One by one this week, New York Times staffers started tweeting “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger” along with the screenshot of an op-ed by Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) titled “Send in the Troops.” On Thursday night, Seth Meyers entered the fray.
As the Trump administration “defends violent crackdowns on peaceful protesters,” the Late Night host called out the Republican Party as a whole and Sen. Cotton in particular for “openly embracing calls for military violence towards American citizens.”
Meyers highlighted this line from the “chilling” op-ed: “One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.”
“Holy shit, dude, did you steal that line from General Hux?” the host asked. But as “sinister” as Cotton’s piece was, Meyers said “the more shocking thing is that the Times opinion page chose to run it.”
“I mean, what are you guys doing?” he continued. “Democracy’s on a precipice and you decide to give it a push? Just because it’s a terrible opinion doesn’t mean it deserves to be on The New York Times op-ed page.” He compared it to running a piece with the headline, “Baby Seals Are Asking for It, Club Away.”
Pushing back on the initial defense from editorial page editor James Bennet, Meyers said, “You’re not legally obligated to run a fascist for military occupation in your newspaper. Tom Cotton’s a senator, he has plenty of ways to get his opinion out there.” He suggested C-SPAN before joking, “Alright, that’s a bad example.”
“But if your policy is that you’re going to run bad columns full of lies for the sake of hearing counter-arguments,” Meyers said, “then I’m officially requesting that you run my op-ed, ‘James Bennet’s Favorite Movie of All-Time Is Cats.’”
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