Dan Gainor: New York Times surrenders to staff revolt over Cotton op-ed as editorial page editor resigns

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

Bruce Springsteen wrote, “No retreat, baby, no surrender.” Clearly, he wasn’t talking about The New York Times which saw the resignation of a top editor Sunday.

The Gray Lady has been setting a surrender record in the past few days that would be the envy of Neville Chamberlain.

The Times, D-NY, ran an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., earlier this week that urged the president to “Send In the Troops” to quell the rioting across the nation. Cotton said President Donald Trump should deploy the Insurrection Act, which is supported by “58 percent of registered voters.”


The paper has been capitulating to the leftist mob, including its own employees, ever since. Times staffers reacted with what the Daily Beast called an “Open Revolt” and forced their bosses to give in to the mob on Thursday, after the bosses initially supported publishing the opinion piece.

First, Times leadership backed off their initial support. Then they held a staff meeting and announced the op-ed wouldn’t be running in the print paper. Late Friday, the paper added 322 words to the op-ed and gave in once more.

That wasn’t enough. On Sunday, the paper announced that “James Bennet, Editorial Page Editor since May, 2016, is resigning effective immediately.”

That’s the kind of resignation people make when their cowardly bosses abandon all journalistic ethics and throw you under the bus. It’s also unclear if “resignation” was code for “You’re fired!”

“Jim Dao, the deputy editorial page editor who oversees Op-Eds, is stepping down from his position,” the paper announced in a story about the public relations disaster.

But there’s more.

Here’s a summary from The Times about the office revolt over the op-ed. “As of Thursday evening, over 800 staff members had signed a letter protesting its publication, addressed to high-ranking editors in the opinion and news divisions, as well as New York Times Company executives.”

The article went on to note: “Dozens of Times employees objected to the Op-Ed on social media, as well, despite a company policy that instructs them not to post partisan comments or take sides on issues.” Just in case you thought the paper was somehow neutral.

Reaction to the news about Bennet was swift.

President Donald J. Trump tweeted mocking the paper: “Opinion Editor at @nytimes just walked out. That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator @TomCottonAR. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom. The New York Times is Fake News!!!" he wrote.

Cotton also tweeted writing, "I'm beginning to suspect that @nytimes is not an objective, unbiased source of news.

New York magazine Washington Correspondent Olivia Nuzzi noted that the whole fiasco had benefited Cotton. “This entire episode could not have gone better for Tom Cotton if he wrote the script himself.”

The Times’s cave-in to its leftist staff became very obvious when it added the Editor’s Note to the op-ed earlier this week.

Here’s the money line to appease the mob: “we have concluded that the essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published.”

“Should not have been published!” Perhaps The Times should change its slogan and have those words appear on every edition of the paper.

More from Opinion

The appeasement continued by whining about “the tone of the essay,” saying it “in places is needlessly harsh and falls short of the thoughtful approach that advances useful debate.”

Wow, “needlessly harsh?” Our cities are burning and being looted, including New York, where this travesty of journalism is published, but let’s not be needlessly harsh.

The paper didn’t hide the reason for its wimp out. It’s there in the first sentence: “this essay met strong criticism from many readers (and many Times colleagues), prompting editors to review the piece and the editing process.”

The parenthetical says it all. Coddled Times staffers were mad that someone expressed an opinion they didn’t agree with.

The result is the far-left Times, one of the most influential news outlets in the nation, is being pushed into complete loony land.

You can’t have that at The Times, where even the allegedly right-leaning staffers regularly take left-wing positions.

Columnist Bret Stephens, who Times employees seem to despise for being right-wing, hates both the Second Amendment and is an avowed Never Trumper. His most recent piece was headlined, “Donald Trump Is Our National Catastrophe.”

But you’re never left enough for The Times now. The paper had already capitulated Thursday night, claiming the Cotton op-ed “fell short of the newspaper’s standards” in a separate article.

Spokeswoman Eileen Murphy pretended “that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards.”

This wasn’t the first time Executive Editor Dean Baquet cowered in front of The Times mob. In August, the paper ran a five-word headline that was skewered by the left, especially at The Times. The headline said simply: “TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM.”


The headline was changed multiple times and then Baquet held an embarrassing staff meeting where he was criticized for not being liberal enough. He admitted “that our readers and some of our staff cheer us when we take on Donald Trump, but they jeer at us when we take on Joe Biden.”

Things have devolved since, which explains the latest freakout. Opinion editor Bari Weiss described the conflict as the “civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes and the (mostly 40+) liberal.”

The result is that the far-left Times, one of the most influential news outlets in the nation, is being pushed into complete loony land. “They call it ‘safetyism,’ in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech,” explained Weiss.


She’s spot on. America’s left has radicalized in ways we’ve seen only in places like Cuba, Venezuela and the old USSR. It’s not just the rioters in the streets. It’s the people who claim to report on the news in an objective way. They have taken the knee and bowed to their woke employees, deciding that opposition voices are not welcome … because they are scary.

Every fight in the near future will be like this — one of safety vs. liberty. And The Times no longer pretends to believe in liberty, just surrender.