Journalism is dead. That fact was made abundantly clear by New York Times staff writer and founder of the factually-inaccurate 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones in an appearance on the CNN’s so-called “Reliable Sources” Sunday, where she argued that the media couldn’t legitimately treat the Republican Party fairly because they were a “rogue” organization and being fair would be “picking sides.”
In a segment about The Times’ recent controversy where they were bullied by radical leftists inside the newsroom into apologizing for publishing an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), Hannah-Jones claimed the “main issue” was that Cotton was “in the party of power” and “he wants to use the military to suppress dissent.”
That was a lie. Cotton’s op-ed was about President Trump invoking the Insurrection Act to crack down on the rioters and looters plunging American cities in chaos.
She also asserted Cotton’s piece wasn’t subjected to “the normal fact-checking process that anyone making such claims should go through, and making assertions that our own reporters had discredited through their reporting.”
The idea that The Times would publish something they disagreed with without editing it was so ridiculous it was laughable, especially since multiple editors defended publishing Cotton’s words before the internal pressure became too great.
National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote an extensive report on how The Times had a big role in helping to shape the scope and edit Cotton’s piece. “There were at least three drafts back and forth. The Times would send along edits for approval, and the Cotton team would sign off, and then there would be another round,” he wrote. “The first two rounds focused on clarity and style, and the last round on factual accuracy.”
Hannah-Jones went on to suggest the Cotton controversy was the latest example of the media getting in trouble because they were trying to be fair to Republicans. “But I think so what happened is a larger symptom that we're seeing in news organizations across the country, which is they are really struggling to cover in a way that appears to be nonpartisan a political landscape where one political party has, in many ways, gone rogue and is not following the rules.” She said.
Adding: “But there’s a sense that if you're cover that straight down the line, you look like you are picking sides. So, this adherence to even-handedness, both side-ism, the view from nowhere doesn't actually work in the political circumstances that we're in.”
In reality, the opposite was true: The New York Times is fine with the lies and revisionist history Hannah-Jones published via the 1619 Project despite the warnings of scholarly fact-checkers, because it fits their narrative.
“On August 19 of last year I listened in stunned silence as Nikole Hannah-Jones, a reporter for The New York Times, repeated an idea that I had vigorously argued against with her fact-checker: that the patriots fought the American Revolution in large part to preserve slavery in North America,” wrote Northwestern University historian Leslie M. Harris for Politico back in March.
Hannah-Jones also boasted about the internal outrage against Cotton’s op-ed. “So, let me just say that The New York Times journalists who oppose this column love the institution of The New York Times intensely and also care deeply about journalism.”
So, what did it say about Times reporters that they didn’t have the same outcry against a 2014 op-ed that wanted to destigmatize pedophilia?
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CNN’s Reliable Sources
June 7, 2020
11:15:23 a.m. Eastern
BRIAN STELTER: Staffers at The New York Times told me they've never seen anything like this, the reaction, the internal rebellion an op-ed. The op-ed was by Republican Senator Tom Cotton it was titled "Send in the troops." He was reacting to the vandalism and violence seen in major U.S. cities last weekend.
There was massive backlash from staffers at the paper as well as some readers. There was a planned virtual walkout, there were some cancellations of subscriptions. You can see some reactions here. A number of Times reporters and columnists tweeted out the column and said, “Whoa, running this puts black New York Times staffers in danger.” That was a show of solidarity by staffers of the paper.
Look, obviously, there are times when columns and op-eds in The New York Times cause a lot controversy. That is sometimes the intent of columns and op-eds in The New York Times. What makes this different, I think, is how widespread the reaction was inside The New York Times; with more than 1,000 staffers talking about it in internal chat rooms and by what management then did as a result.
Because at first, The New York Times, published, A.G. Sulzberger acknowledged the concerns but kind of tepidly defending the op-ed, saying: he believes “in the principle of openness to a range of opinions, even those we may disagree with, and this piece was published in the spirit.” The editorial page editor, James Bennett defended the publication saying: “Readers who might be inclined to oppose cotton's position need to be fully aware of it, and reckon with it, if they hope to defeat it.” So, that was his defense.
But hours later, the paper walked back that defense and said: “Whoa, we just reviewed this and we found that a rushed editorial process led to an op-ed that did not meet our standards.” In other words, it shouldn’t have been published at all.
There was a tense town hall meeting with staffers on Friday. Sulzberger said Cotton's piece should not have run and Bennett announced it would not run in print and there’s not going to be many op-eds in the future. On Friday evening, this is more than a day after the controversy started, The Times added an editor's note to the piece explaining the reasoning behind why it was published and what went wrong and expressing regrets and fact-checking the piece.
And all of this is just cannon fodder for Senator Cotton, who went on Fox News and elsewhere blasting The Times saying the paper caved to a mob of woke kids in the newsroom. There are generational divide here but that is not entirely what this is about. There are other aspects as well.
So Let's bring in Nikole Hannah-Jones, she’s a staff writer at The Times and the founder of the 1619 Project. Nikole, what happened from your perspective?
NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: Well, I think we saw kind of a bunch of things occurring at once. The opposition – So, let me just say that The New York Times journalists who oppose this column love the institution of The New York Times intensely and also care deeply about journalism. What was the main issue was that you have a U.S. Senator in the party of power saying that he wants to use the military to suppress dissent, not going through the normal fact-checking process that anyone making such claims should go through, and making assertions that our own reporters had discredited through their reporting. And that was the main concern.
But I think so what happened is a larger symptom that we're seeing in news organizations across the country, which is they are really struggling to cover in a way that appears to be nonpartisan a political landscape where one political party has, in many ways, gone rogue and is not following the rules. But there’s a sense that if you're cover that straight down the line, you look like you are picking sides.
So, this adherence to even-handedness, both side-ism, the view from nowhere doesn't actually work in the political circumstances that we're in. And what a lot of people said is that, you know, it is fine. We as a news organization must air the opinion of someone like Senator Tom Cotton. But in a news article where we can check the facts, where we can push back, that you don't just hand over your platform to someone that powerful making assertions that might have been unconstitutional and most certainly some of them were not accurate.
So, it is not just The New York Times. News organizations have been struggling with, how do you cover where we are politically without always having to get those calls that somehow the coverage is in opposition to the Republican Party as opposed to just covering what is happening.
STELTER: I agree with you that other news outlets are struggling with this as well, these dynamic. But I think there are probably a lot of people who are not even subscribers of The Times, who hear about this who say, “This is just liberal intolerance. What happened to free speech? Just meet more free speech with more speech? That's kind of a bedrock idea.” And are you saying that it's -- that bedrock idea doesn't hold up anymore?
HANNAH-JONES: Well, free speech is not that I as a sitting senator or I as someone sitting in my living room has the right to run my opinions in The New York Times unedited and unchecked. That's not what free speech is. Senator Cotton certainly has the right to write and say whatever he wants in this country. But we as a news organization should not be running something that’s offering misinformation to the public unchecked.
So, yes, we do absolutely believe that his views should be aired. That is necessary that we know someone with this power thinks this way. But that's a different thing altogether than simply allowing someone to say things that are not true, to make assertions that might be unconstitutional without a check.
Many of us journalists said there should have been a news article where his views were aired but in a way that was factual. Because we know we are struggling with Americans getting this information and our role as journalists is to give people correct information so they can make decisions.
STELTER: Yeah, my reaction to the op-ed was, “he’s just overreacting. You know, Everything's okay. These cities can get through this on their own. It was ugly in New York City but we don't need federal troops. I mean, he was just overreacting.