NYT Writer Describes ‘Civil War’ Raging Within Company, Says One Side Believes In ‘Safetyism’ Over ‘Free Speech’

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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The New York Times staff is apparently in the midst of a “civil war” between two groups, with one side pushing for the idea of “safetyism,” NYT reporter Bari Weiss tweeted following public clashes over an op-ed published Wednesday.

NYT employees openly rebelled against the publication’s decision to publish Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed calling for the U.S. military to be potentially deployed in an effort to “restore order” amid nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd.

During the debacle, Weiss, a staff editor and NYT opinion writer, tweeted about the two sides currently at war within the company. Weiss named them as “The Old Guard” and “The New Guard.” She described the situation as a fight “between the (mostly young) wokes [and] the (mostly 40+) liberals,” adding that other publications across the country reportedly are in the midst of similar fights.

“The dynamic is always the same,” Weiss explained. “The Old Guard lives by a set of principles we can broadly call civil libertarianism. They assumed they shared that worldview with the young people they hired who called themselves liberals and progressives. But it was an incorrect assumption.”

The New Guard has a different worldview, one articulated best by @JonHaidt and @glukianoff,” Weiss continued. “They call it ‘safetyism,’ in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech.”

This apparent “safetyism” appeared to be on full display amid the op-ed fight, as many staffers tweeted the same message: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.” Weiss described “safetyism” as an ideology that some of the staffers want.

Weiss continued on to write that it was unsurprising that this battle had “exploded into public view,” although she expected it to take longer. She pushed back on being “mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars.”

“They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them,” Weiss wrote.

Weiss added that much is at stake amid this civil war that is not only allegedly going on within the company, but within media companies around the world.

“The New York Times motto is ‘all the news that’s fit to print.’ One group emphasizes the word ‘all.’ The other, the word ‘fit,'” Weiss wrote. ” I agree with our critics that it’s a dodge to say ‘we want a totally open marketplace of ideas!’ There are limits. Obviously. The question is: does his view fall outside those limits? Maybe the answer is yes.”

Weiss concluded by pointing out a recent poll that showed many Americans agreed with Cotton’s idea of sending in the U.S. military. She wrote that “If the answer is yes, it means that the view of more than half of Americans are unacceptable. And perhaps they are.”

The NYT apologized for running the op-ed after publisher A.G. Sulzberger and editorial page editor James Bennett defended the decision to run it. Cotton went off about the apology on Fox News Thursday evening, saying that the NYT bowed “in the face of the woke mob of woke kids.” (RELATED: ‘It Far Exceeds Their Standards’: Tom Cotton Criticizes NYT For Apologizing ‘In The Face Of The Woke Mob Of Woke Kids’ Over His Op-Ed)