First Rule of New York Times: Do Not Talk About New York Times

Following hidden camera video, paper of record tells employees to 'walk away' if 'unexpectedly approached'

March 15, 2022

The New York Times on Monday advised employees against talking with strangers about their work for the New York Times.

"Take extra care if someone unfamiliar to you asks you to talk about The Times," Deputy Managing Editor Clifford J. Levy and Senior Vice President Cynara Charles-Pierre wrote in a Monday memo to employees. "Please be aware that this could be an effort to surreptitiously record you with audio or video."

The memo is a reaction to a hidden camera video released last week that shows Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg calling his younger colleagues "little dweebs" and "f—ing bitches" for "going on about their trauma" from the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Twitter on Wednesday suspended an account that attempted to share the video.

Rosenberg in the video called the mainstream media's reaction to the riot "over-the-top" and said he and two colleagues "were just having fun" during the riot.

"I know, I'm supposed to be traumatized," he joked.

Rosenberg's take on the Capitol riot differs starkly from the position that has appeared in the Times's reporting, including in pieces that Rosenberg has cowritten. Rosenberg's byline appeared on a story this year that criticizes claims that "Jan. 6 was no big deal" as revisionist history.

The Times does not want similar videos to come out, the memo indicates.

"If you're unexpectedly approached or feel uncomfortable in a situation, the best course of action is to remain calm, say nothing, and walk away," Levy and Charles-Pierre advise employees.