I’m still of the view that ex-N.Y. Times op-ed editor James Bennet‘s statement about not having read the Tom Cotton “send in the troops” piece is suspicious, at the very least.

I was kicked around last night for saying this, but it just doesn’t smell right. The mob can pretend that Bennet is gone because he was simply a careless editor in this instance, but my gut says no. And I certainly don’t believe the piece wasn’t checked and assessed by deputy editor James Dao and probably others.

Here’s how Bennet explained things on June 4th. And here’s that 6.2 Morning Consult poll saying that 58% of the American public supported Cotton’s view about stopping looters. The Khmer Rouge didn’t want to acknowledge this viewpoint, much less see it supported in a Times op-ed.

The bottom line, I suspect, is Times wokester outrage over the Cotton piece was such that someone had to lose their job, someone had to take the hit.

From The Guardian‘s Kenan Malik, posted on 6.7 (yesterday), in a piece titled “Publish and Debate, NYT, But Don’t Be In Denial“: “The claims that op-ed editor James Bennet had not read the piece before publication, or that there was insufficient fact-checking, have the smell of excuses for a climbdown after the fact.

“Like many liberal newspapers, the NYT has responded to the rise of a more polarized politics by hiring conservative columnists, such as Bret Stephens. The problem, though, is not a lack of conservative voices. It’s the failure to create a wider culture of debate and engagement and an entrenchment of the ‘you can’t say that’ ethos. That’s an issue not just in liberal circles. And not just at the New York Times.”

Journo pally: “There is no way Cotton’s piece wasn’t read. Carefully. They knew what they had.

“And if Bennet didn’t read it before publication then who did? There is no way Cotton’s piece wasn’t read. Carefully. The Times calls everyone. They fact-check everything as a rule. I’ve been in stories in the Times [and] I get calls from fact checkers.

“The revised explanation is an excuse to quell the angry mob. Some are happy with this excuse but it isn’t why Bennet resigned.

“The Times-Bennet-Cotton thing is also part of a recent [wokester] pattern — Hachette/Woody Allen, Chris Matthews, Philadelphia Inquirer fallout (“Buildings Matter”), etc.

“Bennet’s statement that he didn’t read the piece suggests that if he had he would have made a different decision. But no matter how you slice this episode it comes back bullshit. From the official, recently revised Times perspective. Either they are not publishing it because they think it puts black lives at risk or they are being pressured because others think same.

“The fact is, no one told the story of those 58% of Americans who were scared and wanted to be protected by the military if need be. No one on the left wanted that to be true. But it was true.”