New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet said Monday that the newspaper underplayed author E. Jean Carroll’s allegations that President Donald Trump raped her more than two decades ago.
“We were overly cautious,” Baquet told a reporter for The Times.
Baquet was responding to backlash from Times readers who felt that the paper buried Carroll’s allegation, which she laid out in an article published on Friday, that Trump raped her in a department store fitting room in 1995 or 1996.
In an interview on MSNBC on Friday night, Carroll said that she would not consider bringing charges against Trump for the alleged attack because it would be “disrespectful to the women who are down on the border who are being raped around the clock down there without any protection.”
Trump vehemently denied the claims, saying that “people should pay dearly for such false accusations.” No other evidence has emerged to support Carroll’s claim. In an interview with CNN on Monday, she dodged when asked whether she would be willing to provide police with the dress she wore during the alleged attack. Carroll wrote in her essay that she still has the dress she wore when Trump allegedly raped her, and that she has not had it cleaned.
Liberal media watchdogs such as Media Matters criticized what they said was a lack of coverage of Carroll’s story by established news outlets like The Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune.
The Times published an 800-word summary of Carroll’s allegations on its website Friday night. The story was put on the newspaper’s website on Saturday, and in its print edition on Sunday.
Baquet denied that The Times underplayed the story in deference to Trump, who by at least one count, has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than 20 women. He indicated that the paper did not boost the story because it was not based on its own original reporting. He also said that Times reporters spoke with Carroll and two people she said she told about the alleged Trump encounter. The two friends of Carroll’s declined to go on the record.
Baquet added that Carroll’s position as a public figure who went on the record with her claims “should’ve compelled us to play it bigger.”