New York Times Executives Take Turns Apologizing to Quell Staff Revolt Over Tom Cotton’s ‘Send in the Troops’

New York Times Executives Take Turns Apologizing to Quell Staff Revolt Over Tom Cotton’s ‘Send in the Troops’

The New York Times apologized to its staff on Friday in a lengthy, tense meeting in which the paper’s top editors strongly suggested they will overhaul the oft-controversial and scrutinized opinion page. 

Earlier this week, the Times published an op-ed, headlined “Send in the Troops,” in which Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) enthusiastically called for the deployment of American military forces to suppress the ongoing protests against police brutality. The column sparked immediate criticism from readers and many of the paper’s own staffers, who publicly denounced the decision to publish it.

One by one during Friday’s staff meeting, the paper’s top leaders apologized for the opinion piece. At one point, the paper admitted that it did “invite” Cotton to write the column.

The paper’s controversial top opinion editor James Bennet issued a mea culpa, claiming he let his section be “stampeded by the news cycle,” and confessed that the backlash had inspired him to rethink the op-ed section entirely.

“I just want to begin by saying I’m very sorry, I’m sorry for the pain that this particular piece has caused,” he said, adding, “I do think this is a moment for me and for us to interrogate everything we do in opinion.”

During the Q&A portion of the meeting, Bennet took several confrontational questions from irate staff. When asked why he did not personally read Cotton’s column before publishing it, Bennet said it was “another part of the process that broke down.” He added, “I should have been involved in signing off on the piece… I should have read it and signed off.”



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