In a brave and extraordinary move on Tuesday, a young female New York Times writer left the paper over the rampant left-wing bias in their newsroom.
"A new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at [the NY Times]: 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."@bariweiss resigns:https://t.co/cwetH67MHq
— Lahav Harkov (@LahavHarkov) July 14, 2020
Bari Weiss told Times management, “It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.” Weiss had also recently signed a public letter decrying the anti-free speech effect of cancel culture. Weiss, a centrist, began writing for the paper in 2017. She hoped to help correct the newsroom bias at the Times that ended up with the paper getting its 2016 presidential election coverage so spectacularly wrong. But her effort was to no avail. Her words are illuminating and inspiring. Here they are—they speak for themselves:
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“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. 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 noted the near unanimous hard-left ideology of the staff of the paper: “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.”
She charges anti-Semitism and personal intimidation: “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.
“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… Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets. 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.
“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 doxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.”
The working environment at the Times? “Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry. Which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. 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.’”
This is from the belly of the beast. It is reminiscent of what was said about Arthur Koestler’s book “Darkness at Noon,” a novel exposing the lies and brutality of the 1930s Soviet show trials. These were communist Kangaroo courts that, even then, The New York Times helped to cover up. It was said of the book and its author, “He did not come back from hell empty-handed.” Weiss exposes the journalistic lies and groupthink at the heart of The New York Times. She, like Koestler, should be lauded for her valor.
This piece was written by David Kamioner on July 14, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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