‘Maoist Struggle Session’: Former NY Times Writer Details Newsroom Chaos After Tom Cotton Op-Ed
“It was like Caesar on the floor of the Roman Senate or something … I remember closing my laptop and pouring a huge glass of wine even though it was at like noon. Because I was so f–king freaked out by what we had just witnessed.”
In June 2020 and in the midst of the rampant rioting, looting, and chaos that was taking place in Democrat-run cities in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, the New York Times published an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in which he suggested that the only way to quell the Black Lives Matter/Antifa-led violence was by having then-President Trump invoke the Insurrection Act.
“The pace of looting and disorder may fluctuate from night to night, but it’s past time to support local law enforcement with federal authority,” Cotton argued.
As Legal Insurrection readers will recall, there was an “open revolt” in the paper’s newsroom after the piece published, with many staffers calling in sick and declaring on Twitter that Cotton’s words put their black colleagues’ lives in danger:
NYT reporters in a rare open revolt over the opinion side running Tom Cotton’s op-Ed calling to deploy the military to “restore order.” pic.twitter.com/MgLuR8EunJ
— Alex Thompson (@AlexThomp) June 3, 2020
It's not okay. Black lives matter. Not all opinions deserve a platform, and I join my colleagues in and out of the newsroom in calling for clarification about the decisions that went into publishing this op-ed, and change to guarantee that it doesn't happen in the future.
— Nozlee Samadzadeh (@nzle) June 4, 2020
After all the smoke cleared, the NYT’s editorial page editor James Bennet, who had previously faced heat from Times staffers over his attempts at making the opinion pages more ideologically diverse, was forced by publisher A. G. Sulzberger to resign. Bennet later said of the fallout that the paper “set me on fire and threw me in the garbage.”
In a recently released book on media bias, author and former CNN producer Steve Krakauer interviewed ex-Times writer Shawn McCreesh, who gave an insider’s view of what he says he witnessed as the eruptions unfolded at the time:
“There was like this giant communal Slack chat for the whole company that became sort of the digital gallows,” he told me. “And all these angry, backbiting staffers were gathering there and demanding that heads roll and the most bloodthirsty of the employees were these sort of weird tech and audio staffers and then a handful of people who wrote for like the Arts and Leisure section, and the Style section, and the magazine, which, in other words, you know, it was no one who was actually out covering any of the protests or the riots or the politics. It was just sort of like a bunch of Twitter-brained crazies kind of running wild on Slack. And the leadership was so horrified by what was happening. They just completely lost their nerve.”
“Before we knew it, we were in all these series of town hall meetings basically watching James Bennet defend himself before the Star Chamber, and it was awful,” McCreesh said. “James is a really great guy. We all really respected him, and you can have arguments about the op-ed or whether it should have been run or the editing process. This was something else. It was like a Maoist struggle session.”
“The worst part was that a lot of the people who were stabbing James in the front were the ones that he hired and brought to the newspaper,” said McCreesh. “It was like Caesar on the floor of the Roman Senate or something … I remember closing my laptop and pouring a huge glass of wine even though it was at like noon. Because I was so f–king freaked out by what we had just witnessed. Most of the adults in the room figured that what we were witnessing would pass, and it was just sort of this weird moment where everybody kind of had to get all the s–t out of their system and we’d move on. Very few people realized that what we were witnessing in real time was like a murder. And it was gross.”
This is real “lunatics running the asylum” stuff here, and McCreesh’s account lends credibility to the widespread belief that the so-called “newspaper of record” has become little more than a woke cesspool because he doesn’t appear to be some rock-ribbed conservative with longstanding grievances against the Times.
Not only was he an editorial assistant to leftie columnist Maureen Dowd, but he told Krakauer that he “absolutely loved working” there, though he left in the fall of 2021 to write for New York Magazine, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Eight months after Bennet “resigned,” the paper’s veteran science reporter Don McNeil, Jr. was also forced out after some staffers pitched a fit over McNeil saying the “n-word” contextually after a student asked him about its usage during a 2019 NYT-sponsored student trip to Peru.
More recently, the Times newsroom threw a tantrum over the paper for having the nerve to occasionally present both sides of the gender identity politics debate, with some staffers joining up with radical LGBTQ groups to demand the paper quash any pieces that include, among other things, alternative viewpoints on the wisdom or lack thereof of beginning the gender transition process for children.
As the old saying goes, some things never change, and the periodic Times newsroom freakouts anytime someone deviates from woke narratives are living proof.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —
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There’s no shortage of people who demand that their viewpoint is the only correct one and that all dissenting views must be squashed. This sort of zealotry takes on religious trappings with a narrow orthodoxy, oft repeated phrases like priests at prayer and a desire to punish those who transgress against the orthodoxy by making any sort of public dissent from it. Mostly this occurs on the left but unfortunately this is growing in some circles on the right.
I, myself, am correct about all the things, yet also want everybody else to keep talking, so I can laugh at them.
These clowns, are too bitterly humorless to have a good laugh at even their deplorable inferiors expense. Sad.
If you have time, watch the video. It’s right up this alley, especially to the reaction of Frank Bruni.
In short, it’s not about the news anymore, or a craft profession, but a status symbol and stepping stone among elite, who are often the dumbest in society when it comes to judgment, from which they are usually immune, yet seek to impose their values to the detriment of most others.
I’VE BEEN SCALPED BY MY OWN TRIBE.
by 2020 these folks all knew what was happening.. The Woke virus had already crippled traditional progressive orgs. Old leftwing bastions like the Sierra Club and ACLU were hollowed out by Woke reactionaries.
The old guard baby boomer left were scalped by omni-sexual participation trophy xi/xems; the boys sipping cocoa wearing plaid pajamas had their scalps mounted on the Twitter scoreboard.
We’ve been complaining since the 60s about its ‘liberal bias’, while the NYT scolded us while being accolated as being the world’s best news source.
Well, it was the world’s best misleader – it was being hollowed out and rebuilt, bigot by bigot, by Gramscians who were given free run by their lordly editorial staff (no enemies on the left) until said staff itself was given the boot. All they lack now is the Pravda on the masthead.
“I remember closing my laptop and pouring a huge glass of wine even though it was at like noon.”
Alcohol in the workplace helps explain a lot of stuff I’ve wondered about the NYT.
The news not fit to line a birdcage.
The NYT has always been about printing its narrative, as opposed to facts, but this is a fascinating view of the inmates who think that they run the asylum
This story is the neo-Marxist, identitarian, woke (whichever interchangeable term you want) problem in microcosm.
A minority of talentless hacks tell themselves they are important because they have journalism degrees and work for the NYT, but are resentful for having to start their careers writing for trivial sections of the paper. Maybe they’ve found themselves still writing “lifestyle” pieces after five years or so. When the opportunity to flex their woke muscle arises, they do it with all the zeal and paranoia of a lesbian who has newly converted to a trans-sexual because they see an opportunity to work out on someone of greater status and are encouraged when their tiny little pecking party succeeds.
The NYT can die for all I care. They deserve to be ignored into bankruptcy.
I thought I was wrong on several occasions.
But, I was mistaken.
“the so-called “newspaper of record” has become little more than a woke cesspool”
You just noticed?