The New York Times angered journalists and progressives by deciding not to publish the audio recording of an interview conducted with White House policy adviser Stephen Miller, citing confusion over its original ground rules.
New York Times reporters Julie Davis and Michael Shear spoke with Miller—one of the chief architect's of President Donald Trump's border policies—for their story on how and why the Trump administration decided to enforce separations of illegal immigrant parents and children at the border.
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Adweek reporter Josh Sternberg reported the White House did not want the Times to run the recording on "The Daily," Michael Barbaro's daily news podcast, and asked the newspaper not to use it.
The NYT spoke to Stephen Miller on the record with audio and they spiked it because the White House "were not comfortable using the audio…when they found out his voice was going to be on a podcast they were not happy about it. So they asked us not to use it."
— Josh Sternberg (@joshsternberg) June 19, 2018
Davis explained she and Shear interviewed Miller "the week before last" and the White House did not want the audio to be used once "The Daily" decided to do an episode based on the conversation.
Actually @shearm & I interviewed Miller WH before last for our piece on the evolution of the family separation tactic, & after the fact, The Daily decided to do an episode based on that conversation. WH would not allow audio to be used.
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) June 19, 2018
*week before last, that is…
— Julie Davis (@juliehdavis) June 19, 2018
At the beginning of "The Daily," Davis instead recounted her interview with Miller to Barbaro. Ultimately, the New York Times public relations account tweeted out an explanation.
— NYTimes Communications (@NYTimesPR) June 19, 2018
"We conducted an extended White House interview with Stephen Miller for a weekend story about the Trump administration's border policy. Miller was quoted, on the record, in that story," the Times said.
"After the original story was published, producers of ‘The Daily' planned to talk with the reporter and use audio excerpts from the Miller interview," the paper continued. "White House officials objected, saying that they had not agreed to a podcast interview. While Miller's comments were on the record, we realized that the ground rules for the original interview were not clear, and so we made a decision not to run the audio."
"But to reiterate: the Times made extensive use of the Miller interview in both the original weekend story and ‘The Daily.'"
Progressives became upset at what they viewed as the Times bowing to the White House even though the interview was on-the-record.
HuffPost covered the controversy with the headline, "New York Times Caves to White House on Stephen Miller Interview."
"Bowing to pressure from the White House, the New York Times did not include in its news podcast an audio clip from an on-the-record interview with Stephen Miller, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump," HuffPost reporter Sara Boboltz wrote.
Splinter writer Katherine Krueger sarcastically called it "brave stuff from the Times," according to Fast Company.
brave stuff from the Times https://t.co/4nU8vPLBYz
— Katherine Krueger (@kath_krueger) June 19, 2018
The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald called the Times decision "too incredible to believe."
This seems too incredible to believe. Definitely interested in hearing from the NYT if that happened. https://t.co/0y6NPGIX3P
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) June 19, 2018
Press critic Jay Rosen said the White House's comfort level is "not normally a factor" in such a decision.
This seems odd. Unless the Times felt that it miscommunicated about the audio somehow. What the White House is comfortable with is not normally a factor. https://t.co/cACSzlVXUG
— Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) June 19, 2018
Mediaite compiled other angry responses to the Times decision.
Stephen Miller designed the plan to snatch migrant children from their parents. The NYT now won't run his on the record statements because it makes him "uncomfortable".
It's more important to NYT to placate white supremacists than to speak the truth about the abuse of children. https://t.co/A5KYgQ76aB
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) June 19, 2018
The New York Times asks Stephen Miller, architect of the most vile supremacist policies of this administration, for approval on their editorial output. Pathetic. https://t.co/g3I3WxboJE
— Anil Dash (@anildash) June 19, 2018
I can't answer for the decision, as I'm not the NYT's ombudsman. I *do* think it's noteworthy that Trump notoriously loved how vehemently Stephen Miller would stick up for him on the TV, but now the WH is skittish about having people hear his voice defend child separation. https://t.co/AAU7RfvtTF
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) June 19, 2018