David Von Drehle: The New York Times’s New Editor Will Inherit Not Just a Newsroom But a Cult

From a Washington Post column by David Von Drehle headlined “The New York Times’s new editor will inherit not just a newsroom, but a cult”:

News of a new editor to lead the New York Times triggered a memory. Abraham Lincoln was once asked about the glamour of the presidency. He answered with the story of a man who was tarred and feathered. This painful and humiliating mob punishment involved being stripped, covered with hot tar, then showered with plucked feathers that stuck to the blistering goo. In this condition, he was then compelled to perch on a wooden rail to be carried out of town.

As he rode away, the man said: “If it wasn’t for the honor of the thing, I’d rather walk.”

Joseph Kahn, a distinguished foreign correspondent and experienced newsroom manager, has won the high — and often painful — honor of the top job in the United States’ most prominent newsroom. If recent history is any guide, he may find himself sooner or later spitting feathers.

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