ANALYSIS: New York Times Puts Non-White Lives In Danger

October 1, 2020

The New York Times is being criticized for publishing a lengthy op-ed defending the Chinese government's authoritarian crackdown in Hong Kong. Under the headline, "Hong Kong Is China, Like It or Not," the Times granted valuable journalistic space to Chinese politician Regina Ip to denounce pro-democracy protesters for "stirring up chaos and disaffection toward our motherland," and defending government-led efforts to postpone elections.

A Washington Free Beacon analysis of the newspaper's decision to publish the controversial opinion piece determined that the New York Times was putting the lives of people of color at risk by effectively endorsing an authoritarian regime that considers pro-democracy advocacy to be a form of domestic terrorism. The dangerous op-ed also threatens the lives of professional journalists attempting to report on the situation in Hong Kong, and empowers a regime that views the media as the enemy of the people.

On the same day the op-ed was published, Chinese authorities arrested dozens of pro-democracy protesters for unauthorized assembly. The Chinese government has been cracking down on such protests with greater intensity since a new national security law approved in June empowered them to combat so-called "subversive" anti-government activity. Thousands of protesters have been arrested in Hong Kong this year.

"Something had to be done, and the Chinese authorities did it," is how Ip describes the Chinese government's crackdown on pro-democracy activists in the pages of the New York Times, an organization that only recently agreed to stop getting paid to publish Chinese propaganda on its website.

It is merely the latest example of what former Free Beacon podcast guest Matthew Continetti called "The Dialectic of Woke." America's elite cultural institutions, such as Hollywood, the NBA, and the New York Times, have assumed an activist role when it comes to promoting "social justice" at home, but are aggressively nonchalant about the erosion of democracy, or even ethnic cleansing, in places like China. Turning a blind eye to the genocide of Uighur Muslims, for example, is simply the cost of doing business in the Chinese market.

Not surprisingly, the criticism directed at the New York Times for publishing Ip's op-ed pales in comparison to the woke conniptions that erupted in June after the paper published an opinion piece by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), who called for military force to prevent violent unrest in America's cities. Opinion-page editor James Bennet was forced to resign after critics accused him of recklessly endangering Black lives, and the lives of journalists.

Former New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan, among others, agreed with the angry mob that Cotton's views "should be known, but not amplified and normalized within the prized real estate that is the op-ed page of the New York Times." If there is any sort of standard by which elite media institutions are attempting to conduct themselves, it's not clear why Chinese government propaganda should be more deserving of that "prized real estate," or why Cotton's op-ed involved a topic of "life-and-death importance," whereas Ip's does not.

But there isn't any standard. Obviously.