Bengaluru: The death of George Floyd in the United States is a sad commentary on how racism still raises its ugly head.

But sadder and probably, far worse is how the opportunity is used to suppress the very freedom of speech, thought and expression and the very right of fair, just and equitable society that advocates who decry his death, vouch for. 

Michael Goodwin, a journalist has written a riveting article on New York Post on how the standards of New York Times have dwindled over time, especially in relation to the death of George Floyd and how there is an effort to stymie and scuttle contrarian voices. 

Well, as rioters spilled onto the streets and resorted to  mayhem in the guise of champions of rights  of the  underprivileged, Tom Cotton, a Senator from Arkansas wrote an op-ed in NYT backing Trump’s call to summon the military to quell the riots. 

But as it was published, there was a humongous protest by none other than 800 staffers of the publication against it! 

In his piece, Goodwin notes, “Last week’s developments amounted to a hostile takeover of the paper, as a friend put it. It’s an apt description because the 800 staff members who objected to the publication of Cotton’s support for using the military to quell the riots declared their hostility to the fundamental traditions of journalism.” 

The writer further notes that Cotton was the apt man to support Trump’s call because of his credibility on military matters. 

He adds, “Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, was perfect for the job because of his credibility on military matters. The Harvard Law School grad was a decorated infantry leader in Iraq and Afghanistan and serves on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.” 

What’s surprising is that, as the writer notes, there have been no such protests when op-eds were written by those considered to be America adversaries. 

He notes, “Previous op-ed pieces from American adversaries — including Vladimir Putin and the Taliban — brought no such staff complaints. Nor did one from Turkey’s strongman, ­Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the world leader in locking up journalists. But Tom Cotton, an American senator, was beyond the pale.” 

Goodwin also points to the fact that publisher Arthur G Sulzberger had supported the article by the Senator. 

He had said, “I believe in the principle of openness to a range of opinions, even those we may disagree with, and this piece was published in that spirit.”

But Goodwin also notes that there was a change in stance just days later as he called the same article “contemptuous” and said it “should not have been published.”

New York Times has always had an anti-Trump stance. It tried its best sully Trump’s image but as he won the elections despite such stiff resistance, the publication by conceding that it failed to see Trump’s victory. 

Goodwin notes “It is noteworthy that Baquet’s reporters, and not opinion writers, led the attacks on Cotton. Accustomed to having their views rule the news pages, newsroom staffers have been itching to control the opinion pages as well.”

He further laments, “Now they do. Their determination to silence opposing ideas resembles the heckler’s veto that students have been granted on many college campuses. When the rare conservative is invited to speak, the result is more often a riot than a debate.” 

Goodwin notes that it is the “oppression narrative that guides front-to-back coverage on everything, from politics to business to sports to entertainment” in the paper. 

Goodwin further notes, “So the virus of intolerance has conquered The New York Times. It is a safe space, where no inconvenient facts and ideas will be heard.”

And in the most emphatic fashion, Goodwin signs off saying that President Donald Trump has become an object of hate and ridicule and not an object of reverence. 

“Of course, it’s true that nearly everybody at the Times actually hates Trump. But it’s also clear that nearly everybody at the Times has contempt for most Americans, too.” 
At the time of filing this article, there were news reports that James Bennet, the editor responsible for the editorial page of the New York Times had resigned.