The New York Times apologized yesterday for publishing an op-ed by U.S. Senator Tom Cotton after complaints from NYT staff that the article “endangered” black staff.
A “review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards,” a NYT spokesperson said in a statement. “As a result, we’re planning to examine both short term and long-term changes, to include expanding our fact checking operation and reducing the number of Op-Eds we publish.”
Words are not violence. The NYT has published op-eds from a Taliban leader, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and Nicolas Maduro without hesitation. The fact that one of the nation’s leading publications would cave to pressure, and offer a “mea culpa” of sorts for encouraging robust debate by publishing an article by a U.S. senator speaks volumes to the decay of journalism.
And sadly, it’s being accelerated by the coddling of students and anti-free speech culture that is bred on college campuses across the nation.
For years, administrators have told students that they can block out speech they disagree with, under the guise of it being dangerous or threatening. They have offered “safe spaces” as alternatives for conservative speaker events on campus, and even gone so far as to block conservatives from speaking. By giving credibility to intolerant campus leftists, colleges have reassured students that it’s okay to demand the silence of opposing viewpoints. These leftists are now graduating, and becoming key players in Congress, journalism, education, and other powerful institutions across America.
I witnessed this intolerance during my own college experience, when GWU leftists threatened my YAF chapter for daring to bring a conservative perspective to campus through a Ben Shapiro lecture. We were threatened, with posters being hung around campus the day of the event stating “Hey YAF, get security” with an “X” through Shapiro’s face. This, coupled with other incidents of vandalism, threats, and suppression of our free speech were met with no action by university administration officials–creating an atmosphere on campus that treated conservative students as a different class and encouraged reckless behavior of tyrannical leftists.
The best way to counter speech you disagree with is to respond with more speech, not shut down other’s viewpoints.
I've been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them.
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) June 4, 2020
America should expect an increasing number of attempts to stifle debate and discussion as these campus leftists graduate and take positions of power. We must be prepared to fight back, and protect the First Amendment against these attacks.