New York Times staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones during Sunday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Reliable Sources” took issue with her employer claiming Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) recent op-ed calling for the use of the military to help with the unrest in the U.S. cities as not meeting the standards of the newspaper.
The Times’ decision to run the op-ed caused friction within its newsroom. Many subscribers also said they would cancel their subscription because of the opinion piece.
According to Hannah-Jones, who covers racial injustice for The New York Times Magazine and created of the so-called 1619 Project, the Times should not be adhering to “both-sideism” or running “misinformation” that goes unchecked, especially amid “the political circumstances that we’re in.”
“[T]his adherence to even-handedness, both-sideism, the view from nowhere doesn’t actually work in the political circumstances that we’re in,” Hannah-Jones argued. “And what a lot of people said is that, you know, it is fine. We as a news organization must air the opinion of someone like Senator Tom Cotton, but in a news article where we can check the facts, where we can push back, that you don’t just hand over your platform to someone that powerful making assertions that might have been unconstitutional and, most certainly, some of them were not accurate.”
She added, “Senator Cotton certainly has the right to write and say whatever he wants in this country, but we as a news organization should not be running something that is offering misinformation to the public unchecked. So, yes, we do absolutely believe that his views should be aired, that it is necessary that we know someone with this power thinks this way, but that’s a different thing altogether than simply allowing someone to say things that are not true, to make assertions that might be unconstitutional without a check. Many of us journalists said there should have been a news article where his views were aired, but in a way that was factual because we know we are struggling with Americans getting misinformation. Your role as journalists is to give people correct information so they can make decisions.”
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