The New York Times Editorial Board Is Sorely Misguided

Soon after the murders of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were sitting in their patrol car eating lunch when an unhinged madman blasted four bullets at them before taking his own life, the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the NYPD union, issued a memo basically instructing cops not to make arrests or issue summonses unless absolutely necessary, especially if it would lead to their endangering their own lives. Buried in the memo was the declaration that the NYPD was now a “wartime police department.”

Well, they were right. There is a war going on. It is a war that is not fought with bullets, but with words, between the NYPD and the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Wartime stories include the Mayor’s use of the word “allegedly” when referring to a video that showed protesters assaulting police officers with a garbage can, PBA spokesman Patrick Lynch declaring that the Mayor had “blood on his hands” after the murders of Liu and Ramos, the Mayor instructing his son to be wary of the police because he is half black, and thousands upon thousands of police officers turning their backs on the Mayor at the funerals of Liu and Ramos when he took the podium to speak.

Safe to say that much of New York is tired of this war, and wants it to stop.

Everyone, apparently, except the New York Times Editorial Board.

The Editorial Board released an opinion piece today condemning the cops for the “work slowdown” that has been in place for the past two weeks, calling them “forces of entropy… trying to unravel the social fabric.” Furthermore, they invite the Mayor to appeal to the public by directly accusing the police of “trying to extort him and the city he leads,” even going so far to consider charging the police with civil rights violations for not doing their jobs.

This is hypocritical to the highest degree.

First of all, this is the same editorial board that, just half a year ago, advocated for the end of broken windows policing in the city. Call it a slowdown, call it a police protest–they’ve got exactly what they wanted, and indeed, in the editorial, they admit as much. But now they are painting it as cops refusing to do their jobs and “revel[ing] in showing contempt to their civilian leaders.”

What exactly does the Editorial Board want? Do they want de Blasio to punish his cops for doing exactly what they want the cops to do? Or do they think that de Blasio should get his cops in line in order to do their jobs, only for them to return to basically doing nothing, but this time with the backing of the city?

Second, the fact that they are exhorting the Mayor to declare that the police are trying to “extort” him is problematic to the highest degree. This is the same board–the same newspaper–that would not hesitate in criticizing Pat Lynch for his “blood on their hands” statement as inflammatory and unnecessary. Now they are turning around and asking the mayor to make a similar statement. The board are not asking for cooler heads to prevail. They are fanning the flames and risking deepening the already great chasm between the cops and the Mayor.

If the board really want the war to end, maybe they should look to–and I vomit as I type these words–the New York Daily News and the New York Post. Both publications are frequently derided for being overly sensational, but both newspapers have taken the tone that both de Blasio and the police–but especially the mayor–should sit down and apologize to each other for all the mud-slinging that has been going on for the past two weeks, for all the wartime stories that I mentioned above. They call upon the Mayor and the police to stop being obstinate and to sit down and work to rebuild this shattered relationship. It is worth noting that, before the assassinations of Officers Liu and Ramos, both papers sat squarely opposite of each other with regards to this issue.

Shame on you, NYT Editorial Board. When the Daily News and the Post can claim the moral high ground on you, you’re not doing your jobs properly.


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