Journalists at the New York Times criticized their employer’s editorial page for running an opinion piece by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that advocated for the use of the military to quash protests and restore order.
The newspaper headlined the senator’s editorial, “Send In the Troops,” which was met with backlash from several of its journalists and contributors.
The editorial, in the Times’ own words, “argued for the federal government to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would enable it to call up the military to put down protests in cities across the country.”
New York Times editorial page editor James Bennet defended his decision to run Cotton’s editorial because “Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy.
“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,” Bennet said.
The NewsGuild of New York, which represents some journalists at the New York Times, also condemned the editorial because “[m]edia organizations have a responsibility to hold power to account, not amplify voices of power without context and caution.”
The journalists at the New York Times were hypocritical because they did not have much issue with the New York Times editorial page publishing editorials from the likes of Venezuelan socialist leader Nicolas Maduro, Taliban, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Maduro’s editorial headline read, “Venezuela: A Call for Peace,” which editorial ignored the human rights abuses under his regime. Putin’s editorial ran with the headline, “A Plea for Caution from Russia,” resisted then-U.S. policy towards the Syrian civil war. The deputy leader of the Taliban, Sirajuddin Hawwani, wrote an editorial entitled, “What We, the Taliban, Want.” His editorial outlined the Taliban’s demands in peace negotiations.
None of these editorials sparked as much backlash or outcry as Cotton’s editorial.
For New York Times journalists to lambast its employer over Cotton’s editorial, while ignoring its past editorials from dictatorial leaders, was hypocritical and unfair.