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‘We don’t get religion’: NYT editor admits newspaper is out of touch

Mario Tama/Getty Images

In a moment of candor, an executive editor for the New York Times admitted that the Gray Lady is pretty out of touch with most Americans, specifically when it comes to religion.

For some, maybe many, that might not be news, but it's a telling observation from editor Dean Baquet, who shared the self-analysis during an interview on NPR's "Fresh Air" this week.

"I want to make sure that we are much more creative about beats out in the country so that we understand that anger and disconnectedness that people feel," Baquet responded when NPR host Terry Gross asked if the Times and other mainstream outlets failed to understand the appeal of President-elect Donald Trump.

He then related the 165-year-old newspaper's failure to understand Trump to its struggle to comprehend the role of religion in American life:

I think I use religion as an example because I was raised Catholic in New Orleans. I think that the New York-based — and Washington-based, too, probably — media powerhouses don't quite get religion. We have a fabulous religion writer, but she's all alone.

We don't get religion. We don't get the role of religion in people's lives. And I think we can do much, much better. And I think there are things that we can be more creative about to understand the country.

In the Trump era, Baquet says the Times, which has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, has quite a bit of work to do.

"I now have two big jobs," he explained. "Big job one is to cover the most compelling and unusual president we have had in my lifetime. Big job two is to really understand and explain the forces in America that led to Americans wanting a change so much that they were willing to select such a different figure for the White House."

This latest reflection comes after Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Baquet co-wrote a letter to readers, acknowledging the paper's need to "rededicate ourselves ... to report America and the world honestly."

One last thing…
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