A former New York Times opinion page editor alleges that her bosses refused to run an op-ed submitted by Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) without first getting approval from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Bari Weiss, who resigned from the Gray Lady two years ago citing “bullying” as well as an “illiberal environment” for those with right-leaning views, made the allegation during an interview with Scott on her popular podcast “Honestly with Bari Weiss.”
Weiss’ comments were reported by the news site Mediaite. The Post has reached out to the Times seeking comment.
During the interview, Weiss recalled a discussion among senior Times editors surrounding an op-ed submitted by Scott in the aftermath of the May 2020 police-involved slaying of George Floyd, the 46-year-old black man, in Minneapolis.
According to Weiss, Scott’s office asked the Times to publish an op-ed about a piece of police reform legislation that the senator was working on called the Justice Act.
The proposed bill by Scott, who is the only black Republican in the US Senate, failed to pass due to Democratic opposition. Scott told Weiss that the “Democrats really wanted the issue more than the solution.”
“Well, here’s what happened,” Weiss told Scott. “And this is the part I’m not sure if you know. There was a discussion about the piece and whether or not we should run it.”
Weiss continued: “And one colleague, a more senior colleague said to a more junior colleague who was pushing for the piece, ‘Do you think the Republicans really care about minority rights?’”
“Wow,” Scott said.
“And the more junior colleagues said, ‘I think Tim Scott cares about minority rights’,” Weiss said.
“And then, and here’s the pretty shocking part. The more senior colleague said, ‘Let’s check with Sen. Schumer before we run it’,” Weiss said.
She added that the younger colleague refused to reach out to Schumer due to ethics concerns.
Scott’s op-ed was never published.
“Are you surprised to hear that? Or does that story feel kind of representative of the way the media has treated you and maybe some of your colleagues?” Weiss asked.
“I am disappointed to hear that. I am not surprised to hear that. You have to remember that The Washington Post fact-checked my life,” Scott said.
Last year, The Washington Post was criticized for scrutinizing a claim by Scott, which he made in response to President Biden’s State of the Union speech, in which he said that his grandfather “suffered the indignity of being forced out of school as a third-grader to pick cotton.”
Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler wrote that Scott “separately has acknowledged that his great-great-grandfather, Lawrence Ware, once owned 900 acres in South Carolina.”
“I can’t tell you how disrespectful and dishonoring that entire process was — went on for three or four months as they went through records to find out whether or not my grandfather actually dropped out of the school in the third grade, their records suggested he dropped out in the fourth grade, but still didn’t learn to read,” Scott said of The Washington Post.
“They wanted to know if I had somehow hidden my silver spoon and just was using a plastic spoon instead.”
Scott continued: “And the more they dug, the more they realized that there was no evidence that disproved the fact that I am, who I say I am and that I experienced what I said I’ve experienced.”
“So there is something in national media that wants to frame any conservatives, particularly black conservatives as being disingenuous or insincere or a tool for the conservatives,” he said.
“When in fact the black community is consistently as conservative as any community.”
At around the same time as the Times was considering Scott’s op-ed, the newspaper’s newsroom erupted after it published an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calling for a military response to widespread rioting in the wake of Floyd’s death.
The outrage prompted the newspaper’s editorial page editor at the time, James Bennet, to resign.