‘Douche Zest’: New York Times Politics Editor Describes What His Newspaper Publishes

In this Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012, photo, people pass the New York Times building in New York. The Newspaper Association of America, the New York Times Co. and several other newspaper companies have filed papers in support of a lawsuit filed by The Associated Press against Meltwater, a company that …
AP Photo/Richard Drew

New York Times editor Tom Wright-Piersanti, under fire for racist and antisemitic tweets, also had some choice words for the product his current employer publishes, as a series of more controversial tweets before he went to work at the Times reveals.

The New York Post has uncovered tweets demonstrating that Wright-Piersanti, while employed at Newark’s Star-Ledger newspaper in New Jersey a decade ago, had a particular fondness for the use of the word “douche.”

“Wright-Piersanti’s Twitter page suggests he adores the word ‘douche,’ which crops up more than a dozen times,” the New York Post‘s Keith Kelly wrote Thursday evening.

In fact, he even described the work product his future colleagues at the New York Times publish as “douche zest.”

“What the NYTimes does is take your story, spice it up with a dash of *douche zest* and then a million people read it,” Wright-Piersanti tweeted on October 13, 2010, according to the New York Post.

New York Times spokeswomen Danielle Rhoades-Ha and Eileen Murphy have not replied to a detailed request for comment from Breitbart News asking if the newspaper agrees with its politics editor’s characterization of its product as “douche zest.” They have also not provided a definition of the term “douche zest.”

This is not the only time Wright-Piersanti used the term “douche” to describe what would become his future employer, the New York Times, either.

“On Oct. 10, 2013, he was at it again, venting against a Times reporter who was dispatched to do a story from Montclair, NJ,” the Post‘s Kelly wrote. “‘Maybe NYT was right to send a douche,’ he tweeted before apparently quoting a line from an NYT story that offended him: ‘Montclair likes to think of itself as having more of a mix of races and classes than other suburbs.'”

Another newly resurfaced tweet, thanks to the New York Post‘s reporting since Wright-Piersanti has again hidden his Twitter account from the public, is one where he slanders the Amish–and uses the term “douche” to do so as well.

Kelly wrote, “And on the Amish, he tweeted in August 2010, “I’m working on a tell-all expose of the Amish; calling it, ‘more like Pennsylvania Douche.’”

The Times spokeswomen, Rhoades-Ha and Murphy, have not said if the newspaper thinks Wright-Piersanti’s use of the word “douche” repeatedly on Twitter is acceptable. But the Times did provide the Post with the same statement they provided the rest of the media in response to the earlier tweets: “We are aware of these tweets, which are a clear violation of our standards. We are reviewing next steps.”

These revelations that Wright-Piersanti assailed his then-future colleagues and employer using this foul language come in the wake of a Breitbart News investigation published on Thursday morning that discovered Wright-Piersanti made a number of antisemitic and racist comments on Twitter over the years. On Thursday, in response to the Breitbart News investigation, Wright-Piersanti deleted several of the tweets and issued a statement admitting they were “offensive” and apologizing for them while also downplaying them as from a decade ago. In statements to several media outlets through spokeswoman Rhoades-Ha, The Times admitted the tweets were a violation of the Times‘ standards and that the newspaper was considering next steps and options regarding what to do in the future.

This latest example of the pervasive culture of racism and antisemitism inside the New York Times institution-wide comes in the wake of several other recent examples of such activity. Now, former deputy politics editor Jonathan Weisman was demoted recently, in part, because of racially insensitive things he said, which the Times called a lapse in judgment. Weisman was also behind a list during the Barack Obama administration that the Times published, then quietly removed, listing Jewish lawmakers in opposition to the Obama Iran deal.

The Times also has faced serious criticism for having published a series of antisemitic cartoons in its international edition. The person or persons responsible for those publishing decisions have not been publicly identified yet, but the Times, under criticism, stopped publication of all cartoons in the international edition to prevent more antisemitism from reaching its pages.

What’s more, in the editorial wing of the paper, open leftist Sarah Jeong–who has made a number of blatantly racist statements–remains employed as the Times has rallied behind her despite her history of racially insensitive comments.

In response to all of this, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has called for the Times to terminate Wright-Piersanti and then conduct an organization-wide audit to root out racism and antisemitism lurking within the newspaper.

“The Zionist Organization of America urges the New York Times to fire its Senior Staff Editor Tom Wright-Piersanti, in light of Wright-Piersanti’s antisemitic and racist tweets that were recently uncovered,” ZOA said in a statement on its website. “Further, we urge the Times to conduct an internal editorial review of every piece of content that Wright-Piersanti has been involved in publishing during his five plus years with the Times, for antisemitic bias, and to take all necessary corrective actions regarding that content.”

Katrina Pierson, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump’s campaign, added in a statement to Breitbart News that the Times should hire an outside counsel, an independent law firm, to conduct such a review into antisemitism and racism pervasive throughout the newspaper.

“Combined with other recent scandals like the publication of antisemitic cartoons and racist tweets that led to the demotion of another political editor in the Times’ newsroom, it is long past time for the New York Times to hire an independent outside counsel legal firm to conduct a thorough review of the newspaper’s entire staff, hiring practices, and all editorial processes,” Pierson told Breitbart News.

Several current staffers at the New York Times, including multiple reporters, believe that Wright-Piersanti should be–and probably will be–fired. In conversations with Breitbart News over the past day-plus since this was exposed, during which all of the Times staffers requested anonymity, New York Times staffers described being caught flat-footed by these revelations. One said Wright-Piersanti would have been fired already had the Times leadership not wanted to hand a “win” to the many conservatives and Trump supporters calling for his termination, and others expressed fear that similar stories may come out about other Times employees or others in media. Executive editor Dean Baquet is personally involved in the handling of this matter, too, some staff said.

In fact, the Times has even tasked some reporters with writing a story about what happened here and describing it in their own terms. That story is forthcoming and likely to be published as soon as the newspaper figures out exactly how to handle the matter. It may be an effort to control the narrative of firing Wright-Piersanti, if that is what the paper intends to do, and frame it in the best possible way for the Times so it does not have to address the broader culture of antisemitism and racism permeating the organization.

“We’re almost damned if we, damned if we don’t–in that if they fire him, the right will scream it is correct about the culture here having racial issues,” a Times staffer said. “If we don’t fire him, how can we avoid the accusation of hypocrisy?”

The Times spokeswomen, Rhoades-Ha and Murphy, have not answered detailed questions from Breitbart News about each of these points about what Times staffers believe is a serious mishandling of this situation by Baquet and the leadership of the newspaper.

Baquet has given an edict to editorial staff that after the failure of the Russia hoax scandal with the implosion of special counsel Robert Mueller in the wake of his weak report and even weaker congressional testimony, the Times is now set to pre-plan coverage pushing the narrative throughout the next year-plus over Trump and racial issues.

But given that Baquet has remained silent following the exposing of Wright-Piersanti’s racist and antisemitic comments–and the paper continuing to refuse to forcefully condemn those, as well as Baquet and the Times‘ broader mishandling of other recent racial and antisemitic issues–Times staff are concerned they will not be able to honestly and accurately cover the president on issues of race.

“You guys have a point when you say there’s hypocrisy with us covering race and antisemitism when we have not been too great in handling this,” one Times reporter told Breitbart News.


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