James Bennet is a guy you’ve heard of but don’t remember. The New York Times, of course, needs no introduction. The two names were connected in a news item early last month.
Another item last week makes them both timely again.
So James Bennet was the opinion editor of the New York Times. As the title indicates, his job was to manage the opinion pages for the world-famous newspaper. By all accounts, he did a fine job.
Right up until he got cancelled.
As it turns out James Bennet did not understand today’s snowflakes – many who work in the New York Times news room.
Unlike the title ‘opinion editor,’ calling the New York Times news room a ‘news’ room, is not an apt title.
That’s true largely because the ‘news’ room has become more about opinion and less about news. And things can get confusing when the news room is more concerned with opinion writing than the opinion editor.
But that’s what got James Bennet cancelled.
For those unfamiliar, ‘getting cancelled’ happens when you say or do something that upsets the People Better than You and Me. It can be something as minor as a text message from 15 years ago, a comedian who makes a joke The Mob dislikes or – what James Bennet did.
Getting cancelled typically means a person loses a job or a career. James Bennet lost his job. Whether his career remains is intact remains to be seen.
His offense was publishing an opinion piece on the opinion pages that was the ‘wrong’ opinion.
This is stupefying stuff.
The very purpose of the opinion pages is to offer readers a variety of opinions. James Bennet’s sin was he offered an opinion that the people-once-called-reporters at the New York Times did not like.
The piece in question was written by Sen. Tom Cotton. In it he called for the use of U.S. troops to protect federal property in cities consumed by riots, looting and violence. Agree, disagree – whatever, it was simply one man’s opinion.
Yet it upset the liberal ‘reporters’ so much that they demanded Bennet’s job.They got it.
A similar story surfaced again two weeks ago with an editorial writer for the same newspaper resigned.
Bari Weiss quit the Times. She said the workforce at the newspaper – those objective, just-the-facts, search-for-truth reporters – were so hostile, so bullying to any ideas other than their own, that it was a place where she could no longer work.
As we said, this is stupefying stuff.
This is the very substance of Communist regimes, where only ‘approved’ thought is accepted. It’s bad enough this happens in a free country, but what makes this especially outrageous is it happens at a newspaper.
Newspapers were once staunch defenders of the First Amendment. But today at the New York Times, free speech is not as important as proper speech.
Unfair? You decide.
The Times last week published an opinion piece from a Chinese scientist about the China virus. That’s fine. It was published on the opinion pages. It was his opinion.
Yet only a very young child could not understand that this piece was approved and blessed by the Communist dictatorship that murders and imprisons people.
Yet not a murmur was heard from ‘reporters’ at the Times.
So the most powerful ‘newsroom’ in the world blesses propaganda from a country that actually does condone slavery – yet this same ‘newsroom’ becomes enraged when a combat veteran and U.S. Senator has his say.
An objective media is a key to the success of representative government and preserving freedom.
The groupthink we see today at the New York Times – and so many other news outlets – is a threat to both.
DAN HAMMES is publisher of the Gazette Record.