The New York Times made the extraordinarily unusual decision Wednesday to use its Twitter account to push readers to call on-the-fence Republican senators and "oppose the Senate tax bill because it would repeal ObamaCare's individual mandate, driving up the cost of health insurance." The tweets came from the newspaper's @NYTOpinion account, where the bio read: "The NYT Editorial Board is temporarily taking over this acct. to urge the Senate to reject a tax bill that hurts the middle class and the nation's fiscal health."
The account featured dozens of tweets urging readers to take action:
"I can't remember a big newspaper (even under the guise of 'opinion') ever using its brand to directly activate voters to deluge a lawmaker with demands," tweeted Daily Mail U.S. politics editor David Martosko. Tweeted Reuters' Amanda Becker, "This is weird. Even coming from the opinion section."
In October, The New York Times issued new social media guidelines to its staff, noting that "if our journalists are perceived as biased or if they engage in editorializing on social media, that can undercut the credibility of the entire newsroom."