It will not surprise you, even if it will surprise James Bennet, that journalists of color don’t like fascism to be Both Sidesed:
Staffers at The New York Times are in open revolt Wednesday after the paper’s opinion section ran a column from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) calling upon President Donald Trump to “send in the troops” in response to nationwide protests against police brutality.
In a column titled “Tom Cotton: Send in the Troops,” the notoriously hawkish, pro-Trump senator called upon the president to mobilize the military to shut down protests across most major U.S. cities, despite the objections of both local officials and Trump’s own defense secretary.
In response, dozens of Times staffers began tweeting the same message, alongside an image of the headline: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.”
Among those tweeting in solidarity were a diverse swath of editorial and production staffers, including restaurant critics, art and graphics producers, travel, style and culture reporters, tech writers, and Times opinion writers like 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.
Bennet’s response is just pathetic “marketplace of ideas” bullshit:
He continued: “As part of our explorations of these issues, TimesOpinion 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.”
In direct response to Bennet’s comments, Times film critic Manohla Dargis fired back: “No and no and no – you’ve made one too many bad decisions and clearly should not have run this.”
It’s not just that the Times very obviously doesn’t owe its readers exposure to fascist op-eds, it’s that nobody actually thinks it does. There are plenty of ideas that would be considered beyond the pale if submitted as op-eds, and when the Times asserts that this isn’t one of them it’s sending a message. Nor does a United States Senator need any particular platform, or would the Times be unable to convey his views in a news piece. It’s nonsense all the way down, and it’s clear a lot of reporters have had enough.
Free speech is when I express my opinion. Censorship is when you tell me that opinion sucks— Adam Serwer🍝 (@AdamSerwer) June 4, 2020