Which New York Times staffers are worth fighting for?

10 June 2021

7:00 PM

10 June 2021

7:00 PM

The New York Times fiercely defended editorial board member Mara Gay this week after she faced ridicule on Twitter for comments she made on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.

Gay had told the Lucy and Desi of cable news that she was ‘disturbed’ by the sight of American flags flying high in Long Island on Tuesday. She apparently witnessed anti-Joe Biden flags standing alongside the Stars and Stripes. This horrid scene prompted her to fear that Donald Trump’s supporters did not see a difference between ‘whiteness’ and ‘Americanness’.

‘We have to figure out how to get every American a place at the table in this democracy…how to separate Americanness, America, from whiteness,’ Gay said.

‘I was really disturbed,’ she continued. ‘I saw…in some cases, just dozens of American flags, which is also just disturbing. Essentially, the message was clear, this is my country. This is not your country. I own this.’

After her comments drew the attention of the conservative Twittersphere, Gay did what any respectable member of the American media class would do: she cried foul.

‘I see I’m being trolled with the American flag this morning. Trolling a Black journalist with the American flag is not the own some people think it is,’ the Times editorial board member and MSNBC contributor tweeted shortly after her TV hit.

Luckily, Dean Baquet and company rushed her defense on Tuesday evening, decrying the criticisms against their star pupil as ‘out of context’ and ‘bad-faith’ nonsense.

New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay’s comments on MSNBC have been irresponsibly taken out of context,’ the Times‘s PR account tweeted. ‘Her argument was that Trump and many of his supporters have politicized the American flag. The attacks on her today are ill-informed and grounded in bad-faith.’ (Should ‘bad faith’ take a hyphen there, by the way?)

Cockburn finds it inspiring that during a period of stagnated wages and inflated gas prices, North America’s paper of record can find the time to stand up for the country’s real victims.

Clearly Gay is on a shortlist of employees the Times feels compelled to defend. The same cannot be said for James Bennet and Adam Rubenstein, who were tossed under the bus after publishing Sen. Tom Cotton’s ‘Send in the Troops’ op-ed. And 45 years of service did not save Donald McNeil Jr’s career after allegations of insensitivity by high school students forced him to resign. Even a heavyweight like Bari Weiss was chased out of the village when she found herself on the wrong side of one too many Slack cliques.

Prior to her role at the Times, Gay covered City Hall for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Daily News. Cockburn is amazed she managed to make it through the day without being sent into paroxysms of terror by the flagpoles atop the building.

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