NYT's Haberman says it's unfortunate criticism has become 'extremely personal'

NYT's Haberman says it's unfortunate criticism has become 'extremely personal'
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Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden leaving New Hampshire early as voting underway The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senators brace for floor fight as trial nears end Mike Bloomberg really gets under Trump's skin — and that's good for Bloomberg MORE said Wednesday that it is “never comfortable” when she and The New York Times become the story and said it was unfortunate that criticism of a story she wrote about former White House aide Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump unleashed: President moves with a free hand post-impeachment The Hill's Morning Report — AG Barr, GOP senators try to rein Trump in Trump's former personal assistant to oversee White House personnel office MORE had become “extremely personal.”

“I don’t like when we become the story,” the Times's White House correspondent told CNN “New Day” host John Berman. “It is never comfortable when we become the story.”


Haberman’s piece on Hicks, published on May 23, was heavily criticized, particularly on the left.

The story, headlined “Hope Hicks Left the White House. Now She Must Decide Whether to Talk to Congress,” was slammed for portraying Hicks's possible defiance of a congressional subpoena as a choice.

The story included a photograph of Hicks, a former model, that was knocked as a glamour shot, and in tweets the Times wrote that Hicks faced an “existential” question on whether to testify.

Haberman said much of the criticism of the story was not about its content, noting reporters don’t choose which photos go with their stories.

“There was a story in question over the weekend people had an issue with. Not only about a photo, and the Times addressed that reporters don’t choose their own photos,” Haberman told Berman. “I regret when a story becomes this much of a controversy if it’s not about the merits of the reporting. We are not above criticism. The tenor has gotten extremely personal. That’s unfortunate.”

Some of the criticism of the story centered around whether Hicks was being treated differently than other people would have by the Times.


But much of the online criticism centered on arguments that Haberman is too sympathetic to the Trump administration and some of her sources.

This criticism sparked a defense of Haberman from a number of reporters, who argued on Twitter that her scoops on the Trump administration had provided the world with a much deeper understanding of the Trump White House.

The controversy and debate deepened on Tuesday when Jonathan Chait of New York magazine wrote a column largely defending Haberman titled, “Of Course Trump Hates Maggie Haberman. Why Does the Left?”

Chait’s article triggered a whole new series of tweets and retweets about Haberman, 45, who joined The New York Times in 2015 after several years covering the White House for Politico.