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Dean Baquet
Dean
Baquet.

Michael Loccisano/Getty
Images


President Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for the
news media, which less than a month after taking office he
derided as the “enemy
of the American people
.”

But that hasn’t prevented the press from giving readers an inside
view of what has been happening within the Trump White House,
with a daily avalanche of scoops and breaking news about the
administration.

Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The New York Times (one of
the news outlets Trump has often singled out for his fury), says
that’s no accident.

Speaking at the Code Conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday night,
Baquet said the Trump administration had activated a twin engine
of leaks: people in the Washington establishment and people
inside the White House itself.

“This administration is doing stuff that has upset the permanent
Washington,” he said, referring to the nonelected officials who
work in various government agencies. As those people get upset
about what the administration is doing, or not doing, they talk.

But it’s not just that.

A house divided

“It’s a White House of disarray,” Baquet said. “There are two or
three factions fighting for an ear of a president who probably
didn’t have fully formed views before he took office.”

It’s true that there are factions representing Trump advisers
Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner, he said: “We’re watching a
Washington story unlike any other. I think we’re seeing a drama,
a fight in the White House, and a government investigation that’s
unprecedented.”

To cover this White House, The Times doubled the number of people
covering it to six.

The company also has no qualms about covering Trump’s Twitter
feed as news.

“We have to cover it,” Baquet said. “He’s president of the US,
even if it’s late-night thoughts or early-morning thoughts — they
are his thoughts.”

He added, however, that fact-checking was part of The Times’
coverage of such tweets. “We truth-squad all of them as soon as
they come up,” he said. “We report it and tell the public the
truth of every tweet. We have to truth-test them.”



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