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Shouts of terror on 43rd Street.

By NICK COHEN [Writing from London] — For all the cowardice and evasions, a pattern was set: liberal institutions would accept arguments for censorship that could plausibly be cast in leftish language.

Move forward to 2020. After printing numerous articles praising the Black Lives Matter demonstrations and calling for the police to be defunded, the New York Times provided an alternative view from the right-wing Senator Tom Cotton, who wanted to deploy the military to prevent rioting and looting.

The paper’s staff went wild. They claimed their editors were putting black staff in danger, and forced the comment editor to resign. His successor, Kathleen Kingsbury, then issued out one of the most abject statements in the history of the free press.

“If staff see any piece of Opinion journalism — including headlines or social posts or photos or you name it — that gives you the slightest pause, please call or text me immediately.”

All good political writing will offend someone. Christopher Hitchens will live on as much on YouTube as in print, and it’s worth enjoying the marvellous moment in the video at the top of this post when he explained the heresy-hunter’s restless desire to find fresh targets to an opponent, who was arguing in favour of compromising with men who wanted to ban cartoons.

Continued at Writing from London.

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