Demonstrations for the civil rights of black Americans who have gripped the country in recent days have spilled over into the New York Times corridor, when writers protested the publication of an opinion calling for the military to be brought in to quell the riots.
Writers from all news organizations – including her style part, film team, technology reporters and contributor as well as ex public editor – has criticized the decision of the editor of opinion page James Bennet to run the op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
These authors and others in the Times tweeted, “Running this puts black @NYT staff in danger” above the screenshot of the work. Other journalists and former New York Times staff joined. A Times spokesman did not reply to requests for comment.
In an article published on Wednesday, Cotton said “some of the elites” had forgiven someone “A party of violence in a radical chic spirit” after police killed George Floyd, the reason he said was based on “the disgusting moral equality of rebels and robbers for peaceful and law-abiding demonstrators.” He called for the use of the Rebellion Act, which authorizes the president to mobilize the military “or other means” in “cases of rebellion, or obstruction of the law,” to restore order.
“I might get in trouble for this, but not saying anything would be immoral,” replied Nikole Hannah-Jones, awarded the Pulitzer Prize this year for comments to Project 1619, the New York Times’s exploration of the role of black Americans in US history began with the arrival of the first enslaved African in 1619. “As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American I am very ashamed that we are running this. “
NewsGuild New York, where the unity of the New York Times newsroom is part, stated concern over the move to publish Cotton’s work, said it was “pouring gasoline on the fire.”
Bennet took to Twitter to defend his decision: “The Times editorial board strongly defended protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often” respond with more violence – against protesters, journalists and people standing ‘ We have also fought for years against the fundamental and systemic atrocities that caused this protest.
“As part of our exploration of these problems, the Times Opinion has published strong arguments in support of protests, advocating fundamental changes and criticizing police violations, “added Bennet. “Times Opinion is indebted to our readers to show them counter-arguments, especially those made by people in a position to set policies. We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one of the reasons why public scrutiny and debate are needed. “
The cry by the New York Times writer is one of the most visible and proactive protests by staff in the newspaper in recent years and the latest in a series of controversies involves an opinion page since Bennet was hired in 2016.
The New York Times and its staff are often targeted by President Trump and his conservative allies; the president regularly described profitable and award-winning newspapers as “a failure.”
Under Bennet, the paper opinion pages have brought the views of more conservative writers, including columnist Bret Stephens and editor and writer Bari Weiss.
Stephens, a former deputy editor of the editorial page at the Wall Street Journal, was hired in 2017 in a move to “broaden the scope of the Times debate about important questions.”
But his columns on climate science and other topics have received strong reactions from readers. In December, this paper published a paper Editor’s notes more than Stephens’s column titled “Secrets of Jewish Genius,” reveals that he cited a study by a writer with a history of making racist statements. Stephens said that at the time he did not know that the research promoted racist views and did not support it.
The decision to publish works such as figures such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erik Prince, who founded a private military company formerly known as Blackwater, also sparked controversy.
Bennet also brought new liberal voices, including Jamelle Bouie and Michelle Goldberg.
Employee protests at the New York Times came for a week when workers on Facebook publicly criticized their company for Chief Zarkerberg’s decision not to take action when Trump shared a post including the phrase “when looting begins, shootings begin.”
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