Dean Baquet is the executive editor of the New York Times and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Baquet sat down with Edward Wasserman, dean of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, in February 2019 to discuss the 2016 elections and the future of fact-based journalism.
“I don’t want to be a leader of the opposition to Donald Trump,” he told Wasserman. “This is perhaps the hardest thing about navigating this era. A big percentage of my readers, and I hear from them a lot, want me to lead the opposition of Donald Trump. They don’t quite say it that way, but what they say is, ‘Why quote his tweets? Why go to his press conferences? Why not just call him a liar every day? Why not essentially just take him out and beat him up? What are you waiting for?’ I think that would be the road to ruin for a bunch of reasons. But, to me, the most powerful one is, if you become the leader of the opposition, eventually the people who you’re aligned with come to power, right?”
This conversation is featured on On Mic, a podcast by UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. It was produced by Luis Hernandez. For more conversations with writers, journalists and documentarians, check out other On Mic episodes. Technical facilities for On Mic are underwritten by the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation.