New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet condemned cable news coverage of the 2016 presidential election for mixing “entertainment and news” in an interview published Friday.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Baquet described CNN and Fox News’ approaches to election coverage as “bad for democracy and those institutions.”
Their “mix of entertainment and news, and news masquerading as entertainment” would be “kind of funny,” Baquet said, if not for Donald Trump’s candidacy, which he described as a product of the combination.
Baquet was unsparing in his criticism of both networks, calling CNN’s decision to hire ousted Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski as a paid commentator “outrageous” and slamming Lewandowski as “a political shill.”
He was equally critical of Fox News, which he said “is not a journalistic institution.”
While Baquet praised Fox News hosts Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace as “great” journalists, he didn’t miss the chance to take a jab at former Fox boss Roger Ailes, who resigned amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment.
“I don’t think Roger Ailes will go down as one of the great journalists of his time,” Baquet said.
He went on to note the difficulty of covering Trump’s unconventional presidential campaign.
“We are used to warring philosophies, but this is different. This is a guy who makes stuff up,” Baquet said. “I am not opposed to his presidency, that is not my job. But my job is not to beat around the bush when a candidate lies.”
Fox News declined to comment and CNN did not return a message from the Financial Times seeking comment.