Multiple New York Times staff members are protesting an op-ed published in the Times by GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, writing on social media, “Running this puts Black @nytimes staff in danger” alongside a screenshot of the piece.
Cotton’s op-ed, titled “Send in the Troops,” calls for the U.S. military to be sent in and use an “overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers” amid nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd.
By Wednesday evening, dozens of Times staffers, journalists from other organizations and writers protested the piece by sharing the same message of “danger” for Black NYT staffers. Sewell Chan, a former NYT op-ed editor and now the editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times, also criticized the Times for running the piece, saying it “falls short of sound journalistic practice.”
And late Wednesday, the paper’s union condemned the decision to publish Cotton’s article, calling it “a clear threat to the health and safety of journalists we represent.”
In response to the pushback from NYT staff and readers alike, James Bennet, the Times’ editorial page editor, defended the paper’s decision to run the piece and said the opinion section has also published “powerful arguments supporting protests, advocating fundamental change and criticizing police abuses.”
“Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy,” Bennet wrote. “We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”
A spokesperson for the Times did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
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