Amid the ordinary comings and goings of Washington and New York, today was mostly a day of goings—and their dissection.
- In an extraordinary interview with Dean Baquet, who succeeded the summarily ousted Jill Abramson as the New York Times’ executive editor, NPR’s David Folkenflik asked Baquet if it was true that maps on the walls of the Times’ Washington, D.C., bureau were strategically placed to cover holes that Baquet was rumored to have punched through the sheetrock.
- “I have a temper,” Baquet replied. "In each case I was mad at somebody above me in rank. That's not an excuse, but it's a fact." However, he contended that he never, ever told Times managers that “it's me or Jill.” (He let the holes in the walls speak for themselves.)
- Note that in the media narrative of the Times contretemps, it’s always been Abramson described as the femme brutale, while Baquet’s interpersonal skills are lauded.
- In other news, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney surprised media mavens with his announcement, during the daily post-lunch-hour press corps briefing, that he would be stepping down, leading to an avalanche of Twitter jokes by journos. e.g., Slate’s David Weigel: “They had to let Jay Carney go. Doesn’t this joker know you wait until much, much later on Friday to break news?”
- President Barack Obama made a surprise visit to the press room to bless Carney with a rather awkward-looking hug (h/t @kenvogel), and introduce Carney’s replacement: Josh Earnest, whom Obama said had come quite honestly by his last name. (That guy’s really gonna need that symbolic flak jacket that gets passed from press sec’y to press sec’y.)
- And poor Eric Shinseki, pretty much forced to resign his post as secretary of Veterans Affairs after Democrats joined the ranks of Republicans calling for his head. Never mind that the scandal now tagged with his name began under the last administration. Now, there’s a guy who probably should have punched a few walls.