New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet called a journalism professor an "asshole" on Facebook, during an argument over the Times’ decision to not publish the Charlie Hebdo cartoons of Muhammad.
Journalist and University of Southern California professor Marc Cooper criticized Baquet’s decision to spike photos of the cartoons for sensitivity reasons as "absolute cowardice" on Friday.
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"[H]ow many people have to be shot in cold blood before your paper rules that you can show us what provoked the killers?" wrote Cooper in a Facebook post.
Baquet hit back at Cooper in the comment section, calling him an "asshole" and describing his comment as "thoughtless and arrogant."
"Dear Marc, appreciate the self righteous second guessing without even considering there might be another point of view. Hope your students are more open minded. Asshole," wrote Baquet.
Baquet went on to call Cooper "pompous" and slammed his criticism of the Times as a "righteous cheap shot."
Baquet later defended his Facebook comments in a statement to Politico’s Dylan Byers.
"Lots of people have disagreed with my decision," he told Politico. "Some of them are in The Times. I get that. Mr Cooper's comment was nasty and arrogant. So I told him what I thought."
Cooper told the Washington Free Beacon that Baquet’s comments to him were "disappointing" and "surprising."
"If he had answered in a civil manner, it would be quite a positive development, because you’d say ‘Oh gosh, here’s an editor at the Times who actually cares what readers think," said Cooper. "Clearly that’s not what happened, clearly this post of mine got under his skin, and he acted like a child and discredited himself. He threw a temper tantrum and really didn’t make many compelling arguments."
Still, Cooper added, "it didn’t ruin my day that Dean Baquet called me an asshole."
"I’m sorry for him, really, that he has such thin skin and acts in such a petty matter," said Cooper. "I suspect he’s very conflicted about this decision."