Bari Weiss, erstwhile editor of the NYT’s opinion page, is the latest example of the Progressive movement eating its own. “Showing up to work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” Weiss laments.
Intellectual Curiosity a Liability
Weiss, 36, is not your standard-issue right-winger, explains Dan McLaughlin in NRO.
She’s a Jewish lesbian centrist, and perhaps that is what rankled her critics most about her heterodoxy as a writer. She hints at a lawsuit in terms that make it legally impractical for the Times to purge its Slack archives and other internal communications, but it seems unlikely there would actually be a lawsuit, for a variety of legal and practical reasons.
The reality is much uglier as you can read below. In her must-read public resignation letter, Weiss details her private and public verbal abuse by both her co-workers and the Times.
From Bari Weiss’s Resignation Letter
[A] new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else. 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.
Unchecked Bullying from Colleagues
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 . . . . 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 . . . Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.
A Death Kneel for Intellectual Curiosity
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 . . . Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired.