The New York Times demoted a high-ranking Washington editor on Tuesday in response to his “serious lapses in judgment” on social media, a spokesperson for the paper said.
Jonathan Weisman, who joined the Times in 2012 and most recently served as deputy Washington editor, sparked multiple outrages on Twitter in recent weeks. He deleted a July 31 tweet implying that two congresswomen of color, Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), weren’t really from the Midwest and that Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), the Alabama-born civil rights leader, wasn’t from the Deep South.
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Last week, Weisman tweeted that the progressive political action committee Justice Democrats had backed an Ohio primary challenger “seeking to unseat an African-American Democrat, Joyce Beatty.” He didn’t mention that the challenger, Morgan Harper, was also black, as she pointed out in response.
Weisman also demanded an “enormous apology” from Roxane Gay, an author and a Times op-ed contributor, after she criticized his exchange with Harper. Gay posted Weisman’s request, noting that he had also contacted her publisher, HarperCollins.
In a statement last week, the Times said Weisman “repeatedly displayed poor judgment on social media and in responding to criticism,” and that the paper was “closely examining what to do about it.”
Times executive editor Dean Baquet mentioned the Weisman situation during a Monday staff meeting, though he devoted more time to other issues and recent controversies, according to The Daily Beast. (CNN first reported Weisman’s demotion).
Weisman met with Baquet on Tuesday “and apologized for his recent serious lapses in judgment,” a Times spokesperson said in a statement to POLITICO.
“As a consequence of his actions, he has been demoted and will no longer be overseeing the team that covers Congress or be active on social media,” the spokesperson continued. “We don’t typically discuss personnel matters, but we’re doing so in this instance with Jonathan’s knowledge.”