Bari Weiss, a Jewish, centrist, young opinion writer and editor for The New York Times, left her position at the paper, leaving a resignation letter that is a damning indictment of how the Far Left and its bullying culture has taken over the paper.
The de-evolution of the Times is worth examining, not just because it is happening at one of the country’s papers of record, but because these same tactics are being mimicked at institutions across the country.
Weiss was hired by the Times in 2017 to bring centrist and conservative opinions
as well as new voices to the paper following the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, an election that the paper failed to anticipate. “It didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers,” according to Weiss as well as Dean Baquet, the paper’s executive editor.
“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 writes.
Instead, she says, a new “consensus” emerged in the press and especially at the Times:
“Truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else …”
This perception of reality was something antithetical to Weiss’ beliefs.
“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.”
In her letter of resignation, Weiss describes the constant bullying she was subjected to at the Times, both professionally and personally.
For her “forays into Wrongthink,” she was called a Nazi and a racist by fellow staff members. Particularly distasteful were the comments she received when she wrote about something having to do with Jews.
Coworkers thought to be friendly to her were badgered. Weiss writes that she was openly demeaned on the Times’ Slack channels, a company-wide messaging app in which top management also participates.
In true Orwellian tradition, her coworkers demanded that she be “rooted out” if the Times was to be “a truly ‘inclusive’ “ company. Others simply posted emojis of axes next to her name. In addition, she notes,
“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.”
As to the editorial bullying going on at the Times, Weiss writes that stories are chosen with “extreme selectivity,” to the point where writers and editors self-censor to avoid the inevitable harassment of offering anything but the accepted opinion.
“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.”
Every employee is well aware of the perils of going against the narrative, Weiss contends. Even if a higher-up says they will stand behind a writer’s or editor’s work that goes against groupthink, Weiss advises not to believe it.
“Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry,” she says.
In his dystopian novel 1984, George Orwell coined the phrase “Newspeak,” a language which was designed, in Orwell’s words, “to diminish the range of thought.”
Not only was Newspeak used to obfuscate (calling expulsion an act of “inclusiveness” in Weiss’ case), its purpose was also to promote a narrowing of thought about and awareness of the world.
Newspeak fundamentally left citizens in a binary world of simple dichotomies – good and evil, war and peace. You are either with us or against us.
Our modern version of Newspeak removes nuance from our perceptions of the world — either through indoctrination by the press or through the intimidation and shaming tactics used by the cancel culture.
If there was ever a time to speak up for free speech, it is now. By all accounts, it does work.
The recent attempt by the cancel culture to take down Goya Foods, because its (Hispanic) CEO praised President Trump at a recent White House event, has been an epic fail. Instead a counter “buy-cott” movement has flipped the narrative and seen a full-on buying spree of the company’s products.
The Goya boycott looks like it's working well. pic.twitter.com/fOamynAjei
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 13, 2020
As for Bari Weiss, her letter also leaves us with hope. Addressing young and upcoming writers and editors, she notes:
“As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day.
“’An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,’ you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.”
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