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Bari Weiss claims NYT editors wanted to ‘check with Chuck Schumer’ before running op-ed by Tim Scott

A senior editor at The New York Times wanted to ‘check with Senator Schumer’ before running an op ed by a Republican senator, a former employee has claimed.

Bari Weiss, who left the paper in July 2020, described being taken aback by the newsroom response to Tim Scott’s article.

Scott, the only black Republican senator, who represents South Carolina, submitted an article about his proposals for police reform following the May 2020 murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

Scott on June 17, 2020 introduced the Justice Act, which he said offered ‘smart, commonsense steps to address these issues, from ending the use of chokeholds and increasing the use of body worn cameras, to providing more resources for police departments to better train officers and make stronger hiring decisions.’

Scott then embarked on a media blitz to drum up support for the bill, and submitted an op ed to The New York Times.

Weiss, a former member of the New York Times opinion team, told Scott a story about an article he submitted in 2020

Tim Scott (left) appeared on a podcast hosted by Bari Weiss (right) on Wednesday, in which Weiss told him about an internal debate in 2020 around an op ed he submitted

The op ed was apparently never published, and on Wednesday Weiss – who resigned amid a row over an op ed about the George Floyd protests written by another Republican senator, Tom Cotton – told Scott on her podcast what had transpired.

‘I want to tell you a little story that I’m not sure if you know,’ Weiss said, when the failure of Scott’s Justice Act was mentioned.

Scott said the bill collapsed because ‘the Democrats really wanted the issue more than the solution.’

Chuck Schumer, the leading Democrat in the Senate, said there was not enough support for the bill, which Democrats felt did not go far enough.

Weiss told Scott: ‘Well, here’s what happened.

‘I was at the New York Times and you or your staff sent in an op-ed about the bill and why it fell apart.

‘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.

‘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?”

Scott replied: ‘Wow.’

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said he was taken aback by Weiss's story

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, said he was taken aback by Weiss’s story

George Floyd's May 2020 murder in Minneapolis set off a wave of protest and demand for police reform, which Scott attempted to enact. Pictured are demonstrators in New York City

George Floyd’s May 2020 murder in Minneapolis set off a wave of protest and demand for police reform, which Scott attempted to enact. Pictured are demonstrators in New York City

Activists demanding police reform march through Brooklyn after the police officer who killed Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of murder

Activists demanding police reform march through Brooklyn after the police officer who killed Floyd, Derek Chauvin, was found guilty of murder

Weiss continued: ‘And the more junior colleagues said: ‘I think Tim Scott cares about minority rights.’

Weiss resigned after complaining about bullying and an 'illiberal' environment at the paper

Weiss resigned after complaining about bullying and an ‘illiberal’ environment at the paper

‘And then, and here’s the pretty shocking part. The more senior colleague said: ‘Let’s check with Senator Schumer before we run it.”

Weiss said the more junior colleague refused to ask Schumer for his opinion on Scott’s article, owing to ethics concerns.

Weiss asked Scott: ‘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?’

Scott said he was saddened to hear her story, but not shocked.

‘I am disappointed to hear that. I am not surprised to hear that,’ he said.

Weiss claimed that a senior editor at The New York Times wanted to 'check' with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (above, on Tuesday) before publishing Scott's op ed

Weiss claimed that a senior editor at The New York Times wanted to ‘check’ with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (above, on Tuesday) before publishing Scott’s op ed

He told how his life story had been analyzed in detail by fact checkers, who were strongly skeptical about his biography, and said that the cynicism hurt.

‘You have to remember that The Washington Post fact checked my life.

‘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.

‘They wanted to know if I had somehow hidden my silver spoon and just was using a plastic spoon instead.

‘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.

‘When in fact the black community is consistently as conservative as any community.’

A spokesman for The New York Times denied Weiss’s account.

‘New York Times Opinion never seeks outside approval or consultation whether to publish guest opinion essays,’ said Charlie Stadtlander.


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