On Wednesday, The New York Times ran an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) called “Send in the Troops,” advocating for the use of military force against protestors.
Cotton wrote: “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.”
Going against the Times’ social-media rules, op-ed contributors like Roxane Gay, editor Jazmine Hughes and New York Times Magazine reporter Ida Bae Wells condemned the piece.
In a post on Twitter, The New York Times Guild, which counts more than 1,200 members at the company, and The NewsGuild of New York shared a statement: “[Cotton’s] message undermines the journalistic work of our members, puts our Black staff members in danger, promotes hate, and is likely to encourage further violence. Invariably, invoking state violence disproportionately hurts Black and brown people. It also jeopardizes our journalists’ ability to work in the field safely and effectively.”
The post stated that Times’ employees would send a letter directly to management.
Editorial page James Bennet defended the paper’s decision to publish the piece, stating: “Times Opinion owes it to our readers to show them counter-arguments, particularly those made by people in a position to set policy.”
The Times’ decision to run the op-ed comes as journalists increasingly become violent targets at protests.
The Nieman Lab reported earlier this week that U.S. police attacked journalists more than 130 times between May 28 and June 1, many from large news organizations.