Thursday, December 14, 2017

I'm So Old I Can Remember When I Was Young

Old people are bad

Within the Times itself, the Thrush scandal has created something of a schism. On one side, according to newsroom sources, there is a cohort of young, millennial, New York-based employees for whom the event has been particularly upsetting. These employees, these sources note, are generationally hyper-attuned to issues related to race, gender, and newsroom diversity, which they often discuss on the Times’s internal Slack app. For some within this cohort, there’s a sentiment that the Times should set an example amid our cultural awakening—that it would be hard to keep Thrush employed while continuing to lead the charge in covering the reckoning that has entangled him.

Things are different in the Washington bureau. While there are some who feel deeply uncomfortable with his conduct, the prevailing sentiment among Thrush’s colleagues in D.C. is that he should not lose his job over the contents of the Vox report, according to a half-dozen members of the bureau—men and women—with whom I spoke for this article, in addition to several other well-placed Times figures who are regularly in touch with the bureau. The Vox piece, the logic went, castigated Thrush for “bad judgment around young women journalists,” but did not make any allegations regarding sexual harassment, sexually motivated quid pro quo, sexual assault, or predation. (If any such charges were to come up in the Times probe, many suggested, he would obviously lose his goodwill.) For now, Thrush’s support extends all the way up to bureau chief Elisabeth Bumiller, according to people familiar with her thinking. (Reached by phone, Bumiller declined to comment.)

Young people are supposed to be able to make youthful mistakes.