The New York Times has started enforcing an old company policy that discourages reporters from appearing on partisan, opinionated cable news shows, according to Vanity Fair.
The policy reportedly came back in force when NYT finance editor David Enrich was invited on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" on May 19 to discuss a story about allegedly suspicious Deutsche Bank transactions involving President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner.
Enrich accepted, but then was told by superiors to cancel the appearance because NYT was "wary of how viewers might perceive a down-the-middle journalist like Enrich talking politics with a mega-ideological host like Maddow," Vanity Fair reported.
Times executive editor Dean Baquet has reportedly begun to believe that cable news opinion shows have become even more opinionated than normal, leading to a strong "preference" that reporters steer clear.
Other shows flagged as too partisan include Don Lemon's CNN show, as well as Fox News shows hosted by Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity (although Vanity Fair notes that NYT journalists typically don't appear on Fox News).
Here's how the Times explained it to Vanity Fair:
It's not so much a new policy as a reinforcement of an old one. Reached for comment, a Times spokeswoman pointed me to the section of the Times's "Ethical Journalism" handbook that covers broadcast media appearances: "In deciding whether to make a radio, television or Internet appearance, a staff member should consider its probable tone and content to make sure they are consistent with Times standards. Staff members should avoid strident, theatrical forums that emphasize punditry and reckless opinion-mongering."
Contrast this with The Washington Post, which has no such restrictions on its reporters. A spokeswoman told Vanity Fair:
"We view all broadcast programs as opportunities to expose our journalism to different audiences," a spokeswoman told me. "We ask our reporters to speak objectively about the news topics they cover or share fact-based analysis with the goal of giving viewers a better understanding of a story. We also ensure clear identification for opinion journalists to share their wide-ranging perspectives."
(H/T Fox News)