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The New York Times’ Bari Weiss resigned due to what she called out as bullying by her colleagues in an “illiberal environment.”
The opinion columnist and editor for the newspaper announced she was quitting on Tuesday in a blistering letter to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger, condemning the “predetermined narrative” being espoused in the workplace and revealing that she has been labeled “a Nazi and a racist” by Times employees.
(Source: Fox News)
“It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times,” Weiss wrote.
“I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home,” she added, noting that when she joined the paper in 2017, it was apparent that the Times’ “failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.”
“But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned,” Weiss wrote.
“Instead, 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,” she said, adding the scathing rebuke: “Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor.”
Last month, Weiss revealed that a “civil war” was brewing within the liberal newspaper following the publication of an op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton. Staff at the 168-year-old paper apparently were in revolt over the piece by the Arkansas Republican who wrote that “the nation must restore order” in the wake of violent protests that had erupted.
NY Times journos launch internal revolt, claim op-ed by Tom Cotton puts black staff members ‘in danger’ https://t.co/gDz0fXSp0x
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 4, 2020
Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned amid the backlash and Cotton fired back at the newspaper for its “smear” against him in reporting Bennett’s departure. Weiss’s claim about a “civil war” came just before The Times had backtracked and Cotton had blasted The New York Times for fearing the “woke kids” in the newsroom and deciding to “tuck tail” on his op-ed.
“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,” Weiss wrote in her resignation letter.
“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,” she wrote. “Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.”
Her “forays into Wrongthink” made her the recipient of “constant bullying by colleagues,” Weiss contended.
“They have called me a Nazi and a racist,” she wrote.
“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,” Weiss noted. “My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in.”
“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,” Weiss told Sulzberger in her letter.
“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,” she noted.
“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,” she continued, denouncing how articles are made “deologically kosher” as “self-censorship has become the norm.”
“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,” Weiss wrote. “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.”
Weiss also warned about “independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers.”
“None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper,” Weiss added. “They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking.”