No Journalistic Principals: Ex-NYT Editor Writes Scathing ‘Tell-All’ On The New York Times Biases After Being Forced Out Over Tom Cotton Op-Ed

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(DailyWire) James Bennet, now a columnist at The Economist, excoriated his former employer, The New York Times, in a damning tell-all about his exit from the Gray Lady.

Bennet told his side of the story of his June 2020 exit from The New York Times in a column published in The Economist on Thursday. The 16,000-word article detailed the Times’ shift away from what Bennet describes as traditional journalistic principles toward a new and “illiberal” news philosophy.

“The Times’s problem has metastasised from liberal bias to illiberal bias, from an inclination to favour one side of the national debate to an impulse to shut debate down altogether,” Bennet wrote.

The article features critical portrayals of the Times’ publisher A.G. Sulzberger and former executive editor Dean Baquet, both of whom Bennet says sacrificed him instead of standing for principles they had previously claimed to believe.

“Since Adolph Ochs bought the paper in 1896, one of the most inspiring things the Times has said about itself is that it does its work ‘without fear or favour.’ That is not true of the institution today – it cannot be, not when its journalists are afraid to trust readers with a mainstream conservative argument such as [Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton’s], and its leaders are afraid to say otherwise,” Bennet said.

Bennet headed the editorial board and section of the Times until he says he was forced out at the paper in June 2020 over a published op-ed written by the conservative Republican Cotton, a staunch ally of then-President Donald Trump. In the op-ed, Cotton had advocated activating the military to protect Americans against rioters and looters who were terrorizing and destroying communities amid mass civil unrest over the death of George Floyd.

The Times’ editorial culture shifted after the paper “almost went bankrupt” during the 2007-08 financial crisis, Bennet said. The paper’s leadership and business managers, worried that the changing times necessitated a change in business strategy to stay viable, began pushing out many veteran reporters and editors to create openings for a younger and more internet-savvy cohort.

Many of those new journalists were poached from outlets such as The Huffington Post. The new journalists, like their former employers, had different ideas about the purpose and principles of journalism, and they imported those ideas to the Times, according to Bennet.

By the time Bennet rejoined the Times as editorial page editor in 2016, the cultural transformation was already well-underway.

The old liberal embrace of inclusive debate that reflected the country’s breadth of views had given way to a new intolerance for the opinions of roughly half of American voters. New progressive voices were celebrated within the Times. But in contrast to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, conservative voices – even eloquent anti-Trump conservative voices – were despised, regardless of how many leftists might surround them,” Bennet wrote.

In recounting the firestorm of those few days between the publishing of the Cotton op-ed and Bennet’s departure from the Times, Bennet said he had some regrets about how he handled the situation, including apologizing for publishing Cotton’s argument.

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