A former New York Times writer says the outlet’s been mobbed.
I remember news — the statement of objective fact upon which people could rely and form their own opinions. It was boring, and I had no use for it — after all, I was a kid. But I sure wish it was still with us. Turn on the television these days, and it’s as if we’re huddled around the campfire, being regaled by tales from talking heads. Who needs information when there’s narrative?
But what narratives are allowed? And what editorials?
This may be a Temple of Doom, but we’re a far cry from “anything goes.”
As America’s outrage element blocks more highways, it’s also taking a stance on the information superhighway — via an increasingly obstinate Twitter mob.
And the mob is ruling.
So believes former NYT opinion editor Bari Weiss.
Appearing on Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Bari lamented that the country’s “paper of record” is now making editorial calls that repel “half of the country.”
Out of fear.
Case in point, as she put it on Real Time (courtesy of The Daily Wire):
“My boss got fired for running an op-ed by a sitting U.S. senator.”
Yeah — I’d say that’s a sign we’re in deep trouble (See more about Tom’s piece on the military quelling violent riots via RedState’s legendary streiff.
“Now, you might say that [Republican Arkansas Rep. Tom Cotton] is detestable, that you disagree with him, but I don’t want to live in a world where the views of half of the country can’t be heard in the paper of record. And that’s, I fear, where we’re headed.”
Bari believes being bold is part of just journalism:
“In order to do our job well, writers and editors, we need to have a level of bravery and thick skin and fearlessness. And when you are living in fear of an online mob, you know, all it takes is a dozen people to repeat a lie about you — that you’re a racist, that you’re a transphobe, that you’re a bigot — for that lie to become true and that’s extremely dangerous.”
And if the editorials are being clamped by potential left-wing revolt, what the heck is being done to the news stories?
Bari explained that her recent resignation letter was meant to call out the paper’s “growing culture of illiberalism.”
And the pressure of the mob is more than just an overwhelming objection:
“[Rep. Tom] and I, and you, Bill, we’re used to criticism. Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism’s great. What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job. It’s not just about punishing the sinner, it’s not just about punishing the person for being insufficiently pure.”
The result is extreme polarization:
“It’s about a sort of secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person. Politics has come to be people’s almost religious identity. That’s an enormous problem, because what it’s meant is the collapse of moderates. It’s meant the collapse of the center and the retribalization of this country.”
Sounds about right, and it’s a great point. The nation suffers when fascists take the reigns. They used to burn books; now, metaphorically, they’re burning people.
Bari also punctuated the absurdity of our evolving language — remember when “inclusive” meant you were included? Welcome to an Opposite Sketch:
“[S]ome coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still, other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.”
The mob is growing. And at present moment, politicians and corporations are emboldening it.
And if things continue, eventually…lanterns will be lit near us all.
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