A perceived pro-communist New York Times story earned the newspaper much criticism on social media Monday night.
The Times printed a story headlined, "In a Topsy-Turvy Pandemic World, China Offers Its Version of Freedom," written by reporter Li Yuan. The story praised the communist country and took shots at the U.S.
Critics called the story "propaganda," and pointed out that chaos ensued in the Times newsroom last year following an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who wrote about civil unrest in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing, per Fox News.
The Times reporter's Twitter posting about the story prompted many critical comments:
"'Freedom' in China? Not for the Uighurs and other minorities languishing in concentration camps," Cotton wrote.
"Did the Chinese government write this? asked Ben Shapiro, host of the The Ben Shapiro Show podcast.
"Increasingly hard to differentiate Chinese propaganda accounts from U.S. media accounts," said Tom Elliott, founder and editor of the news-clipping service Grabien.
"There is no 'normal day-to-day life' if you don't have freedom of worship and freedom of speech" said historian Larry Schweikart, whose Twitter bio includes a "NYTimes #1 bestselling author."
The Times story called China "one of the safest places in the world" currently during the pandemic despite COVID-19 orginating in the communist mainland.
"Restaurants are packed. Hotels are full. Long lines form outside luxury brands stores," the story said. "Instead of Zoom calls, people are meeting face to face to talk business or celebrate the new year."
Not only did the story praise China, it criticized Americans.
"[The Chinese people] have the freedom to move around and lead a normal day-to-day life," the story said. "In a pandemic year, many of the world's people would envy this most basic form of freedom.
"Some Americans assert that it is their individual right to ignore health experts' recommendations to wear masks, putting themselves and others at increasing risk of infection."
Cotton's op-ed last year caused a revolt among Times journalists, some saying it endangered Black employees.
But in October, Times staffers apparently didn't object to a member of Hong Kong's Executive Council writing an op-ed headlined, "Hong Kong is China, Like it or Not."
"No amount of outcry, condemnation or sanctions over the Chinese government's purported encroachment in Hong Kong's affairs will alter the fact that Hong Kong is part of China and that its destiny is intertwined with the mainland's," the story said.
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