Dean Baquet Comments on TNR and Rolling Stone

Dean Baquet GWhen you’re the executive editor of The New York Times, people want your take on everything from the Times to the latest media blunders. There are no bigger media f*ck ups lately than the debacle at The New Republic and Rolling Stone’s embarrassingly bad reporting on its UVA rape story.

WWD asked Dean Baquet — the Times’ top editor — for his take on both.

On TNR:

I have to say, it sounded ham-handed the way the guy handled it. I wish I knew more. I think when all of your writers leave, you’ve done something really bad. I think [Chris] Hughes [the owner] went in and portrayed himself as the person who would protect what The New Republic was. This is the part that I don’t really know what was said, but every publication has got to change right now. We just do. That doesn’t mean you’ve got to change the kind of journalism you do. I don’t think The New Republic should try to be something that it’s not, nor should The New York Times, nor should The New Yorker.

On Rolling Stone:

A story of that enormity, whether it is written by a freelancer or not, we would hold to an incredibly high standard. If we did that story, I would have insisted that we talked to the accused. I just would have insisted on that. That’s sort of like rule number one in journalism: You go to the accused. That’s a gimme. It may turn out that this woman’s account is true. The numbers show that most women who assert they were assaulted are telling the truth. The percentage is overwhelming.