The New York Times is in disarray after its editorial page published an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) that upset its readers and its own staff by calling for using the military to help restore order inside American cities gripped by violence, looting, and crime after the death of George Floyd.
Cotton’s op-ed sparked outrage from the left, including some who argued the Times was putting black lives in danger. Many subscribers said they were going to cancel their subscription.
The Times tried unsuccessfully to quell the outrage. Its editorial page editor, James Bennet, first added a note to the top of the op-ed explaining why the paper published the op-ed.
Then he took to Twitter to explain but was met with more criticism. The paper’s own staff is also reportedly upset. One of its editors, Bari Weiss, tweeted that there is a “civil war” breaking out inside the Times.
The Times’ leadership has scheduled a town hall on Friday to discuss the op-ed with its staff.
Late Thursday, the paper finally caved. A Times spokeswoman said there was a “rushed editorial process” and that the Times would reduce the number of op-eds it publishes.
Cotton’s communications director disputed that they experienced anything different when publishing this op-ed versus previous op-eds at the paper. “We’re curious to know what part of that process and this piece didn’t meet their standards,” she said.
Cotton trolled the Times in a series of tweets.
“How is everyone at the @nytimes doing tonight?” he asked.
Suggest @nytimes staff bring some popcorn to this town-hall meeting.
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) June 5, 2020
The Times’ capitulation comes in contrast to other op-eds it has published.
The paper stood by its decision to recently publish an op-ed by the leadership of the Taliban, which harbored the terrorist group al-Qaeda, which is responsible for the 9/11 attacks and the deaths of more than 2,000 American troops in Afghanistan.
The paper has also published op-eds by authoritarian leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The paper has even published an op-ed by Adolph Hitler.
Former White House official Andrew Surabian mocked the Times:
FOR CONTEXT: The @nytimes has literally previously published ADOLPH HITLER, VLADIMIR PUTIN & the Dep. Leader of THE TALIBAN…but Tom Cotton is too much?
Congrats to all the phony “journalists” hyperventilating about this all day, you did a good job exposing yourselves as hacks!