Cancel culture came for one of its own as 30+ year reporter Donald McNeil Jr was pushed out of the New York Times after fellow journalists reported on a years-old incident that had already been investigated and concluded. McNeil has now told his side of the story.
- McNeil claims he was pressured to resign after allegations that he made “inappropriate comments about race”, including the use of a racial slur, during a NYT-sponsored trip to Peru with students.
- In his second of a four-post series, McNeil explains the offending incident (in which he used a racial slur in the context of a question about it he was asked by a student), the Times’ response to a media inquiry, and his battle to clear his name.
- As a result of the McNeil incident and other incidents it says has created “workplace culture that celebrates individual achievement” that is uncomfortable for “people of color” in particular, The New York Times announced it will become “more welcoming and inclusive.”
- McNeil made a point to not apologize, saying his “bristliness makes me an imperfect pedagogue for sensitive teenagers” and that he wanted “to be remembered as a good science reporter whose work saved lives.”
- The Guardian characterized McNeil as recalcitrant and unremorseful, including quotes from Times editor Dean Baquet saying McNeil’s coworkers no longer support him “because [he] didn’t apologize.”
- Buried in CNN’s account of McNeil’s blog posts is the fact that the Times was aware of the incident before being approached by another outlet, investigated it and disciplined McNeil, with some Times employees calling McNeil’s firing “cancel culture.”
- The Daily Beast, which reported the incident that eventually resulted in McNeil’s ouster, made fun of the situation they created, characterizing McNeil as an old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn.
- The New York Post detailed McNeil’s allegations and repeated his claim that he was forced to resign and castigated the Times’ management.
- The Free Beacon leaned on McNeil’s assertion that New York Times editor Dean Baquet admitted he does not believe McNeil is racist and that the allegations were “baseless”, but that he was effectively fired anyway.
- Reporting last month on McNeil’s resignation from the Times, The Federalist blasted The New York Times, saying “Legacy newsrooms are more likely to be dominated by overzealous Oberlin College graduates drunk on critical theory than other workplaces”.
© Dallas Gerber, 2021