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:
NEW: Times spokeswoman sends mea culpa pic.twitter.com/phBVjA21AT— marc tracy (@marcatracy) June 4, 2020
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:
According to one employee, Senator Tom Cotton’s column has netted the Times the highest ever number of cancellations in a single hour. https://t.co/FqT3wD5rWa— Slate (@Slate) June 4, 2020
It's the circle of life:
all these nyt readers should use Trump’s next attack on the newspaper as an excuse to re-subscribe as an act of resistance solidarity, in order to have a subscription to performatively cancel during the next collective woke, signaling, anti-intellectual meltdown— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 5, 2020
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:
Same.— Charles C. W. Cooke (@charlescwcooke) June 5, 2020
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:
1) This was always obvious based on the comments. Most of them were just copy and pasting a dumb slogan without any substantive critique.— (((AG))) (@AGHamilton29) June 5, 2020
2) Telling that there were 3 rounds of edits and NYT still can't point to any actual factual errors. https://t.co/LK5GxE8gdi
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:
The Old Guard lives by a set of principles we can broadly call civil libertarianism. They assumed they shared that worldview with the young people they hired who called themselves liberals and progressives. But it was an incorrect assumption.— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) June 4, 2020
Perhaps the cleanest example of this dynamic was in 2018, when David Remnick, under tremendous public pressure from his staffers, disinvited Steve Bannon from appearing on stage at the New Yorker Ideas Festival. But there are dozens and dozens of examples.— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) June 4, 2020
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:
It's not a good sign that Zack felt the need to all but apologize for the original tweet. In this case, expressing a position held by 90% of American people of color isn't enough. He has to be 'educated,' made to repent.— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) June 4, 2020
This is what is going on in many news organizations. pic.twitter.com/NmAVtS5qWS
I wish I could buy stock in self-flagellation. It's a growth industry. To Weiss' point above, I'll leave you with this:
The “real world” isn’t changing its adherents. Its adherents are changing the real world. They see this as an achievement. Its illiberal excesses, and there are many, must be fought.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 4, 2020
One more thing. Has the New York Times publisher ever read the New York Times opinion pages? "Contemptuous in tone:"
A.G. Sulzberger, NYT publisher, tells the staff the Cotton Op-Ed was 'contemptuous' in tone and should not have been published. In future, fact-checkers will be added to Op-Ed staff & fewer will be published.— Trip Gabriel (@tripgabriel) June 5, 2020