT readers if you value your job,” The Bulwurk culture editor Sonny Bunch quipped.
“While they clearly point to McNeil being surly old dude, hard to argue these are fireable offenses…” Fourth Watch media critic Steve Krakauer concluded.
The Times did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.
Before McNeil’s resignation, the Daily Beast reported that more than 150 Times staffers sent a letter to their bosses expressing outrage at how the claims made against the reporter were handled.
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Following McNeil’s resignation, The Washington Free Beacon reported on clashes between staffers on a private Facebook group over whether or not McNeil should have been pushed out.
McNeil, 67, was the Times’ longtime science reporter and one of the star journalists covering the coronavirus pandemic. He had worked for the Gray Lady since 1976.
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