Project Veritas Causes Tensions to Flare Among New York Times Staff

From POLITICO Playbook:

THE NYT’S PROJECT VERITAS QUAGMIRE — At a Thursday lunch in the New York Times Washington bureau, upset reporters pressed executive editor DEAN BAQUET about a recent sting operation targeting national security reporter MATTHEW ROSENBERG.

Project Veritas, a group that has singled out journalists and Democrats in undercover operations, posted a pair of videos this week showing Rosenberg divulging details about sensitive newsroom dynamics and disparaging his colleagues. Rosenberg suggested that the media was overhyping the siege on the Capitol on Jan. 6, scoffing at colleagues who were there that day who said they were traumatized, and blasted what he called left-leaning younger Times reporters wrapped up in a “woke” culture influencing coverage.

The videos immediately caused tensions to flare among Times staff, according to more than a half-dozen reporters who were granted anonymity to speak candidly. During the Thursday lunch, multiple reporters said they were upset about Rosenberg dissing their own coverage and badmouthing his coworkers.

Baquet, the Times staffers told us, responded by criticizing Rosenberg for being careless and stupid. But he said that Project Veritas is trying to “make our heads explode” and divide the Times, and that they should not play into the group’s hands.

The Times comms staff declined to comment, and Rosenberg did not respond to requests for comment. But as WaPo’s Jeremy Barr tweeted last night, Baquet has blasted Project Veritas before. In 2017, he chided the group for ensnaring a junior-level employee. While the reporter said “really stupid stuff,” Baquet said at the time, he pinned most of the blame on Project Veritas.

“The greater sin wasn’t his, it was theirs,” he said. “They’re just awful.”

Those comments reflect the mixed feelings over the current situation among many reporters at the Times. While some reporters told us that management needs to address this issue or even want to see Rosenberg punished, there’s deep concern about fueling Project Veritas’ work.

The group has used hidden cameras and/or false identities in an attempt to catch members of the media or Democrats saying embarrassing things. It has recently singled out New York Times reporters who have written about the group’s tactics as well as an ongoing Justice Department investigation over how the group obtained Biden’s daughter ASHLEY’s diary.


Project Veritas has also sued the New York Times for defamation.

Many at the Times — even those unhappy with Rosenberg — view the latest Project Veritas hit as an attempt at intimidation. And they’re loath to be seen as reacting to such tactics, which they say have crossed a line into harassment.

Complicating the situation further, the group in the past has released videos that were later found to be selectively edited or misleading. That has led some at the Times to want to give Rosenberg the benefit of the doubt.

– This item was reported and written by Rachael and White House reporter Max Tani.

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