Sulzberger’s apology

At Politico, Hadas Gold reports that New York Times publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. is making a personal appeal to subscribers who canceled because Bret Stephens transgressed some tenet of the religion of “climate change” (f/k/a “global warming”) in his debut as a Times columnist. Say it ain’t so, Pinch!

Sulzberger’s apology reiterates the adherence of the Times’s to every jot and tittle of the faith as well as the Times’s commitment to continued evangelization. Have no doubt! I thought some readers might be interested in taking a look at the whole thing. Here is the text of the email message Sulzberger sent out yesterday afternoon to readers who cited Stephens as the reason for canceling their subscriptions (internal links omitted, whole thing with links posted here, via Chris D’Angelo/Huffington Post):

Our customer care team shared with me that your reason for unsubscribing from The New York Times included our decision to hire Bret Stephens as an Opinion columnist. I wanted to provide a bit more context. Every subscriber to The Times is a stakeholder in our work and, as such, you are entitled to an explanation of our strategy and actions.

First, it’s worth underscoring that The Times’s newsroom, which functions separately from our Opinion department and is led by executive editor Dean Baquet, has sharply expanded the team of reporters and editors who cover climate change. No subject is more vital. Here are a few recent examples that demonstrate the depth of our commitment to this story:

• Our architecture critic, Michael Kimmelman, worked with the photographer Josh Haner to show, quite vividly, how rising waters threaten China’s cities.

• We featured a detailed look at nearly two dozen environmental rules, regulations and other Obama-era policies rolled back during President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

• The reporters Damien Cave and Justin Gillis presented a devastating firsthand account of the profound trouble facing Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

• A recent issue of the Sunday magazine dedicated to the climate’s future asked: “How do we live with the fact that the world we knew is going and, in some cases, already gone?”

• And the reporters Nadja Popovich, John Schwartz and Tatiana Schlossberg expertly distilled public opinion data about climate change into a series of six maps.

This journalism is unrivaled in its sophistication and imagination. The support of our subscribers is what allows us to pursue such ambitious stories all over the globe. I encourage you to sign up for a free newsletter from our climate desk to discover future stories and insights.

Meanwhile, The Times’s Opinion pages remain an independent and unblinking forum for debate from a wide range of viewpoints among open-minded, informed writers and readers. I don’t think, in these polarizing and partisan times, there’s anything quite like it in American journalism.

As on so many consequential questions these days, Americans on the right and left are talking past each other about how best to address climate change, and we are determined to put these different points of view into conversation with each other in hopes of advancing solutions.

We feel very fortunate to have a principled, independent-minded conservative writer like Bret Stephens join our team. Bret’s work has joined a running debate in our pages that has also recently included Bill McKibben, a founder of the climate advocacy platform, warning that, “President Trump’s environmental onslaught will have immediate, dangerous effects,” as well as the Times editorial board arguing for a carbon tax. We have, as always, invited our readers into this conversation, too, publishing their letters and comments as the debate has unfolded.

Our editorial page editor, James Bennet, and I believe that this kind of debate, by challenging our assumptions and forcing us to think harder about our positions, sharpens all our work and benefits our readers. This does not mean that The Times will publish any commentary. Some points of view are not welcome, including those promoting prejudice or denying basic truths about our world. But it does mean that, in the coming years, we aim to further enrich the quality of our debate with other honest and intelligent voices, including some currently underrepresented in our pages. If you continue to read The Times, you will encounter such voices — not just as contributors, but as new staff columnists.

I’m grateful for the support you have provided to our journalism in the past, and I hope you may consider supporting it again in the future. You’ll always have a home here at The Times and we welcome your feedback at [email protected]

Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr.
The New York Times