Bill Keller's comment about new Los Angeles Times editor Dean Baquet's hiring techniques seemed vaguely familiar to us. So we took a quick walk down Nexis lane, where found an Observer article from July 30, 2000, when Baquet left our Times for the other one:
[Baquet, and John Caroll, the editor he's now replacing] hit it off. A trip to Los Angeles over a long weekend with his wife a couple of weeks later, then Mr. Carroll made an offer on July 10, then Mr. Baquet accepted. Then, the usual Sturm und Drang: Mr. Baquet told Mr. Keller and Mr. Lelyveld, they began to try to talk him out of it, as they previously had when the Miami Herald approached Mr. Baquet about becoming executive editor there.
Then The New York Times head honchos tried to scare Mr. Baquet off with some patented Times humor. "We did mention to him that there's stuff in the air in L.A. that makes your penis fall off," said Mr. Keller, "and a few things like that." But Mr. Baquet went anyhow.
Who knew the Big Swinging Dicks of journalism took things so literally?