Bari Weiss, a New York Times opinion editor who prided herself on her centrist views and openness to argument, has resigned from the paper, posting a scathing resignation letter on her personal website accusing the Times of intolerance.
Weiss, who used to work at the Wall Street Journal, joined the anti-Trump left in 2016 and departed the Journal after 2016 with her colleague, Bret Stephens. (It is unclear whether Stephens, a columnist at the Times, will stay there.)
Ironically, Weiss herself tried to “cancel” or marginalize Breitbart News and other conservative voices, falsely accusing those who supported Trump of bigotry, and accusing the president himself of being a threat to liberal values (in the classical sense).
But Weiss found herself a victim of, and witness to, intolerance at the liberal paper of record, as she recalled in her letter Tuesday:
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.
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.
Read Weiss’s full resignation letter here.
Author: Joel B. Pollak