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New York Times fires editor after 'biased' Biden tweets

By PhilSTAR L!fe Published Jan 25, 2021 4:21 am

The New York Times (NYT) has cancelled the contract of an editor moments after she posted a tweet favorable to the Biden administration, though the media organization said that the two were mutually exclusive events.

In a now deleted tweet, Lauren Wolfe, who previously edited the "Live" section of NYT, said she had “chills” watching President-elect Joe Biden’s plane land outside Washington D.C.

“Biden landing at Joint Base Andrews now. I have chills,” tweeted Wolfe, who edited the “Live” section of the Times.

Wolfe also called the former Trump administration “childish” in another tweet that has since been also deleted.

“The pettiness of the Trump admin not sending a military plane to bring him to D.C. as is tradition is mortifying. Childish,” Wolfe said.

Biden reportedly decided to arrive using his own plane.

After Wolfe’s “chills” tweet came up, some quickly took a screenshot and pounced on the message, with conservatives alleging an anti-right bias from the media.

“If you're in the national press and will be on TV at any point today and being to feel the need to weep joyously, just hold it in until you find a private place,” said journalist Glenn Greenwald.

Then American journalist Yashar Ali broke on Twitter on Jan. 22, or two days after the inauguration, that NYT has cancelled Wolfe’s contract for her “I have chills” tweet.

Wolfe’s friend Josh Shahryar also posted a series of tweets about the incident, saying that the incident has now affected her friend physically as she had been stalked outside her house.

A number of journalists then subsequently closed ranks around Wolfe.

CBS correspondent Wesley Lowery tweeted a thread defending Wolfe, saying “all journalists are humans with feelings and emotions and biases.”

“Journalists should be judged by the fairness of their *work* - not a random tweet or passing comment or private email in which those human biases are expressed,” Lowery said.

Actress and activist Alyssa Milano also tweeted her support.

Washington Post reporter Felicia Sonmenz said that the New York Times erred in sacking Wolfe.

“Knee-jerk firings in response to online harassment campaigns only further embolden harassers — and put ALL journalists at risk,” said Sonmez.

After the issue blew up, NYT issued a statement saying that Wolfe was not fired over the tweet, but did not specify further.

“There’s a lot of inaccurate information circulating on Twitter. For privacy reasons we don’t get into the details of personnel matters but we can say that we didn’t end someone’s employment over a single tweet. Out of respect for the individuals involved we don’t plan to comment further,” the NYT said.

The NYT Guild, which is the paper’s union, said that the termination of Wolfe “was done outside of the just cause protections of our contract due to her classification as a casual employee.”

“We can’t say more while we are investigating the situation, but we believe all our members deserve due process and just cause protections, the very rights that are fundamental to independent, objective journaism,” the NYT Guild said.

Some colleagues of Wolfe for now have been sending financial and other forms of support.

In a tweet, Wolfe thanked those who have been giving a hand while asking for a request.

"I truly appreciate everyone’s support but I need to ask you a favor: PLEASE don’t unsubscribe from @nytimes. I have loved this paper and its mission my whole life. Their journalism is some of the most important & best in the world, & they need to be read widely,” said Wolfe.