Move ahead to 8:48
New York Times columnist David Brooks addressed the Weave matter Friday evening durng his regular appearance on the “PBS NewsHour” — which places Judy Woodruff and company several steps ahead of the Times when it comes to transparency.
Brooks was nervous through the segment, which began with his usual back-and-forth with Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart. At the end, in the clip that I’ve bookmarked above (start at 8:48 if it doesn’t happen automatically), Woodruff gave Brooks a chance to explain himself. I thought he seemed sincerely interested in trying to set things right, but that he wasn’t entirely forthcoming.
He began by saying, “First, we did totally disclose it,” referring to his salary at the Aspen Institute, where he runs Weave, a civic-engagement initiative. Later, he seemed to say that what he meant was he’d disclosed it to his superiors at the Times. Certainly his readers and viewers didn’t know it.
He also said he had “not meaningfully written” about any of Weave’s funders, including Facebook, even though BuzzFeed News — which broke the story — has presented evidence to the contrary. Nor did he mention a post he wrote for Facebook’s blog in which he sang the praises of Facebook Groups, also revealed by BuzzFeed.
“It has not affected my journalism,” he insisted. Nevertheless, he conceded that his critics have a point and said he’ll be making changes over the next week.
How will this end? I suspect the Times will announce a policy pertaining to all of their in-house opinion journalists, and that will be the end of it — especially if Brooks can prove that management knew about his Weave salary.
- Did David Brooks’ former superiors know about his conflicts of interest? (March 5)
- The New York Times has a David Brooks problem (March 4)
Update: BuzzFeed News reporter Craig Silverman rebuts Brooks point by point in this Twitter thread:
Update II: Brooks has resigned from his position at the Aspen Institute as more conflicts of interest surface. BuzzFeed News reports.