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The New York Times is catching heat over a new job posting that seeks an opinion editor with a “spine of steel” — fresh on heels of the paper losing three staffers who published controversial columns.
The Grey Lady posted a job ad Wednesday for a deputy opinion editor to help oversee a desk that’s been mired in controversy for much of the past year.
“We’re looking for an editor with a sense of humor and a spine of steel, a confident point of view and an open mind, an appetite for risk and exacting standards for excellence in writing and visual presentation,” the posting reads.
Commentators and journalists slammed the ad’s phrasing on Twitter, suggesting it smelled of hypocrisy following last year’s departures of editorial page editor James Bennet, editorial assistant Adam Rubenstein and columnist Bari Weiss.
“Essentially a complete list of characteristics NOT welcome among Times editors,” tweeted Dan McLaughlin, a senior writer at the right-leaning National Review.
“Someone who fits this description wouldn’t last a day at the @nytimes,” wrote Joe Walsh, a conservative radio host and former Republican congressman.
Newsweek deputy opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon took issue with the want ad’s claim that the Times’ opinion team “aims to promote the most important and provocative debate across a range of subjects.”
“The NYT literally fired James Bennet for doing this exact thing,” Ungar-Sargon tweeted. “It outed Adam Rubenstein and tossed him to the wolves for doing this exact thing. It allowed Bari Weiss to be bullied out of the newsroom for doing this exact thing. Just totally shameless.”
Bennet stepped down last June after the Times published an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) arguing that then-President Donald Trump should deploy the military to quell the Black Lives Matter protests that were sweeping the nation.
The piece, titled “Send In The Troops,” sparked a public protest among Times staffers, many of whom tweeted, “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.” Bennet initially defended the piece, arguing the Times owed it to its readers “to show them counter-arguments,” but later apologized and admitted he didn’t read the article.
Weiss left the Grey Lady about a month later with a scathing resignation letter accusing her colleagues of engaging in a “new McCarthyism” and claiming Twitter had become the paper’s “ultimate editor.”
And Rubenstein, the editorial assistant who edited Cotton’s op-ed, resigned in December, some six months after the initial controversy, according to The Daily Beast.
Spokespeople for the Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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