New York Times staffers bitterly complained on social media today after the newspaper’s opinion section ran a column from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton that called on President Donald Trump to “Send in the troops.”
Cotton, a notoriously pro-Trump supporter, asked the President to mobilize the military to quell civil unrest in many major US cities. The column was titled Tom Cotton: Send in the Troops.
While Los Angeles and Washington, DC, among other cities, have brought in the National Guard, there are some holdouts resisting troop insertion, including New York City.
Many NY Times staffers began tweeting a similar message in response to Cotton’s column alongside an image of the headline (see below): Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.:
The Times staffers were a mix of editorial and production, including restaurant critics, graphics producers, culture reporters, tech writers and opinion writer Roxane Gay.
“Surreal and horrifying to wake up on the morning of June 4 – the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown – to this headline,” wrote Times China correspondent Amy Qin.
The newspaper had no official immediate comment. However, editorial page editor James Bennet said in a Twitter post that “The Times editorial board has forcefully defended the protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often have ‘responded with more violence — against protesters, journalists and bystanders. We’ve also crusaded for years against the underlying, systemic cruelties that led to these protests.
“As part of our explorations of these issues, Times Opinion has 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. 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.”
Times film critic Manohla Dargis dissented. “No and no and no – you’ve made one too many bad decisions and clearly should not have run this.”
The Times also published a blistering letter from a reader that said, in part, “I strongly disagree with Mr. Cotton’s suggestion to use U.S. troops to suppress the protests occurring throughout the country. I disagree even more strongly with The New York Times’s giving Mr. Cotton a platform to express his views. His extremist rhetoric only serves to fan the flames of division and suppression.”
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