The New York Times apologized on Thursday for publishing an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., that fell wildly outside the boundaries of reasonable political thought, insomuch as those boundaries are policed by the brave culture warriors exported from academia to major newsrooms, self-tasked with ensuring the spectrum of acceptable speech ranges widely, all the way from far Left to radical Left.
Amid nationwide rioting over the killing of George Floyd, Cotton, a combat veteran, penned an article titled, “Send in the Troops.” The senator argued in favor of President Trump using the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military against violent actors. “The American people aren’t blind to injustices in our society, but they know that the most basic responsibility of government is to maintain public order and safety,” Cotton wrote. “In normal times, local law enforcement can uphold public order. But in rare moments, like ours today, more is needed, even if many politicians prefer to wring their hands while the country burns.”
It’s a mainstream conservative position. That, of course, renders it violent racism to educated media liberals drunk on poststructuralism like a freshman chess team that just scored its first handle of Malibu.
More accurately—and more critically—Cotton’s take is just a mainstream position. A Morning Consult poll conducted from May 31 to June 1 “found that 58 percent of voters support using the military to deal with protests and demonstrations across the country, alongside the police.” That is a remarkable and unforgettable statement on how divorced the staff at our country’s preeminent newspaper is from the public it purports to serve and cover.
Times staffers spent 24 hours waging a campaign against their own publication, predicated on the abstract leftist notion that speech can be violent. “Running this puts Black @nytimes staffers in danger,” a group of staffers tweeted.
The paper’s China staffer said it was “surreal and horrifying to wake up on the morning of June 4 – the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown” to Cotton’s headline. The headline, by the way, would have been controlled by the Times, and seems deliberately incendiary given that it barely matched the substance of Cotton’s argument, which defended the option as a historically precedented and appropriate one.
Surreal and horrifying to wake up on the morning of June 4 – the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown – to this headline. pic.twitter.com/vNtiFz3vqq
— Amy Qin (@amyyqin) June 4, 2020
Times reporter Taylor Lorenz said her employer’s decision to run the article “[put] all black Americans in danger.”
And not just NYT staff, running this op-ed puts all black Americans in danger.
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) June 4, 2020
By Thursday evening, after internal conflicts spilled onto social media, the Times apologized for publishing Cotton. The paper also lied, claiming the op-ed failed its fact-checking process, without identifying any factual errors.
NEW: Times spokeswoman sends mea culpa pic.twitter.com/phBVjA21AT
— marc tracy (@marcatracy) June 4, 2020
Major news outlets have made many similar missteps in recent years, as academia rapidly radicalizes students and exports them into newsrooms and boardrooms, where they intimidate and persuade politically sympathetic employers into submission. Sometime in the last decade, when these narrow-minded leftists hit critical mass inside and outside academia, their abstract argument that anti-progressive speech is tantamount to bigotry and violence became an unstoppable force.
To dissent is to enable and enact bigotry, they say. Nobody wants to do that. And so a mainstream conservative senator, impeccably credentialed, is pushed from the pages of the Paper of Record.
The culture does not merely belong to the Left—it belongs to the far Left. The far Left openly believes it is essential to deplatform dissent. Their refusal to meaningfully engage counterarguments is obviously crippling the American Left and its institutions on an intellectual level. (See: the Democratic primary and rising distrust in media.) But more broadly, it’s breeding enormous resentment among a wide swatch of centrists and conservatives, it’s dramatically distorting the news they receive, and it’s invalidating reasonable proposals for debate and reform before they even make it to the damn table.