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Tipsheet

Uh Oh: New York Times Caught in a Lie About Former Editor's Allegation of Flagrant Bias?

Bari Weiss was an editor at the New York Times before very publicly resigning two years ago, citing the newspaper's dysfunctional and bullying internal culture.  She has since built a minor online empire of her own, including an invaluable Substack platform that we quote or cite in this space from time to time.  Weiss also hosts a popular podcast, on which she interviewed Republican Senator Tim Scott about his new book last week.  During their discussion, Weiss told Scott about a shocking episode she witnessed while working at the Times.  Leah wrote about this development last week, but in case you missed it, here's a summary:

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According to Weiss, Scott’s office asked the Times to publish an op-ed about a piece of police reform legislation that the senator was working on called the Justice Act. The proposed bill by Scott, who is the only black Republican in the US Senate, failed to pass due to Democratic opposition. Scott told Weiss that the “Democrats really wanted the issue more than the solution.” “Well, here’s what happened,” Weiss told Scott. “And this is the part I’m not sure if you know. There was a discussion about the piece and whether or not we should run it.”  Weiss continued: “And one colleague, a more senior colleague said to a more junior colleague who was pushing for the piece, ‘Do you think the Republicans really care about minority rights?’” “Wow,” Scott said. “And the more junior colleagues said, ‘I think Tim Scott cares about minority rights’,” Weiss said. “And then, and here’s the pretty shocking part. The more senior colleague said, ‘Let’s check with Sen. Schumer before we run it’,” Weiss said. She added that the younger colleague refused to reach out to Schumer due to ethics concerns. Scott’s op-ed was never published.

It's an extraordinary allegation. A senior New York Times editor suggested that Republicans broadly don't care about minority rights -- in the context of arguing against running an op-ed by a minority Republican -- and then instructed a more junior colleague to allow the Democratic leader of the US Senate to effectively wield veto power over whether the paper ran the piece.  Weiss said the junior editor declined to follow this guidance, and Scott's essay was rejected by the Times.  This is the same place at which journalists revolted after the paper ran a piece authored by another Republican Senator, arguing that the military could be used to help quell violent riots gripping a number of American cities in the summer of 2020.  That editorial decision, to print an op-ed espousing a mainstream idea, triggered a meltdown, including the departure of the 'offending' editor (a similarly insane episode took place at another big city newspaper around the same time).  As for Weiss' accusation, the Times denied its veracity.  Does that render the claim an unknowable she said/they said quagmire?  Not so fast.  Enter National Review, with this scoop:

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Not only is there a second source confirming what happened, there's a paper trail, too.  It looks like the Times not only declined to run Scott's op/ed based on flagrant bias from a senior editor, that editor really did suggest that subordinates reach out to Schumer, as if he were some sort of gatekeeper for what was fit to print in the so-called 'paper of record.'  And when they got called out on it, it appears as though they either issued an ignorant denial, or actively lied.  Quite a look.  I'll leave you with my comments about the media's increasingly aggressive partisanship on Media Buzz, as well as another fresh example of credibility-destroying ideological agendas driving 'news' coverage:

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