- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said Monday that he regrets how the paper appeared to downplay the latest rape allegation against President Trump.

Mr. Baquet said the magnitude of the allegation by Elle magazine columnist E. Jean Carroll’s against a sitting president “should’ve compelled us to play it bigger.”

Ms. Carroll alleges in her forthcoming memoir — “What Do We Need Men For?” — that Mr. Trump raped her in a dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in Manhattan in 1995 or 1996. Mr. Trump has denied the allegation, stating Monday that “she’s not my type.”

The New York Times said Monday that the paper published an 800-word story about Ms. Carroll’s allegation on Friday evening, but did not promote the story on its home page until late Saturday morning and did not run a print story until Sunday. Readers flooded The Times with complaints accusing the paper of downplaying the story, the paper said.

Mr. Baquet agreed, admitting, “We were overly cautious.” He said the story should have been posted on The Times’ home page with a more prominent headline.

Mr. Baquet explained that during the #MeToo movement, the paper developed informal guidelines for such allegations that included publishing them only if corroborating sources would go on the record, as was the case for its investigations into allegations against Harvey Weinstein and Bill O’Reilly. Mr. Baquet said two friends who corroborated Ms. Carroll’s claim that she told them about the alleged assault would only speak to The Times anonymously.

In this instance, however, Mr. Baquet said Ms. Carroll’s allegations were already being discussed by the public, so those rules “didn’t quite apply.”

“They’ve allowed us to break major stories, from Bill O’Reilly to Harvey Weinstein,” he said. “But in this case, it was a different kind of story.”

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