When Republican Senator Tom Cotton published an op-ed in the New York Times, the staff revolted against its own editorial staff.  They were opposed to his essay, in which he said that riots needed to be constrained by a heavy show of military and police force. 

“One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers. But local law enforcement in some cities desperately needs backup, while delusional politicians in other cities refuse to do what’s necessary to uphold the rule of law,” he wrote.  Later, he pointed out that most Americans agree with him.

“According to a recent poll, 58 percent of registered voters, including nearly half of Democrats and 37 percent of African-Americans, would support cities’ calling in the military to ‘address protests and demonstrations” that are in “response to the death of George Floyd,’” he wrote.

In other words, a Republican senator wrote an essay most Americans would agree with.  What’s the problem?  The New York Times has published op-eds by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkish President Erdogan, and even the leader of the Taliban.  But Sen. Cotton is way out of line?

First, the newspaper changed the headline.  Originally, the headline was, “Send In the Troops.”  (By the way, Sen. Cotton didn’t write that headline, the editors did.)  Then, the newspaper changed it every-so-slightly in an effort to distance themselves from the opinion to “Tom Cotton: Send in The Troops.”  But that wasn’t enough. 

The other New York Times staffers were furious at the editor, James Bennett, who allowed this essay to be published.  He was forced to resign from his position.  Deputy editorial page editor Jim Dao, who had publicly sided with Bennett, stepped off the masthead and was reassigned to the newsroom.

That was fast.

New York Times writer and opinion editor Bari Weiss explained what was happening on the inside for those of us who were startled at the newspaper’s complete implosion.

“The civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes the (mostly 40+) liberals is the same one raging inside other publications and companies across the country. The dynamic is always the same,” Weiss wrote on Twitter. “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.”

“The New Guard has a different worldview, one articulated best by @JonHaidt and @glukianoff. They call it ‘safetyism,’ in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech,” she wrote.

“I’ve been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them,” Weiss continued. “I’m in no way surprised by what has now exploded into public view. In a way, it’s oddly comforting: I feel less alone and less crazy trying to explain the dynamic to people. What I am shocked by is the speed. I thought it would take a few years, not a few weeks.”

She continued to explore what should and should not be allowed in the New York Times, whose motto is “all the news that’s fit to print.”

“I agree with our critics that it’s a dodge to say ‘we want a totally open marketplace of ideas!’ There are limits. Obviously. The question is: does his view fall outside those limits? Maybe the answer is yes,” Weiss said. later alluding to a recent poll. “If the answer is yes, it means that the view of more than half of Americans are unacceptable. And perhaps they are.”

These are powerful, insightful words from Weiss that go beyond the dusty halls of the New York Times.  Andrew Sullivan, a gay conservative columnist for New York magazine, has been told he cannot write about the riots at all, presumably because he would come out against the violence.

All of this is bad for journalism and it’s bad for America.  I’m against cancel culture and all forms of de-platforming.  The answer to “bad speech” is better speech.  More, not less.

That’s what America has always been about.  The New York Times should know this.  It’s alarming they don’t.

About The Author

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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