New York Times Pitched Sen. Tom Cotton on ‘Send in the Troops’ Op-Ed Topic

The paper had said Thursday that a “rushed editorial process” led to the op-ed’s publication and that the piece “did not meet” its standards.

Last Updated: June 5, 2020 @ 1:56 PM

More details about the “rushed editorial process” that led to the New York Times’ publication of Sen. Tom Cotton’s call to “send in the troops” to protests were revealed Friday in an interview with Cotton’s staff and a phone conference for Times employees.

Business Insider’s Patrick Coffee tweeted a tidbit from the Times town hall, writing, “From New York Times town hall: op-ed team pitched the piece TO Tom Cotton. Not the other way around.”

National Review Online, a leading conservative publication, published a chat with a Cotton staffer Friday, too, which seemed to align with how Coffee characterized the editorial process.

According to NRO, Cotton pitched a different op-ed to the Times and, after some back-and-forth on Monday and Tuesday, agreed to the topic suggested by the paper, which was a piece focused solely on the Insurrection Act. The senator’s original proposal, per NRO, was one that packaged an argument on the Insurrection Act with “another proposal.”

Thursday, the Times cited a “rushed editorial process” for the publication of the piece, which it said “did not meet [its] standards.”

“We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication. This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards. As a result, we’re planning to examine both short term and long term changes, to include expanding our fact checking operation and reducing the number of Op-Eds we publish,” said a spokesperson in a statement to TheWrap.

Calling it “a clear threat to the health and safety of journalists we represent” Wednesday, the New York Times guild harshly criticized the paper’s decision to publish the opinion piece, which urged the U.S. military to crush the George Floyd protests.

A representative for the Times did not immediately respond to a request for further comment Friday.

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