Union at NY Times Demands ‘Sensitivity Reads’ to Censor Content

August 5th, 2020 10:35 AM

The Tom Cotton controversy never dies at The New York Times. The News Guild of New York, which represents more than 1,200 workers at the Times, called for a meeting with Times leaders and demanded what they call "sensitivity reads" to provide an “extra layer of vetting” to make the newspaper “more diverse and equitable.” In Cotton's case, that would have meant killing the law-and-order article before it was published.

According to an article written by New York Post reporter Tamar Lapin on Friday:

“Diversity, inclusion and equity is not a static goal. It is an ongoing commitment that must be implemented in every facet of the company,” the Guild wrote in a memo.

The [Guild’s] suggestions include diversifying the paper’s workforce, annually publishing data that includes information on demographics in hiring, promotion and retention and investing in mentorship programs for people of color.

But one proposal raised some eyebrows on social media.

“Get it right from the beginning, sensitivity reads should happen at the beginning of the publication process, with compensation for those who do them," the union wrote on Twitter.

It added in the memo: “Planning of sensitivity reads​ at the start of the editorial process, not at the end.”

The new mandates for political correctness arrive with all the lingo that sensitivity/censorship is needed to "improve the working experience" of the minority employees.

We come to this meeting with a mandate for sustained change and urgency to engage in a very necessary and long-overdue discussion about how to improve the working experience of Black, Indigenous and people of color at the Times, BIPOC@NYT.

The discussion that began with the Cotton Op-Ed and has continued through town halls, slack and all the other ways in which, as Times employees, we communicate with each other, makes clear that we are all invested in the future of the company.

Guild members also stated that they consider this move “the first step in a deeper examination and rebuilding of corporate practices,” and insisted We have the ability to turn this moment into one of ongoing transformation and leadership, both within and beyond our own walls.” 

Conservatives fired back on Twitter. Senator Cotton responded to the guild’s recommendations by asking: “‘Sensitivity reads’ for op-eds? And extra compensation for censoring?" He added that the new motto for the Times should be: “All the news that’s fit to print and assessed for sensitivity by well-compensated woke censors."

Also joining the fray was Daily Wire Editor Ben Shapiro, who asked: “What if we just fire everyone who demands a sensitivity read because it is childish bulls**t?”

No one inside the Times would suggest (or tolerate) hiring a conservative or an evangelical Christian to perform "sensitivity reads" to reflect the experiences of those news consumers. Now that would be painted as censorship.