George Floyd Impact: New York Times in Turmoil Over Op-Ed

June 4, 2020–The New York Times newsroom is in a state of rebellion over an op-ed the newspaper’s opinion section published Wednesday that called for the Army to be deployed into American cities to crush nationwide protests over police brutality and systemic racism.

In reaction to the op-ed, written by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, and titled “Send In the Troops,” dozens of Times staffers began tweeting out the same message on Twitter Wednesday evening in an open show of anger and solidarity. The message, which contained a picture of the op-ed headline along with the caption “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger,” has gone viral and been tweeted and retweeted by journalists and freelancers at other publications as well.

Since the Cotton op-ed dropped earlier in the day, the Times has been subject to a storm of criticism. As anger continue to grow, internally as well as externally, James Bennet, the editor of the Times opinion pages, took to Twitter to explain why the piece was published. “The Times editorial board has forcefully defended the protests as patriotic and criticized the use of force, saying earlier today that police too often have ‘responded with more violence — against protesters, journalists and bystanders.’ We’ve also crusaded for years against the underlying, systemic cruelties that led to these protests,” Bennet wrote.

He added: “As part of our explorations of these issues, Times Opinion has published powerful arguments supporting protests, advocating fundamental change and criticizing police abuses. Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy. We understand that many readers find Senator Cotton’s argument painful, even dangerous. We believe that is one reason it requires public scrutiny and debate.”