That the New York Times only talks the talk when it comes to the need for diversity in the news and opinion rooms is not exactly breaking news, as we were reminded last month after their (former) editorial page editor James Bennet resigned after the howls of outrage that erupted at the paper over his decision to publish an op-ed from Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) which argued for the National Guard’s presence in various states to quell the riots and violence.
Fast forward a few weeks later and another editor is also resigning from the paper. Although in this particular case it’s not because there were public demands for her to step down. Instead, editor/columnist Bari Weiss is walking away because of what she describes as “constant bullying by colleagues” over her “forays into [centrist] Wrongthink”, a lack of support shown by the higher-ups when attacked on the NYT’s Slack channels, and how “stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences” – audiences Weiss claims consists of Twitter’s narrow-minded leftist woke mobs.
Weiss also insinuated anti-Semitism was a driving factor behind the attacks against her.
She posted the full resignation letter on her website. Here are some of the more noteworthy excerpts:
Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.
My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some 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.
There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.
Just to show you how her confirming what most of us have long suspected about what goes on behind closed doors at America’s supposed newspaper of record has triggered the Usual Suspects, here’s a sampling of the responses her letter has received at places like CNN and Twitter:
Absolutely perfect. pic.twitter.com/1rS4Fy8oWu
— American Journalists Publish Chinese Propaganda (@JohnEkdahl) July 14, 2020
Can someone point me to all the NYT op-eds that Bari Weiss commissioned from people, or on topics, that she *disagreed* with?
Can someone point me to all the socialists and other actual *left-wing* ppl who appear on, or are employed by, Fox News? #justaskin
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) July 14, 2020
First Bari Weiss and now Andrew Sullivan….all we need is Brett Stephens to announce next. 🤞🏻 https://t.co/6VoKfxwmfO
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) July 14, 2020
Seeing a lot of folks saying Bari Weiss’ resignation exposes the roots of the demise of American journalism. I’d suggest that hedge funds buying and ripping apart outlets across the country and massive tech giants sucking up all the ad revenue are more important matters.
— Sam Stein (@samstein) July 14, 2020
The Bari Weiss resignation letter: pic.twitter.com/Izkj7pOKIS
— Michael Tannenbaum (@iamTannenbaum) July 14, 2020
That Bari Weiss feels confident enough to leave one of the most prestigious jobs in journalism when the entire economy is collapsing tells you all you need to know about how right wing personalities are protected by the safety net of the conservative media welfare state.
— MZS (@mattzollerseitz) July 14, 2020
I’ll admit that I don’t know much about Weiss, although from what I’ve read from her in the past she came off as more of a centrist (which she describes herself as) than the full-fledged rock-ribbed conservative some on the left are suggesting she was/is. I’ve also read from others that she allegedly tried to “cancel” people in the past for disagreement.
Even if the latter is true, she sounds like one of those people who have been mugged by the reality of what was going on around her at the NY Times. And for that, I say good for her for standing up and speaking out. The more people who expose the rot that infests that wretched paper the better.