NYT Magazine Writer Rips Paper’s ‘Both-Sideism’ Over Tom Cotton Op-Ed: You ‘Don’t Just Hand Over Your Platform’ to Air ‘Misinformation’
New York Times Magazine staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones criticized the paper for how it handled itself amid the controversy over Senator Tom Cotton’s op-ed.
Hannah-Jones joined CNN’s Brian Stelter on Sunday to break down the staff revolt at the Times after they published Cotton’s controversial essay. The CNN host noted that A.G. Sulzberger initially defended publishing Cotton’s piece, but between Cotton’s incendiary statements and questionable assertions on the facts, the Times now says the piece “should not have been published.”
Hannah-Jones said the uproar was based on the fact that Cotton’s piece was not subjected to a fact-checking editorial process, which the Times has also conceded. She said the blow-up illustrates how news outlets have a problem where they want to appear bipartisan, but they’re often accused of acting in a partisan way when they apply straight coverage and fact-checking on peoples’ opinions.
“So this adherence to even-handedness, both sideism, 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.”
When Stelter asked Hannah-Jones for her response to those who say this is “liberal intolerance” on display, she doubled down and said free speech doesn’t mean Cotton gets to say whatever he wants without scrutiny.
“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 is offering misinformation to the public unchecked,” Hannah-Jones continued. “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 misinformation and our role as journalists is to give people correct information so they can make decisions.”
Watch above, via CNN.
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