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NY Times Editorial Pages Fuck Up Again: Publishes Chinese Official's Ridiculous Defense Of Stifling Freedom In Hong Kong

from the have-some-fucking-standards dept

Back in June, there was a well-documented hubbub about the NY Times Opinion editor's decision to publish a horrific op-ed by US Senator Tom Cotton defending turning the US military on US citizens who were protesting police brutality. Eventually, after widespread protests, including from journalists and staff within the NY Times, the paper admitted that it probably should not have published the piece, and the head of the opinion pages, James Bennet (who admitted he hadn't even read the piece before approving it) stepped down. Many supporters of President Trump and Senator Cotton argued that this was an example of "cancel culture" or an "attack on free speech." Or that it was a sign that some were "unwilling to listen to the other side." However, that was all nonsense. As I explained at the time, the "discretion" part of editorial discretion is important.

The NY Times is not social media. It is not a place where just anybody gets to post their crazy uncle crackpot theories. They have an editorial staff and editorial standards for a reason. And part of that is that people expect them not to publish absolute garbage, such as the Cotton op-ed. It's not about "hearing all sides" or about "free speech." It's certainly not about "cancel culture." It's about recognizing that there are standards for what kinds of things you want to put your own stamp of approval on.

It appears that the folks at the NY Times opinion pages (even without Bennet) have not learned that lesson. For reasons I will never understand, it has decided to give its editorial stamp of approval on the most disgusting op-ed I've seen. A Chinese government official, Regina Ip, was given the prestigious NY Times opinion pages to write a sickening defense of China's crackdown on freedom in Hong Kong. It's sickening. It's garbage. Just to give you a taste of what propagandist nonsense this was:

Something had to be done, and the Chinese authorities did it.

The scale and frequency of antigovernment protests has now subsided — thanks to a national security law for Hong Kong promulgated in Beijing on June 30.

Several prominent democracy advocates have since announced their retirement from politics, disbanded their parties or fled the city.

The West tends to glorify these people as defenders of Hong Kong’s freedoms, but they have done great harm to the city by going against its constitutional order and stirring up chaos and disaffection toward our motherland.

Last year’s prolonged unrest dented Hong Kong’s reputation as one of the best places in the world in which to do business. In March, the Heritage Foundation downgraded the city to second place in its Economic Freedom Index for 2020, citing “ongoing political and social turmoil”; Hong Kong had ranked first since 1995.

This leaves out that people in Hong Kong were protesting attempts by China to do exactly what ended up happening: clamping down on their freedoms and liberty. To say that China had to stamp out liberty because people were protesting for their liberty is... quite a take.

It's also one that does not belong on the pages of the NY Times. This is what editorial discretion is about. Publishing this nonsense is not about free speech. It's not about "hearing both sides." Again, the NY Times is not an open social media platform on which just anyone can post. The value in the brand is supposedly in its discretion and ability to find reasonable intelligent voices to publish their opinions.

And, quite reasonably lots of people are pissed off about this as well... including Senator Tom Cotton, who is correctly calling this decision by the NY Times out as utterly despicable:

I agree with him, but whereas it feels like he thinks they should publish his piece and not the Chinese propaganda, the real answer is that the NY Times shouldn't be publishing either piece. Both were authoritarian claptrap propaganda, pushing dangerous defenses of governments cracking down on public protests and free expression.

I totally understand why many of Cotton's supporters are making similar statements and calling out the Times for hypocrisy, but I do wonder if the NY Times admits it shouldn't have published Ip's piece, will they suddenly rush out to call it "cancel culture" and "anti-free speech" and an "unwillingness to hear both sides"? Or will they recognize that the NY Times shouldn't be publishing this garbage whether it comes from a US Senator or a Chinese government official or anyone. Editorial discretion means not letting obvious garbage to be endorsed by a paper with a reputation like the NY Times. Because continuing to do so only serves to tarnish that reputation even more.

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Filed Under: cancel culture, china, editorial discretion, free speech, hong kong, ny times editorial, opinion pages, regina ip, tom cotton
Companies: ny times


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:08am

    Understanding

    For reasons I will never understand

    It is easy to understand when you realize that the NY Times is filled with bias.

    but I do wonder if the NY Times admits it shouldn't have published Ip's piece, will they suddenly rush out to call it "cancel culture" and "anti-free speech" and an "unwillingness to hear both sides"? Or will they recognize that the NY Times shouldn't be publishing this garbage whether it comes from a US Senator or a Chinese government official or anyone.

    The NY Times demanded for the editor to be cancelled, because they disagreed with the opinion piece; and the editor for the Ip opinion piece will be okay, because they agree with it. Don't hold your breath on a firing this time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:08am

      Re: Understanding

      WOOOOSH!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:18am

      Re: Understanding

      Masnick prefers the readers of techdirt get their propaganda straight from his approved sources. And when the chief suppplier of Western government propaganda (The NYT) steps out of line - Mike feels the need to speak up.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Oct 2020 @ 12:38am

      Re: Understanding

      "It is easy to understand when you realize that the NY Times is filled with bias."

      Every newspaper is filled with bias, as is ever other news source. If you don't understand this, you're even dumber than I thought... and that's impressive quite honestly.

      "The NY Times demanded for the editor to be cancelled"

      Cancelled, as in not paid for the work they do? So.. you're not only against platforms being able to control their property, you're against companies being able to choose who they employ?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:16am

    'We at the NYT will publish ANYTHING someone gives us'

    Delightful, what next, publishing an op-ed arguing that brutal dictatorships are fine and dandy(oops, too late), that vaccines are a huge threat to public safety or that a global conspiracy of lizard people have been hiding the true shape of the earth(a giant d20 of course)? Honestly at this point none of those seem like hyperbole, because it looks like so long as you call it an 'opinion' piece the NYT will print just about anything someone hands them.

    Still, nice to see them make clear yet again that whatever their standards might have been before these days reaching 'rock bottom' is just seen as a chance to break out the shovels and jackhammers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:05pm

      Re: 'We at the NYT will publish ANYTHING someone gives us'

      Isn't the NYT one of the rags which publishes pretty much any old bullshit the State Department puts out? I think they are already in the brutal-dictatorships-are-fine business.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 10:54am

        Re: Re: 'We at the NYT will publish ANYTHING someone gives us'

        Enhanced Interrogation Techniques don't happen on their own.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:52am

    Just noticed too CNN publishing an opinion article from Ted Cruz about
    someone promising not to hit anyone and then beating up a small child and saying.. "well obviously I only meant if they are strong enough to put up a fight, I thought that was pretty clear"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:05am

    Strangely enough, if they'd published the Cotton article and the Ip article at the same time and side-by-side, that would have actually been amazing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:07am

    I take the opposite viewpoint

    Usually I agree with you, Mike. Not this time.

    I'm glad the NYT published the Cotton piece, and the Regina Ip piece.

    I want to hear what these people have to say - even if it's "horrific".

    Nobody ever thinks they're the bad guy. With rare exceptions, people do and say things because they believe in it. I don't think its the job of the NYT to decide who's right.

    Tom Cotton is not some nut in his mother's basement - he's a sitting United States senator. What he thinks, and why, matters. I want to hear it, even if I disagree with it.

    Regina Ip isn't a nobody either - she's a prominent Hong Kong politician. What she thinks, and why she thinks it, will have a big effect on the future of Hong Kong, China, and US-China relations. I want to hear it - in her own words.

    Sure, the NYT should make crystal-clear they're running these as the opinion of prominent and influential people - not as their own opinion. I think they do that.

    But I want to hear what all sides have to say, in their own words, not "interpreted" by somebody else with a different agenda.

    Who knows, maybe I'll even decide they're right.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:34am

      Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

      How far would you care to stretch that standard though? If the leader of the KKK wrote up an opinion piece about how those darkies should shut up and stop bothering their betters with the whole 'stop murdering us' protests, should the NYT or any other 'news' agency give them the time of day? If they find a plague cultists/anti-vaxxer who wants to tell everyone how dangerous those vaccines are, should they get published as well because it's not the NYT's place to decide what's right?

      By choosing to publish such pieces they telling their readers that there is something of worth to be found in what they included, attaching what remains of their reputation to the piece and giving it more credibility as a result, even if the piece absolutely does not deserve it. There may be value in reporting that a prominent person said something horrible, but allowing them to make claims with the equivalent of an open mic is the job of a PR team, not a news agency.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 12:11pm

        Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

        Michelle Goldberg had some thoughts on the Cotton op-ed:

        So the value of airing Cotton’s argument has to be weighed against the message The Times sends, in this incendiary moment, by including it within the bounds of legitimate debate. Everyone agrees that The Times draws those boundaries. The question is where.

        I could be wrong, but I don’t believe The Times would have published a defense of family separation by former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during the height of that atrocity, or a piece by the senior Trump aide Stephen Miller about the necessity of curbing nonwhite immigration. In both cases, I’m pretty sure the liberal inclination to hear all sides would have smacked up against sheer moral abhorrence.

        It’s important to understand what the people around the president are thinking. But if they’re honest about what they’re thinking, it’s usually too disgusting to engage with. This creates a crisis for traditional understandings of how the so-called marketplace of ideas functions. It’s a subsidiary of the crisis that has the country on fire.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Koby (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 12:39pm

        Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

        By choosing to publish such pieces they telling their readers that there is something of worth to be found in what they included, attaching what remains of their reputation to the piece and giving it more credibility as a result, even if the piece absolutely does not deserve it.

        I personally don't mind the NYT publishing the Ip opinion piece, but not because I think that there's value to be found in it. I'm confident that those who desire freedom in Hong Kong to be able to articulate their position much better than the official chinese government mouthpieces. I say put those positions side by side, from the best writers on both sides, and then let people decide.

        Conversely, to not allow any discussion about an opposing viewpoint does not necessarily preserve reputation. It invites the natural curiosity of people, causing them to seek out other sources, which might not offer any rebuttal.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          icon
          seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 10:59am

          Re: Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

          Both-sidesism doesn't work when one side has zero power, leadership or control.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Oct 2020 @ 12:44am

          Re: Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

          "I say put those positions side by side, from the best writers on both sides, and then let people decide."

          I'm not surprised that you're in support of the very reason why American politics is in the gutter right now. This is the disease that's killing you.

          Put it this way - if one guy is talking about how new scientific advances will lead to moon colonisation in the next 20 years and the other guy is talking about how we've never been there because the radiation given off by the cheese at the moon's centre will turn astronauts into mice if they get too close, the correct response is not to give 50% of airtime to the cheese guy. If you do, you inevitably hold back progress.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:52am

        Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

        The leader of any important organization should be listened to. Masnick's, and others, ostrich impersonation is funny and all, but is detrimental to learning.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:41am

      Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

      Tom Cotton is not some nut in his mother's basement - he's a sitting United States senator. What he thinks, and why, matters. I want to hear it, even if I disagree with it.

      Regina Ip isn't a nobody either - she's a prominent Hong Kong politician. What she thinks, and why she thinks it, will have a big effect on the future of Hong Kong, China, and US-China relations. I want to hear it - in her own words.

      Which is precisely why they don't need the New York Times to give them a platform. They already have one.

      But I want to hear what all sides have to say, in their own words, not "interpreted" by somebody else with a different agenda.

      I mean, let's just go ahead and get Godwin out of the way right now; should the New York Times be uncritically printing Nazi propaganda? Just to present "all sides, in their own words", so you can make up your mind for yourself about whether or not nazis are bad?

      Hell, maybe Techdirt should let Shiva Ayyadurai do a guest post to explain how he invented email, has never filed a frivolous lawsuit, and the only reason he didn't win the Massachusetts primary is because of voter fraud.

      If the NYT's goal is to print authoritarian op/eds to show everybody how bad authoritarianism is (much like Principal Skinner protesting that he was only at that burlesque house to ask for directions on how to get away from it), it doesn't need to offer authoritarians a forum to spread propaganda without refutation or criticism. Contrary to Judith Miller's sterling example, the job of the press is not to be a mouthpiece for the government (ours or anyone else's). If the New York Times wants to point out the dangers of authoritarianism, it should do so. It should discuss the reasons people like Cotton and Ip are incredibly dangerous. And if you want to see Cotton's and Ip's perspectives in their own words, "not 'interpreted' by somebody else with a different agenda", there's nothing stopping you. You've got Internet access; the New York Times is not your sole source of information; you have tools at your disposal to do additional research.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        icon
        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

        There are no Nazis in power anywhere in the World - so printing Nazi op-eds would be pointless.

        The views of sitting US Senators or actual Chinese politicians on the governance of CHINA is something people should read about.

        Reading it in the NYT is a lot easier than going to Tom Cottons web site or tracking down which politician has power in Hong Kong and reading that web page.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Oct 2020 @ 7:20am

          Re: Re: Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

          "There are no Nazis in power anywhere in the World - so printing Nazi op-eds would be pointless."

          Well, yea...the best they can do is to get a president to refer to them as "Very Fine People" and repeatedly refuse to openly condemn them.

          But pro forma you are correct. Nazis and their ilk do not have any world leaders openly affiliated with them or their agenda.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:07pm

      Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

      You can report those things without giving a free platform to such authoritarians without comment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 4 Oct 2020 @ 12:39am

      Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

      "I want to hear what these people have to say - even if it's "horrific"."

      The problem isn't that they're being heard. The problem is that an otherwise reputable source is paying them to speak.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 4 Oct 2020 @ 9:43am

        The value of a reputation

        I'm not sure if they're being paid in the traditional sense for an op-ed but even if they're doing it for free they're still being 'paid' in the form of space on a valuable platform that people are more likely to take serious(though at this point I'm not sure why they would...), 'paid' by having their message bolstered by the reputation of the platform they are speaking from and the fact that said platform chose to publish their words.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Oct 2020 @ 2:52am

      Re: I take the opposite viewpoint

      "Sure, the NYT should make crystal-clear they're running these as the opinion of prominent and influential people - not as their own opinion. I think they do that."

      ...and if that opinion piece came with the summary analysis of one of the NYT's own editors, I'd be happy enough.

      But as was the case with Cotton and the OP piece I'm quite sure they don't, so what it looks like is as if the paper is letting space to any inflammatory nonsense as long as it's controversial enough to sell a few extra copies.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    icon
    tom (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 11:47am

    I have just read both Op-Eds. Don't see anywhere in Sen Cotton's piece where he advocated using the Military on peaceful protestors. He was suggesting that troops be used to deal with the other folks using the protests as cover while they burned, looted and destroyed innocent business owner's dreams and livelihoods. Wonder how many of the people who were outraged at Sen Cotton's opinion would feel if it were their homes and businesses being smashed, burned and looted while the police politely stood by on orders to not interfere with 'peaceful protestors'.

    As much as we might wish it was otherwise, Hong Kong is part of Communist China and is going to have to adapt to the Communist way of doing things. This is a fair amount of what was expressed in the Regina lp opinion. Until the Chinese people have had enough of the Communist way, there is little we can do.

    I hope the NY Times keeps publishing these type op-eds. It is good for folks to see thoughts and opinions that make them uncomfortable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2020 @ 12:52pm

      Re:

      "deal with the other folks"

      It's always the other guy until it is you.

      Eventually everyone is an enemy when you treat them like shit.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re:

        Other Folks tried to burn down Federal buildings. That's why the feds showed up.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2020 @ 12:24pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          And what about the retired vet who was beaten and pepper sprayed for asking about their oath to the constitution? He was not setting anything on fire, was not armed, but the feds still had to beat the shit out of him for no reason.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 2:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You actually believe this story?

            Some retired vet just shows up to "ask" some questions in the middle of a riot and is beaten because of what that question was?

            I don't know what is more ridiculous - you believeing it or you pretending to want me to believe it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2020 @ 3:49pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Must be a hoax, huh.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              BernardoVerda (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 4:41pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Saw the video -- so yeah, it's not a matter in question.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2020 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The fact that you can't even believe what you see with your own eyes just goes to show how much of the kool-aid you have already consumed.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 12:59am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                "The fact that you can't even believe what you see with your own eyes..."

                Welcome to the US alt-right, where facts are inconvenient and the conspiracy theory mouthed by some loudmouth on a podcast is obviously more truthful than your own lying eyes.

                Not too hard to understand of course, when priority one, two and three are all varying degrees of "Fuck Liberals! At Any Cost!"

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  That One Guy (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 9:20am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  I still think people should start using that mindless hatred for some entertainment, say by going on about how liberals absolutely hate it when brave conservatives repeatedly punch themselves in the balls, drink laxatives and slam their hands in doors because the wimpy libs would never have the courage to do something so brave.

                  At this point it's obvious that the 'conservatives' absolutely will screw themselves over to 'stick it to the libs', might as well have some fun with their idiocy.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      crade (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      The problem isn't the opinions, the problem is since reality doesn't support the opinions they inevitably have to let them claim "facts" in those sort of pieces that are untrue.

      The excuse that there is an uncontrolled problem with people using the protests as cover for crimes doesn't hold up to the slightest scrutiny.
      China's claim over hong kong is contingent on them not pushing communism on them until min 2047, and regardless the claim that oppressed people can't achieve independence so they should just give up and accept their lot in life is just not supported by history.

      I have no problem with them printing garbage opinions, but in these and other opinion pieces they are both lending their weight to claims of fact and washing their hands of any responsibility for it

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 2 Oct 2020 @ 4:03pm

    Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

    For some reason you never hear anyone state

    “I disagree with what you say but I defend your right to say it.”

    Now the founder believes that some people should be suppressed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2020 @ 4:17pm

      Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

      Now the founder believes that some people should be suppressed.

      Wring, but organizations with influence should be careful about what views they lend support to by publishing editorials. There is a difference between stopping someone publishing their own speech and not helping them to get it in front of the public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2020 @ 3:19am

        Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

        In other words, you do not agree with whom the NYT "lend support" to. Which is fine, because these opinions (Cotton and Ip) are so widespread already to grant them prominent roles in their governments, which in turn means that their base is strong enough to have them elected, and if the same base feels that its view is not represented, it will found new organizations to spread its voice. My guess is that the NYT feels that in these changing times their influence is going down, so they are publishing this as a way to say "hey extremists, we are not sitting in an ivory tower pretending everything is as it was 10 years ago, we do discuss your ideas, and every once in a while we even publish them as well". In a growing extremist environment, moderated entities like NYT have to make a choice, between losing public or changing their editorial policy to reach out to growing numbers of populist public. The fact that they did it both ways is very telling in my view - they feel as if a moderated view is now sitting between a rock and a hard place, commercially speaking.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        icon
        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 12:06pm

        Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

        Are you one of those guys that claim the "material support for terrorism" laws are right when they claim that even publicly linking to widely available information the gov't doesn't approve of is grounds to be jailed?

        That's where your "support" definition resides.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 5:45pm

      Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

      We still support free speech. I support Tom Cotton and Regina Ip saying whatever they want.

      I don't support the NY Times deciding to publish and amplify both opinions.

      Can you tell the difference between those two things?

      Because if not, well, you've got bigger issues to deal with.

      Now the founder believes that some people should be suppressed.

      Not being published in the NY Times is not being "suppressed." The NY Times has never published any of my op-eds. Has my voice been suppressed?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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        icon
        seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

        I can tell the difference between "the most disgusting op-ed I've seen" and a pampered American not willing to accept that other places are not run by the US or share the willingness of Americans to burn those other peoples' shit down.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 5 Oct 2020 @ 9:52am

        Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

        Your position is clear, Mike.

        It's reasonable to argue, here in 2020, that the traditional function of a major national newspaper is moot, given that we have the Internet and everybody gets a soapbox of their own.

        But the NYT is still in business, and still supposedly trying to perform that traditional function.

        I think publishing the viewpoint of major influential players is an important part of that - unedited, in their own words.

        Re some of the other comments:

        Shiva Ayyadurai is a nobody - the NYT has no reason to publish him; nobody really cares what Shiva thinks.

        The head of the KKK would be a "somebody" if the KKK were an influential national movement. It's not - it's a few crazy cranks.

        If it was 1940 and Adolf Hitler was running Nazi Germany, I say publish Hitler's op-ed.

        If the NYT editors feel these viewpoints are wrong (as is obviously the case with most of these examples), they can and should print opposing editorials on a facing page - directly taking down the arguments made.

        But I still want to hear what Hitler, and the Devil, have to say. I want to hear it in their own words.

        If only to understand the enemy better.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 5 Oct 2020 @ 2:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

          But the NYT is still in business, and still supposedly trying to perform that traditional function.

          I think publishing the viewpoint of major influential players is an important part of that - unedited, in their own words.

          If they're trying to perform the traditional function of a newspaper, that of investigation, commentary and reporting then they're doing a bad job of it just posting someone's statements like they are, as that's the job of a PR firm, not a news agency. If they want to turn into a PR firm that occasionally thinks about maybe doing some news then fine, do that, but claiming to be focused on the news while uncritically posting whatever someone in power hands them without comment is not news.

          The head of the KKK would be a "somebody" if the KKK were an influential national movement. It's not - it's a few crazy cranks.

          Not a problem, I'll swap groups, what about if the Proud Boys, a group that was called out by no less that the US President wants to write that op-ed about uppity darkies?

          If the NYT editors feel these viewpoints are wrong (as is obviously the case with most of these examples), they can and should print opposing editorials on a facing page - directly taking down the arguments made.

          That would be better, but it's not what they did, and as it stands now it's rather hard to say that they don't agree with what was posted because they chose to post it, unedited and without comment as far as I'm aware(hell, the first time around apparently the head of the op-ed section didn't even read it before giving it the okay), suggesting that if they don't agree with what was said it's 'just' a case of printing whatever someone powerful enough hands them.

          But I still want to hear what Hitler, and the Devil, have to say. I want to hear it in their own words.

          They have other platforms for that, teams of people that they can pay to spread their opinions on things uncritically, it's not the job of a company playing at 'news' to do it for them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 12:44pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

            Proud Boys are also nobodies (a few cranks). The POTUS thinking otherwise doesn't change that.

            The NTY has traditionally printed op-eds by influential people for over a century. That doesn't mean they endorse what those op-eds say, but it's a way for readers to find out what those people think - in their own words. That's a valuable service - whether it results in changing minds, or in understanding the enemy better, or some combination of both.

            Democracy runs on an informed public.

            Finally, never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 11:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech

              "Proud Boys are also nobodies (a few cranks). The POTUS thinking otherwise doesn't change that."

              Really, the president openly supporting a group doesn't change anything?

              Meanwhile, in reality, racist pieces of shit won't care as much as you do which racist piece of shit organisation spews their hate on the NYT opinion page, they will all listen.

              "The NTY has traditionally printed op-eds by influential people for over a century."

              Yes, and they don't usually print anything by anyone, especially not in an era where the right-wing propaganda outlets they already use outnumber the NYT.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 5 Oct 2020 @ 9:51pm

          Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

          "I think publishing the viewpoint of major influential players is an important part of that - unedited, in their own words."

          But, it is irresponsible to off that platform without comment or rebuttal, in direct contradiction to its own journalistic aims.

          Your argument would hold weight if it were also standard practice for, say, Rupert Murdoch's outlets to regularly also print left-leaning op eds. But, it's not. They use their op eds to print equally inflammatory right-wing screeds. In that environment, the responsible thing for the NYT to do is to allow a platform to the voices who would not get a look in elsewhere, not to give even more weight to the fascists.

          "If it was 1940 and Adolf Hitler was running Nazi Germany, I say publish Hitler's op-ed."

          Exactly. the problem. After World War 2 had begun and Goebbels was already a master at propaganda, you'd argue that one of the few remaining opposing voices to the upcoming holocaust should give another free platform to amplify the message of the fascist regime?

          "But I still want to hear what Hitler, and the Devil, have to say. I want to hear it in their own words."

          You can already hear them loud and clear, you don't have to give them a free megaphone.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 12:48pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

            Rupert Murdoch does not publish the New York Times. The NYT has, for the last 100+ years, held a special place in American journalism not exactly filled by any other outlet (the Wall Street Journal - owned by Murdoch, and the Washington Post - Bezos come close but haven't been doing the same).

            As I said, one can argue that things have changed; maybe they have.

            But the NYT is trying to act as if they haven't changed.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 11:08pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech

              "Rupert Murdoch does not publish the New York Times. "

              No he doesn't. He publishes a significant amount of their competition, meaning that the groups he supports already have unquestioning newspaper outlets to spew their vitriol - outlets that will not give opposing views a look in. Why are you demanding that they get another free platform?=

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 12:56pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

            Let me point out something pretty basic-

            Free speech isn't a good idea because it makes the speakers feel better.

            We don't support free speech, and enshrine a right to it in the 1st Amendment, because we want to hear what people say, or because we think it's good that people say stuff.

            Free speech is good because it provides feedback to the rest of society and the powers that be - feedback we need to correct things that are going wrong.

            We support free speech because we NEED to hear it - despite not wanting to hear it, and not wanting other people to hear it. Because that speech gives us - all of us - critical information that we need to make better decisions about the future.

            And history has shown, over and over, that suppressing free speech leads to bad outcomes in the long run - worse outcomes than are caused by the speech itself. This is one of the central insights of the Enlightenment.

            So, yes, I think we need to hear what Hitler and Goebbels say. It will help us understand them, understand what their supporters see in their philosophy, and how to undermine their support and defeat them.

            Shutting them up only makes us weaker.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 11:11pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech

              Sigh... free speech is unaffected whether or not the NYT hand over free advertising to fascists.

              "We support free speech because we NEED to hear it"

              You can hear it. Why are you claiming that fascists don't have a voice unless the NYT give them a free platform?

              Oh right, I'm talking to someone who thinks that in 1940 - 18 months into World War 2 - after the night of the long knives, Kristallnacht, the invasions of Poland and France, coming up to the Battle For Britain he'd still need the NYT to tell him whether he wants to support Hitler...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 1:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

          "The head of the KKK would be a "somebody" if the KKK were an influential national movement. It's not - it's a few crazy cranks."

          The KKK might be crazy kranks - but there are more than a "Few" of them. And bear in mind that whatever their flavor of hatred they'll march in lockstep with the american neo-nazis, New confederates, Proud Boys, the various Boogaloo gangs, and every redneck with a perceived grievance over "immigrants and liberals" taking his job.
          And although they might not march in the same protest and wave the same flag the doom cult evangelicals tend to vote the same way the former do.

          Trump didn't get to around 30% by sane or educated people voting for him. He got to where he got because the same people steadfastly cast their vote the same way every election - on whoever promises to "Fuck Liberals" the hardest.

          "If the NYT editors feel these viewpoints are wrong (as is obviously the case with most of these examples), they can and should print opposing editorials on a facing page - directly taking down the arguments made."

          That's the way a real journalist would do it yes. But whether it's due to being lazy, no longer knowing what journalism is, or because of manpower shortage that's not how many papers actually do it.

          "But I still want to hear what Hitler, and the Devil, have to say. I want to hear it in their own words."

          ...because we can't afford to not hear the rallying cries of the marching death cults.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            OldMugwump (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 12:50pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

            Better to hear those rallying cries than to ignore them.

            If you want to defeat an enemy, it's more than a little useful to understand him.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Oct 2020 @ 11:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech

              "Better to hear those rallying cries than to ignore them."

              ...and if you're not already hearing them you're being wilfully ignorant.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 10:52am

      Re: Remember when TechDirt supported free speech?

      TechDirt makes better money with the fake free speech support combined with fake SJW worrying. You can always tell when these guys become free-marketeers about commercial editorial control versus actual free speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 2 Oct 2020 @ 10:33pm

    Fourth Estate Problem

    This is not an NYT, FOX, or CNN problem. This is a Fourth Estate problem.

    Once upon a time, politicians of all stripes were afraid of the Fourth Estate, because if a politician did wrong, their career got destroyed -- couldn't win an election for dog catcher. Generally. It wasn't a perfect system, but what human system is?

    Then the Fourth Estate learned the "Rules of Acquisition" and became the Fourth Prostitutes, seeking money glorious money...their mantra is money and they have forgotten their role in society.

    The problem with being a prostitute is that you have to do a lot of service, in order to get the money. So all the issue of the Fourth Prostitutes are now servicing one agenda or another: Some do it for one side; some for the other; some do it for whoever comes around waving money; and some do it if someone comes around threatening to stop up a money flow.

    It's gotten so bad that the press is routinely physically attacked -- with impunity. Used to be that the only thing worse for your career than hurting a reporter was shooting a cop. These days they can't even work up a good ire for fear of annoying someone they're servicing.

    I am sure NYT publishing these articles was just a good day's servicing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2020 @ 3:26am

      Re: Fourth Estate Problem

      I don't agree - news organizations were always commercial and had to turn a profit at the end of the day, except some rare cases. But even if you take the government funded BBC, and look at their tone, they radicalized many of their messages as well. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that the shift to the internet model, which runs on the money generated by online advertising, massively turned the table in favor of inflamatory 3 minutes reads which can be instantaneously shared with friends to trigger some discussion. People now look for immediate emotions when they quickly go through their mobiles, much less for intellectual stimulation. It is a completely different news consumption model, compared to what it was only a few years ago. And it needs new messages.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2020 @ 5:00pm

        Re: Re: Fourth Estate Problem

        Technically commercial newspapers weren't the first - previously they were a defacfo party line and you needed a big market to be able to support an independent one. If you see a say "The Springfield Federalist" they were originally a political party arm as they could afford it. The agendas were transparent at least but there isn't much else to say in their favor with organizations like that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:43am

      Re: Fourth Estate Problem

      The press is not routinely attacked in the US.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Talmyr, 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:55am

        Re: Re: Fourth Estate Problem

        Except by Trump and his lackeys. Especially CNN. So I call BS.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          icon
          seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 12:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Fourth Estate Problem

          Complaining about what someone says or writes is not an attack.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2020 @ 3:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Fourth Estate Problem

            Then why does donald complain about the press attacking him?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Annonymouse, 4 Oct 2020 @ 8:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fourth Estate Problem

              Hey didn't your favorite former president routinely go after reporters on the qth? He didn't lambast the press in the media like carrot top does but instead clandestinely investigated and incarcerated reporters that didn't toe the line. Funny that.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dickeyrat, 3 Oct 2020 @ 2:24am

    Keep in mind that Tom Cotton held a prominent place on Blump's original short-list proposing a new Supreme/Republican Court justice, released just prior to Judge Ginsburg's demise. Cotton, for one, welcomes his new Fascist overlords, to whom he giddily pledges his unconditional sycophancy and his blind, dribbling devotion.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      icon
      seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      I though Cotton was supposed to be one of the fascist overlords. He is a US Senator.

      Maybe you are just a little hysterical.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    seedeevee (profile), 3 Oct 2020 @ 11:03am

    Censorship

    Looks like techdirt has earned a few things from Communist China . . .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2020 @ 4:32am

      Re: Censorship

      Another person that thinks freedom of speech means you can demand others publish your words, and keep the available for people to read. Neither is true, as freedom of speech simply means that the government will not stop you publishing your words at your own expense.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2020 @ 6:46am

    the same US Senator Tom Cotton that supports the KKK and actively as a side-line helps them raise funds and escape justice for harassment and assault?

    yeah he's a piece of shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2020 @ 6:48am

    Hong Kong hasn't had economic freedome since before 1997.

    If you want to do business there, you pay the local politicians MASSIVE bribes or you can get the fuck out.

    Facebook, Google and a ton of other companies have paid their under-the-table bribes to do business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2020 @ 9:49am

    Mike never had this kind of energy against the Cotton piece. The only thing I will say is that sinophobia is ingrained in American discourse. Libertarians like Mike leave their opposition to Cotton being posted in the NYT in uncertain terms but not this particular op-ed somehow this one is outright the "most disgusting" piece of propaganda....

    White nationalism/supremacy is just a matter of opinion on how bad it is.

    A situation on Hong Kong in which the reporting is murky from all sides due to who is implicated in it i.e. China an official U.S. enemy which has been target of all sorts of propaganda throughout the decades, has an official "explain" what happens to be their perspective on it and now it crosses the line.

    White Americans are so full of crap that they can put up with minorities being fucked up, shot and killed by the U.S. then turnaround cry bloody murder at China with cherry picked sources.

    Those Hong Kong protests are more than meets the eye and whats been reported in western media which is disgusting inaccurate on purpose due to political reasons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Oct 2020 @ 9:51am

    The whole reason the protests started was due to some disgusting asshole killing his girlfriend and fleeing to taiwan, which does not have a formalized extradition treaty with China, as H.K. is still part of China, no longer a british colony (y'know cuz of british imperialism).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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