Our Statement on The New York Times' Op-ed "Send In the Troops"
The NewsGuild of New York issues the following statement in response to a clear threat to the health and safety of journalists we represent. New York Times employees will send a letter directly to Times management about their concerns.
We are deeply concerned about the publication today of an Op-Ed piece from Senator Tom Cotton under the headline “Send In the Troops.”
Cotton calls to mobilize the military to “detain” and “subdue” Americans protesting racism and police brutality. His 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.
Our ability to cover this moment of history depends on values the paper has long espoused: a commitment to a balanced and factual report and a promise to readers that we will bring them the unbiased news. Though we understand the Op-Ed desk's responsibility to publish a diverse array of opinions, we find the publication of this essay to be an irresponsible choice. Its lack of context, inadequate vetting by editorial management, spread of misinformation, and the timing of its call to arms gravely undermine the work we do every day. This rhetoric could inspire further use of force at protests — protests many of us and our colleagues are covering in person.
This is a particularly vulnerable moment in American history. Cotton’s Op-Ed pours gasoline on the fire. Media organizations have a responsibility to hold power to account, not amplify voices of power without context and caution.
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