New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet has reportedly told his junior staff and readers that the paper's news coverage won't openly side with particular Democratic candidates for president, despite pressure from those constituencies to do so.
In a profile of Baquet, The Guardian reported that Baquet told staffers "the outlet would lose its status if it openly sided with particular politicians." The piece implied that Baquet had been pressured to approve coverage favorable to Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., but did not provide details.
"They probably want a more political New York Times than I’m willing to give them," Baquet said of those staffers. "I hope they will learn over time that a New York Times that plays it straight has much more power and much more longevity."
The Times editorial board endorsed Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination and for president in 2016. The paper has not endorsed a Republican for president since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956.
In the same piece, Baquet blasted the president's attacks on his journalists as "unpresidential" and equivocated on whether Trump is a racist.
“I think Donald Trump says racially divisive things. I think that’s a little bit different. I’m not in his head enough to know whether he says them because he wants to stoke his base," he said.
Baquet's comments appeared to reflect his concern about a widespread perception that the Times is too biased. Vanity Fair previously reported that Baquet expressed concerns that reporters who appeared on certain cable news shows would be "perceived as being aligned" with the show's politics.
The interview also offered a glimpse into the Times' leadership as it faced growing criticism and boycotts from both sides of the ideological spectrum. Republicans often accuse the Times of left-wing bias with Trump repeatedly accusing the publication of spreading "fake news."
In August, Democrats called out the Times for employing a headline implying Trump opposed racism in a speech following the Aug. 3 mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. That shooting was prompted, in part, by anti-immigrant sentiment. Although Baquet later criticized the headline about Trump, he told the Guardian that he wasn't in a position to "know whether he [makes comments] because he is a racist."
Fox News' Joseph A. Wulfsohn contributed to this report.