It is truly, wildly, heart-racingly wrong that our black @nytimes colleagues — at THIS moment — have to be put in a position to object to this column. Good God. The sheer obvious unnecessary wrongness of it. I’m struggling with language here. I am so embarrassed & furious & sad. https://t.co/1Q8elDv3tH
— Sam Anderson (@shamblanderson) June 4, 2020
New York Times employees have posted en masse on social media saying that the editorial board’s decision to run an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton, headlined “Send In the Troops” put black Times’ staff members in danger https://t.co/JiV1FCaiac
— Axios (@axios) June 4, 2020
Sen. Tom Cotton’s New York Times op-ed to put military boots on the necks of people protesting police brutality drew exactly the angry reaction he likely relished.
But one interesting reaction was broad condemnation of the staff of the New York Times for the decision to publish the op-ed. They said its incitement to military action jeopardizes the safety of black New York Times staffers who might be covering events when force is applied.
Numerous tweets like the one I’ve shown above appeared on Twitter throughout the evening.
CNN reports on the reaction of Times staff members.
Tom Cotton is unlikely troubled about the welfare of the liberal fake newsers at the Times, though he does seek its platform when it suits him.
Among the critics was Esquire columnist Charles Pierce, who faulted Cotton’s editing even if the decision to run his op-ed was correct. Follow the thread for his comment on Cotton’s comparing use of troops against black lives protests to military protection of the Little Rock Nine.
OK, arguendo, let’s say Bennet’s right. Why was the Cotton piece so shabbily edited?
1) Mixes up “excepts” and “exempts.”
2) Neglects to mention that governors have to request military aid under the Insurrection Act. /1
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) June 4, 2020
The Times itself reported on staff unhappiness. I quote a passage because of its high relevance to political leaders in Arkansas’s insistence that “antifa” is on the ground in Arkansas, despite lack of any demonstrated evidence.
In the essay, Mr. Cotton also described instances of looting in New York City as “carnivals for the thrill-seeking rich as well as other criminal elements” and warned that the antifascism movement “antifa” had infiltrated the marches. (On Monday, a Times article described the theory that antifa was responsible for the riots and looting as “the biggest piece of protest misinformation tracked by Zignal Labs,” a media insights company.)
It is not unusual for right-leaning opinion articles in The Times to attract criticism. This time, the outcry from readers, Times staff members and alumni of the paper was strong enough to draw an online defense of the essay’s publication from James Bennet, the editorial page editor.
“Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy,” Mr. Bennet wrote in a thread on Twitter. “We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”
Critics included a recent Pulitzer Prize winner for work on race in America.
I’ll probably get in trouble for this, but to not say something would be immoral. As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this. https://t.co/lU1KmhH2zH
— Ida Bae Wells (@nhannahjones) June 4,
The NYT decided it fucked up in presenting Cotton’s unedited raving. It will tickle his sorry butt.
“We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication. This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards,” the statement read. “As a result, we’re planning to examine both short term and long term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reduction the number of op-eds we publish.”