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On Wednesday, The New York Times published an opinion piece by Republican U.S. Senator Tom Cotton advancing the mainstream position that the government should use military force to squash the rioting, looting, and violence currently plaguing many American cities amid racial unrest. This rare violation of the newspaper’s left-wing echo chamber has prompted an unhinged public meltdown from the newspaper’s staff and other liberal journalists.
The article itself really shouldn’t be controversial. Cotton condemns the rioting and looting, laments the death of police officers killed in the chaos, acknowledges that a “majority” of demonstrators are peaceful protesters, and calls on the U.S. government to use its legal authority to bring in the American military and end the current state of anarchy.
“One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers,” Cotton writes. “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.”
“The American people aren’t blind to injustices in our society, but they know that the most basic responsibility of government is to maintain public order and safety,” the senator continues. “In normal times, local law enforcement can uphold public order. But in rare moments, like ours today, more is needed, even if many politicians prefer to wring their hands while the country burns.”
I don’t necessarily agree with Cotton’s call to bring in the military, as unacceptable as the current state of chaos may be. There are serious upsides and downsides to consider that come with such a grave move. But it isn’t some radical, fringe position to take—polling shows that 58 percent of voters and even almost 40 percent of black voters agree with Cotton. And regardless, the very point of a newspaper’s editorial page is to publish and demand controversial, differing, and provocative points of view.
Of course there is some limit to what’s acceptable to print, but if you just watched the meltdown that unfolded among liberals on Twitter, you’d have thought the Times published an op-ed defending the Holocaust, or something.
In a coordinated effort, dozens of New York Times employees tweeted that the publication of Cotton’s opinion piece “puts black New York Times staff in danger,” from style reporter Taylor Lorenz to op-ed editor Jen Parker to travel reporter Tariro Mzezewa to China correspondent Amy Qin.
New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, infamous for pioneering the factually challenged 1619 Project, tweeted that “As a black woman, as a journalist, as an American, I am deeply ashamed that we ran this.” Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie compared Cotton’s piece to one “[calling] for forcibly sterilizing every Hispanic immigrant in the country. Should the Times run that op-ed?”
This is absolutely unhinged. And it’s just a small sample of the vitriol and hyperbole that poured out from liberal journalists all night, as both “Tom Cotton” and “Send In The Troops” trended on Twitter.
It’s incredibly concerning that so many of the left-wing journalists at the most influential newspaper in the world and other major liberal outlets are so deeply detached from reality and utterly untethered from the basic principles of editorial journalism. These are the people who decide what stories to cover, how to cover them, who to interview, and who to publish. They reach millions of people every day—and they think that mainstream political positions that offend their politically correct sensibilities aren’t just wrong, but are dangerous and should be deplatformed, even when they come from a U.S. senator.
There’s also something condescending about these journalists, some of whom are white, vilifying as racist a position so many actual black people hold. After all, it is in many cases minority-owned businesses being burned to the ground, not the posh offices of the liberal elite.
So perhaps it’s not surprising that the denizens of the left-wing press are so out of touch. But you should be seriously concerned for the state of American journalism after this.
Brad Polumbo (@Brad_Polumbo) is a libertarian-conservative American journalist and former fellow at the Washington Examiner. His work has appeared in outlets such as USA Today, National Review, and the Daily Beast.