Meltdown May

The New York Times: They not like us.

A Cybertruck went to Nantucket
and parked in a crosswalk, like: “Suck it!”
Costs one hundred grand
but it don’t run in sand,
“I Pull Out” had to come and unstuck it.

A cybertruck looking very sad and weak, sunk to its undercarriage in sand.

I swear I wrote that limerick before I saw this skeet, which is also good.

That’s a little amuse bouche for what Liz Lopatto predicts will be the hottest Meltdown May in recorded history. Ben Smith knows how to capitalize on a meltdown opportunity, framing his Semafor interview with New York Times executive editor and Harvard University native Joe Kahn with the question ”Why doesn’t the executive editor see it as his job to help Joe Biden win?” What a trap! You honestly have to admire it.

Despite the flawless editorial judgement of his Styles Desk, it’s increasingly obvious that Kahn is not up to the demands of the job. Explaining why the Times must treat Trump as a normal candidate, he said: “Trump could win this election in a popular vote. Given that Trump’s not in office, it will probably be fair.” (My emphasis.) So, we might be electing a President who will never risk another fair election, but as long as this election is fair, it’s not the Times’ job to point that out to its readers. Cool. He also said that the Times’ editorial priorities are driven by polling, which is embarrassing for him. And then there was this odd exchange:

Ben: Does that make you more likely to hire kids from state schools, outside that elite group, or kids who didn’t go to college?

Joe: I’d be open to it. And I’m open to graduates from whatever school who understand what they need to commit to being in an independent news environment. But I don’t think we can assume that they’ve been trained for that, if they’ve been trained for safe spaces. The newsroom is not a safe space. It’s a space where you’re being exposed to lots of journalism, some of which you are not going to like.

After the infamous 2020 Tom Cotton “Send in the Troops” editorial, Black Times staff coördinated to put out the message: “Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger.” Kahn awkwardly shoehorning “safe spaces” in here reads to me as a direct, if belated, reply to that movement, saying that his New York Times should not be considered a safe place for Black journalists, and casting their legitimate fear of the incredible damage that could result from America’s Last Newspaper calling for a military attack on civilians as simply a bit of journalism they “are not going to like.” But apparently everyone knows their place now, because Kahn believes that 2020 “…was an extreme moment. I think we’ve learned from it. I think we found our footing after that.”

After this mess of an interview, maybe Joe Kahn should get some media training from the Columbia student protesters who were too smart to talk to former Reagan speechwriter and current Reagan editorial writer Peggy Noonan. On Twitter, smug White House stenographer Peter Baker idiotically mischaracterized a right wing editorialist trolling for outrage-bait as “journalists who are there to listen.” But Meltdown May 2024 couldn’t just leave it there. Stanford Professor Hakeem Jefferson made a pointed observation about Baker’s post vis-a-vis the grand journalistic virtue of Objectivity, and then followed up by sharing a snotty email he received from Baker’s son, Stanford student journalist Theo Baker, demanding he take the post down.

The kid has a bright future at the Times, unless someone much better than Joe Kahn takes over.

All that and we haven’t even gotten to the Kendrick-Drake beef yet! The feud blew up so big over the weekend that even Saturday Night Live did a sketch mocking all the clueless white people suddenly invested in rap drama. I’m not gonna try to explain it, because either you’re already pinning red string on your basement crazy wall to connect Whitney and Dave Free to Pharrell’s grudge against Birdman, or you don’t really need to get involved in this. Instead, here’s what I think are some highlights that can bring joy and value to newb and obsessive alike:

The Condé Uñion threatened to picket the only thing Anna Wintour truly cares about: the Met Gala, and suddenly found itself with a tentative contract. Congratu-dolences to all the Schrödinger-fired former residents of the Condé rubber room, who will now be sent off to freelancer-hood with a flat eight weeks of severance.

Matt Alston: “Everyone Hates Workday.” Today in tabs. Mother Jones’s Tim Murphy read everything Elon Musk posted in a week, and it’s worse than you think. Becca Rothfeld reviewed Nellie Bowles’ boring book. And is that a bag of snakes in your pants or—

Today’s Song: Kendrick Lamar, “Not Like Us”

This weekend I went out and sat in a tent in the rain to start Today on Trail for real, and today the first adorable ToT stickers arrived. We leave for the A.T. on July second, so get signed up. Yes, I will tell you how you can get stickers… when the time is right.

They’re so cute.