New York Times Reporter Caught Saying True Things | National Review

New York Times Reporter Caught Saying True Things | National Review

New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg speaks during an interview in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 20, 2014.
(Mohammad Ismail/Reuters)

Project Veritas recently published a secretly taped video of New York Times Pulitzer Prize–winning national-security correspondent Matthew Rosenberg mocking the histrionics of modern journalism.

“These f***ing little dweebs who keep going on about their trauma — I’m like, ‘Shut the f**k up,’” he said of reporters covering the January 6 riots as if they had witnessed the bombing of Nagasaki. “All these colleagues who were in the building, and they’re young and are like, ‘Oh my God, it was so scary.’ I’m like, ‘F*** off,” adding that the Times “is not the kind of place I can tell somebody to man up, but I kind of want to be like, ‘Dude, come on, like, you were not in any danger.’”

Maybe Rosenberg was showing off for a young woman. Maybe the parts Project Veritas edited out would offer more context or soften the criticisms. “This is me talking sh** at a bar. If you think that’s news, it is what it is,” Rosenberg responded when asked for comment. And God knows, most of us are prone to some hyperbole after a few drinks (it should be noted he also said that some on the right play down January 6). But the fact is that Rosenberg’s underlying point can’t be discarded, because anyone who pays even the slightest attention to mainstream outlets and reporters already understands how susceptible they’ve become to hysterics. Just recall the meltdown over Tom Cotton’s op-ed at the Times arguing for the National Guard to be called out to quell violence during the summer of 2020. The op-ed put “lives in danger,” you see. The emotionalism, the hollow bravery, the abandonment of basic professionalism, the lack of historical perspective undergirds a lot of modern journalism (that’s in addition to what is now partisan activism).

Newsrooms could be stifling for dissent 15 to 20 years ago, so I can’t imagine what they’re like now. Then, as now, though, I’m sure there are plenty of industrious, talented, critical thinkers working in journalism (and some brave ones, like those in Ukraine right now). Most are not going to speak out about the corrosion of their profession if they know what’s good for them. The big social-media followings and the TV gigs do not come to those who offer richly reported, measured takes on world events or politics. The accolades come to those who throw chum to partisan mobs.

One of the big differences between today and 20 years ago is that back then there were still some hard-boiled, skeptical editors who cared deeply about getting it right, no matter what their ideology. Today most editors succumb to newsroom mobs, partisan campaigns, and the woke sensibilities of their staffs. According to Politico Playbook, for example, Times editor Dean Banquet met with reporters who were upset about Rosenberg’s comments (proving the latter’s thesis to some extent). Banquet reportedly knocked Rosenberg “for being careless and stupid” but said nothing about the problems that come with having to constantly assuage the brittle feelings of the journalists who work for him.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.