Yikes. Bari Weiss is no conservative, but she’s not a die-hard ‘woke’ acolyte either. She’s what you could consider a classical liberal. These are becoming a dying breed. And while in most circumstances, I wouldn’t care about the extinction of a political class of which I am diametrically opposed on some key issues, this is a rather disturbing red flag. We need to be real here. Conservatives will never dominate The New York Times or any of the media outlets that are often pilloried rightly for their obscene liberal bias. The Left owns the cultural bastions of this country. The Right needs to fight back and reclaim these spaces, but it’ll take a long time, like generations worth of fighting. In the interim, it’s much easier for one with right-leaning views to work themselves into these spaces with liberals who value free speech, expression, and other opinions. This rigid, authoritarian ethos that’s starting to overtake the Left seeks to erase not just conservatives from these spaces, but liberals, who, you know—aren’t insane.
Weiss was an opinion writer at the Times. She was the one who went on a lengthy Twitter thread about the “civil war” that erupted at the publication. It was a battle between your run-of-the-mill liberal and the far left woke mob; the mob won. It was over Sen. Tom Cotton’s (R-AR) op-ed regarding using the military to restore law and order after the nation was engulfed with nights of rioting over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The woke reporters at the Times, who hate Weiss, won a major victory. The editor of the op-ed section was scalped. And Cotton’s op-ed was renounced by the publication, though even other liberal writers noted that the publication straight-up made up a new standard to make way for the denunciation. It was never about standards. It was about appeasing the unhinged left that had got inside the paper. Weiss noted that the crazy lefties that were mocked on Fox News, College Fix, and Campus Reform graduated and took their illiberal ideas into the workplace. Well, after being bullied, called a Nazi, and management doing nothing about it because she was reportedly deemed an acceptable target of such harassment, she resigned and drafted an exit letter that ripped apart the NYT as a bastion of illiberal nonsense, where the ‘woke’ reign and everyone else lives in abject terror. It’s like the Islamic State, but for journalists. Those who apt to go against the grain or write a differing opinion from within the liberal sphere are harassed and trash-talked pervasively. To ensure the hostile work environment is fully implemented, even colleagues that appear friendly to the writer in question is subjected to intellectual terrorism. The NYT is a dumpster fire. Maybe we shouldn’t be shocked, but a writer jumping ship because of having a different opinion is just insane (via Bari Weiss):
Bari Weiss: The New York Times is "the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people." https://t.co/0ry08xL4R7— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) July 14, 2020
If your personal aversion to Bari Weiss prevents you from apprehending that the cultural/political pathologies she describes within elite media institutions are very, very real -- then you are very, very stupid— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 14, 2020
Turns out the New York Times was a shit cake all along.— Noam Blum (@neontaster) July 14, 2020
Bari Weiss is an LGBT woman who says she was driven out of a media institution due to a hostile work environment, but this is to be celebrated because her political orientation doesn't align 100% perfectly with prevailing left/liberal sentiment— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) July 14, 2020
Bari Weiss’ letter: “I’m on the left, but I’m not a communist like you people.”— David Reaboi (@davereaboi) July 14, 2020
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.
I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.
Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.
What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.
It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.
The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.
Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.
Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.
None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”
We’re dealing with the hordes of Mordor. They will make you care. They will go after everyone and anyone they deem to be problematic. The letter plainly puts that there were scores of reporters who thought the paper truly couldn’t be inclusive until Weiss was gone. That makes no sense. It’s the type of logic that only a far-left loon or Marxist would accept, like Lenin’s “freedom is so precious, it must be rationed” declaration. In the end, it’s all about power and total domination over those you hate. And the Left is filled with it. If these people aren’t hating Trump, America, conservatives, police officers, and those with no college education, it’s Israel and Jewish people. For all their lectures on race and discrimination, the Left is the hall of fame quarterback in doling out both to people they find disagreeable. It’s even more insufferable when white progressives appear to be deciding what is and what is not racist on behalf of communities of color. This the cacophony of insanity we’re dealing with in the Trump era, but the Trump era did not cause this insanity. It certainly accelerated the Left’s journey here, but the American liberals were always slowly going to become authoritarian and politically correct wing nuts. The 2016 election just injected steroids into this metamorphosis.