Writers for the New York Times say that the publication put their black colleagues “in danger” by running an op-ed written by Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton.
Cotton’s op-ed, published Wednesday, called for the U.S. military to be potentially deployed to “restore order” amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd. Some of these protests have been peaceful, while others have turned violent and destroyed communities.
Cotton’s call, which followed President Donald Trump’s vow to deploy the U.S. military if states did not call in the National Guard, sparked backlash among NYT writers, who shared the same message Wednesday on Twitter:
“Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”
NYT reporters in a rare open revolt over the opinion side running Tom Cotton’s op-Ed calling to deploy the military to “restore order.” pic.twitter.com/MgLuR8EunJ
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) June 3, 2020
“Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger *and* it’s FUCKING DUMB AS SHIT. I stand with my colleagues,” NYT columnist Kyle Buchanan added. (RELATED: NYT Caves To Backlash, Changes Headline About Trump’s Vow To Deploy US Military Amid Riots)
Styles editor Lindsey Underwood, Styles reporter Taylor Lorenz, writer Caity Weaver, staff writer at NYT Magazine Jenna Wortham, senior editor of digital storytelling Kwame Opam and freelance journalist Jacey Fortin were just a few others at the publication who tweeted the message.
— Sandra E. Garcia (@S_Evangelina) June 3, 2020
Sewell Chan, the former NYT editor for the opinion side, tweeted that “the decision to publish @SenTomCotton calling for troop deployments to quell unrest falls short of sound journalistic practice.”
Chan continued to explain the op-ed’s apparent failings in a lengthy thread. He noted that Cotton “calls for ‘an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers'” and wrote that the senator “offers no evidence that existing law enforcement efforts—by National Guard troops, county sheriffs, city police departments—is failing.”
The former editor added that “the Cotton piece isn’t original, or even timely.”
“#TruthMatters, and I will always read and love @nytimes,” Chan wrote. “But the richest, largest and most powerful newspaper in America needs to exercise discretion and prudence in the use of its platform. This fell far short.”