Oof: Team Cotton Fact Checks NYT's Embarrassing Quasi-Apology for Running Op/Ed

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Posted: Jun 05, 2020 1:00 PM
Oof: Team Cotton Fact Checks NYT's Embarrassing Quasi-Apology for Running Op/Ed

We covered yesterday's ludicrous meltdown at the New York Times over its opinion editors' entirely reasonable choice to publish an op/ed from Sen. Tom Cotton.  In my analysis, I predicted that the Times higher-ups wouldn't pull down the piece, but their colleagues' bullying message would have been received loud and clear regarding future decisions.  Last evening, the Times compounded its humiliation with this statement:


Pathetic.  The process was "rushed."  The resulting piece did not meet "standards."  The paper's "fact-checking operation" will be reviewed.  There has been no elaboration on any of these assertions.  I fail to see how a timely submission from a sitting Senator on a pressing policy challenge would result in any more of a 'rush' than is typical.  There is no explanation for why the piece fell short of unspecified 'standards,' aside from the political reality that it whipped supposed journalists into a mindless frenzy of outrage.  As in spite of the insinuation, there has been no factual error identified in Cotton's op/ed.  No corrections have been issued  This is just a jumble of words meant to tamp down the waterfall of ostentatious, groupthink-fueled fury among colleagues -- and stop the bleeding among dutifully irate readers:


It's the circle of life:


For his part, Cotton both trolling the Times while discrediting their bogus, desperate, misplaced damage control:

The Cotton team has no idea what the Times is talking about. The senator had fairly recently written two other op-eds for the Times. “Each time,” a Cotton staffer says, “the process was rigorous and somewhat onerous, and that was true of this time as well.” The senator endorsed invoking the Insurrection Act on Monday morning on the Fox News program Fox and Friends, and also on Twitter. He and his team then decided to pitch an op-ed to the New York Times. The original pitch to the paper on Monday was to package together the argument on the Insurrection Act with another proposal, but the editors were interested in a piece focused solely on the Insurrection Act. There was “haggling,” the Cotton staffer says, “over what the angle and point of the piece ought to be.” This negotiation took place with an editor who the Cotton team assumed was working with his superiors on his end.

After several rounds of back of forth Monday and into Tuesday, Senator Cotton accepted the Times-approved topic. Then, the drafting process began, with the senator finishing the final version late on Tuesday. Around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Cotton’s office delivered the piece to the Times.There were at least three drafts back and forth. The Times would send along edits for approval, and the Cotton team would sign off, and then there would be another round. The first two rounds focused on clarity and style, and the last round on factual accuracy. Regarding the fact-checking, the Cotton staffer says, “It was pretty rigorous. We were going into the weeds.” They went through each sentence to make sure that it was supported and that the links said what they were represented as saying. “We were challenged on a couple of things,” he adds, “and actually made changes.” These weren’t earth-shattering changes...This process, with back and forth over phone, email, and text, extended through the morning and afternoon on Wednesday. Cotton and his team then signed off on the final version around 2:30 p.m. It was posted shortly after.

This all sounds rather familiar to others:


It appears as though nothing was rushed, that standards were met, and that fact-checking took place.  It appears as though the Times is inventing nonsense to keep the braying mob at bay. The mob, I'll remind you, that emanated from within its own newsroom.  This seems right:


Times "journalists" didn't merely object to Cotton's ideas, which were ably defended and are inarguably mainstream (here's a compelling counterpoint, for what it's worth).  They objected to printing them, and screamed that they make black journalists less safe.  Bari Weiss, a centrist Times columnist says this internal battle has been 'raging' for some time:


It's pretty clear who's winning.  Meanwhile, at another left-dominated media organization, a comrade in good standing committed a thought crime and was made to repent -- even though his thought crime represented the plainly-stated view of nearly the entire country:


I wish I could buy stock in self-flagellation.  It's a growth industry.  To Weiss' point above, I'll leave you with this:


One more thing. Has the New York Times publisher ever read the New York Times opinion pages?  "Contemptuous in tone:"