Story vs Story

Sen. Cotton and a Taliban leader got an op-ed on the NYT: one could not be tolerated

On June 3, 2020, The New York Times published an op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton about the George Floyd protests and concurrent rioting. The headline, which was written by The Times, not Senator Cotton, is: "Tom Cotton: Send In the Troops".

One passage reads: "The pace of looting and disorder may fluctuate from night to night, but it’s past time to support local law enforcement with federal authority. Some governors have mobilized the National Guard, yet others refuse, and in some cases the rioters still outnumber the police and Guard combined. In these circumstances, the Insurrection Act authorizes the president to employ the military “or any other means” in “cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.”

Another speaks of "cadres of left-wing radicals like antifa infiltrating protest marches".

As described by Fox News: "The publication sparked a revolt among Times journalists, with some saying it endangered black employees".  The NYT states they "concluded that the essay fell short of our standards". Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned following the backlash for the op-ed.

On Feb. 20, 2020, the NYT published an op-ed by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the deputy leader of the Taliban, with the headline "What We, the Taliban, Want". In it, he writes. "I am convinced that the killing and the maiming must stop". As CNN reported in the article What the New York Times didn't tell readers about its Taliban op-ed is shocking, the article omitted Haqqani's crimes and his status as a "specially designated global terrorist". About the NYT's article Mujib Mashal, the Times’s senior correspondent in Afghanistan, tweeted: “The piece... omits the most fundamental fact: that Siraj is no Taliban peace-maker as he paints himself, that he's behind some of most ruthless attacks of this war with many civilian lives lost”. There are no notes about the NYT standards for this op-ed.

We compared the mentions of the two op-eds in left-leaning media in the month following their publication
to see if giving a platform to a Taliban leader without contextualizing his terrorist activity and allowing a Republican Senator to express a controversial opinion had a similar impact. Click on Show data to see the results.

Sources include ABC News, CBS News, CNN, HuffPost, Los Angeles Times, NBC News, New York Times, Politico, The Hill, USA Today, VOX, Washington Post

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