Bari Weiss resigns from the New York Times, citing hostile workplace climate

This now seems to have been inevitable, but it’s very sad, especially for the NYT, which has lost a powerful voice and a counterweight to the paper’s fulminating wokeness—an ideological groupthink that has so degraded its quality. Click on the screenshot to read the CNN report:

Weiss did not go gentle, either. From CNN:

But in the resignation letter Weiss posted online, the self-described “politically homeless” writer blasted The Times for fostering what she called an “illiberal environment” that she said was “especially heartbreaking.”

“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times,” Weiss wrote. “But Twitter has become its ultimate editor.”

“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,” Weiss added.

News of Weiss’ departure was first reported by Vice.

Weiss generated controversy for her criticism of aspects of progressive culture, particularly with regards to free speech. Last week, she was one of the dozens of writers who signed an open letter published in Harper’s Magazine that spoke out against so-called cancel culture.

Weiss faced criticism in June when the newspaper faced backlash over the publication of Republican Sen. Tom Cotton’s op-ed, which argued for sending in military troops to U.S. cities to quash unrest that had broken out in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. In a series of tweets, Weiss tweeted that there was a “civil war” that has been “raging” inside The Times between the “wokes” and older “liberals.” The tweets drew public backlash from some of Weiss’ own colleagues.

Weiss said in her resignation letter that she was subject to “constant bullying” by her colleagues at The Times who disagreed with her views. She wrote that colleagues have called her a Nazi and racist and that she was “demeaned on company-wide Slack channels.”

“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,” Weiss wrote. “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.”

Eileen Murphy, a spokesperson for The Times, did not respond to the specifics of Weiss’ resignation letter. But Murphy said, “We’re committed to fostering an environment of honest, searching and empathetic dialogue between colleagues, one where mutual respect is required of all.”

Indeed, Twitter has become the ultimate editor of the NYT. Do read Bari’s resignation letter, which includes this:

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.

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. 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.

Kudos to Weiss for calling out the paper’s wokeness, which I’ve long touted. She won’t get hired there again, or at the Washington Post or anywhere where Twitter runs the show. I only hope she finds a good niche where she can purvey her left-centrism and have it be read by those who need it.

I don’t know if Weiss will sue on “hostile workplace” grounds, but the New York Times should be ashamed for allowing one of its best columnists to be treated this way. She was not a conservative, not a Bret Stephens nor a Ross Douthat. She was to the left of center. Of course if a columnist is hired, she or he should be supported, regardless of their position on the ideological spectrum. Weiss was further attacked because she often took the part of Israel. This alone is reason to get you demonized these days. But demonized at the “paper of record”? Truly, it’s the “paper of discord” now, and and deserves the name The New Woke Times.

 

84 Comments

  1. GBJames
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    This is a great shame

  2. Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I guess the NYT has finally given up all pretense.

  3. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    She probably can sue them if they truly were treating her that way. She should at least talk to a lawyer and I’m sure she took all the screen caps she needs.

    I really hope she finds employment somewhere else that isn’t a right wing journal only because it is just so pathetic that there is no home for her on the left. Perhaps the Atlantic will hire her.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      I think she has appeared on Bill Maher, CNN, and MSNBC as well as written at least one book. She’ll land on her feet I think. It her colleagues without the portfolio that are really trapped.

    • AlTazim
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

      In almost any other work environment, she’d have a strong case for constructive dismissal. However, media organizations at high levels like an editorial board or the director’s and producer’s chairs tend to have greater leeway due to First Amendment concerns; a paper, website, or TV station can oust someone, including in a particularly unfriendly way, if they aren’t promoting the views that ownership or management wants. In that regard, they are like political parties; the DNC doesn’t have to put up with someone who drifts too conservative and can oust them viciously. If the NYT wants to think of itself as akin to a political party, though, rather than a neutral news organization, and all signs are that that’s what they want to do, then they will find their broad authority over the past century diminished. The current board, administration, and employees can enjoy the money while it lasts.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

        I’m pretty sure that media organizations can’t allow harassment in the workplace and putting axe emojis next to the name of someone on an internal messaging qualifies.

  4. Steve Gerrard
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    “The New Woke Times” is a new one to me, I like that.

    I would not recognize a Bari Weiss column on sight. I suspect she will do better leaving the NYT, though it is obviously a jarring event.

    These days the NYT combines woke-ism commentary with both-sidesing all its news stories, producing a garbled mess of a product, far below the standards it maintained in the 20th century. Their far flung foreign reporters and topic specialist reporters are its only redeeming features now. FTFNYT.

  5. darrelle
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Not surprising, but a bit depressing. The NYT is dying, but it’s going to be a long, messy death.

  6. nay
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the NYT the paper about which it was said “If you see it in the Times, it’s true”? [Sigh.]

    • nay
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      Ah, I just googled it – it was said about the New York SUN Times. (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus)

  7. Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    The irony is, the NY Times and WP et al do not see how much they are like Donald Trump in their twitter behavior, though their particular extremism is not his.
    All fanatics are on the same side, really.

    • Laurance
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      Wow, I’m really out of the loop and ignorant in many venues!

      I don’t actively do Twitter. I do see stuff from Twitter as I make my way through Cyberia, but I don’t go there or post there, uh, “tweet” or use it as a method of communication. The infantile bloviations I’ve seen disgust me.

      What I’ve seen as I pass by has me declaring that it should be illegal for anyone over the age of 12 to use Twitter.

      “…the NY Times and WP et al do not see how much they are like Donald Trump in their twitter behavior…”

      What Twitter behavior are these newspapers into? I still have my NYT subscription as well as WaPo, and I do see some useful news. But what do they have to do with Twitter? What have I been missing? What are they doing to Bari on Twitter?

      • Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

        I was a bit flip – it’s actually the Twitter mob that is acting like Trump, tweeting outrage about their targets, like Bari, for every little thoughtcrime, and the NY Times capitulates. And then there are, in her own words, “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.”

  8. Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Events like this are why I think Trump’s chances in November are non-neglible. The Left is eroding itself through ideological authority and they think this is good for their cause when it is not.

  9. rickflick
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Well, all I can say is, her readers will have to follow her to wherever she ends up. I have to wonder if the NYT will soon recover. It would probably require hiring a new chief editor. What a grim place we find ourselves. On top of everything else. I nominate 2020 for Annus horribilis.

  10. dd
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    “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,” Weiss wrote. “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.”

    Isn’t this the creation of a hostile work environment?

    I hope she starts her own newsletter/commentary site.

    • Pete Taylor
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Adding to:
      War is peace
      Freedom is slavery
      Ignorance is strength,
      and now
      “inclusivity is excluding (rooting out) those we don’t like.

      Orwell is spinning in his grave.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      My newly-elected City Council Member just told my husband he is going outside our ward to talk to BIPOC (that was new one) because he is only a “white male” who can “never do enough” to fight racism and be inclusive. I have drafted an email to him asking if he suddenly doesn’t want to include his own constituents in his representation, something he took an oath to do, because we are “white” and “not diverse.” This is a disease!

    • rickflick
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      I’ll subscribe.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Me too. I am a supporter of Sam Harris as well.

  11. DFMGV
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Maybe since MSNBC is moving Joy Reid To Chris Matthews old spot, they have 2 two hour shows to fill up on the weekends, perhaps they could give Barry Weiss a show to host and she could take the unhappy reporters that are still there at the New York Times and move them to the television show.
    Call it something like the “Weiss Agenda”

    Or to really make a difference, she can go over to Fox News and have them bring back one of their old shows similar to “Hannity and Colmes”
    Call it something like Hannity and Weiss“
    It may be the only way to slowly chip away at the ignorance of Fox News.

    • Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I sincerely hope she does not go to Faux News.

      Such a move would simply confirm her detractors.

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Strong words for Weiss. Would that they would be heeded. I’ve mostly stopped looking at the NYT for several of the reasons Weiss mentions, but, ironically(?), Ross Douthat has an op-ed about cancel culture (spoiler: he agrees it exists). LINK

  13. Adam M.
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    As usual, “inclusiveness” and “tolerance” mean excluding and not tolerating those who think differently.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      ++ The very fact that the woke can concoct a concept like rooting out opposing viewpoints in the interest of inclusiveness is a testament to their tribal cultishness.

      • Adam M.
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

        And I still managed to be a bit surprised because Bari Weiss is clearly on the left. She’s no “Nazi” and I’ve never heard her say anything “racist” (whatever that word means these days). If I had to guess it has to do with her strong support of Israel…

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, and “diversity” is not to be confused with “diversity of opinion”.

  14. Adam M.
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I guess Bari will soon be cast into the ranks of the “alt-right”, along with Steven Pinker, Dave Rubin, et al.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      You can count on it. I was accused of being “right wing” and “racist” on Nextdoor for posting that link to Lawrence Krauss’s repudiation of SHUTDOWNSTEM in a BLM thread.
      (I took out the identifying icons and info and tweeted (heh) a screenshot to him, which he liked.)

    • Richard Sanderson🤴
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

      PZ Myers already described Bari Weiss as being “alt right” several years ago.

      But then PZ is just an abusive eejit.

    • Shane
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      If a tweet is found doing that someone with a megaphone will certainly blow it up.

      It’s more likely people will simply see her willful resignation get marketed as a ‘cancel culture’ in the spirit of IDW-style victimhood.

  15. Joe Kosiner
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I have had a subscription to the Times for most of the last 20 years. I cancelled the subscription in a fit of pique after the 2016 election and the way the paper treated Hillary Clinton but relented a few months later. I am going to do it again, only this time permanently. They have gone from the Gray Lady that did print “all the news that was fit to print”, to an instrument that shills for the Woke Church of the Perpetually Offended. They cannot last long as a true newspaper by following the path they are currently on. It is very sad to seem fail so completely.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I’ve no basis for doubting the accuracy or legitimacy of Bari Weiss’s beefs — and I’ve not walked a mile in her shoes at the Times — but I had hoped she was made of sterner stuff than to capitulate by quitting.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      She’s no Tony Fauci. But sometimes you can put up with only so much guff.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Having worked in toxic environments worse than that, I have learned that life is too short to put up with any crap, especially when you’re talented. They don’t deserve her talent.

      • kelskye
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I’m surprised anyone’s advice would be to stay in a toxic work environment. It’s really hard to do a job in that situation – no-one needs the agita.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        + 1

    • A C Harper
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      The good natured advice is to ‘work within to achieve change’. But when your presence is achieving nothing, is likely to achieve nothing, and the situation is getting worse over a reasonable period of time then the advice is worthless.

      Although she (obviously) quit I think a better phrase is that she escaped.

  17. Dean Reimer
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I hope her resignation letter comes as a wake up call to Sulzberger.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      No way; A. G. has already cast the Woke die.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 14, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

        alea exsomnis iacta est.

        Sorry, I had to do it.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

          Had to look it up. A.G. has crossed the Rubicon.

  18. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    You should see the amount of obsession and hate she gets on social media, especially from the Far Left.

    Naturally, the #NewRacists all hate her.

    Why?

    Well, she’s liberal and anti-woke. Oh, and she’s Jewish and is vocal about the issue of antisemitism. That’s why she is in the crosshairs of the regressives so much.

  19. ladyatheist
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    If she doesn’t like liberal “wokeness” she should perhaps apply for a job at Fox News.

    • Richard Sanderson🤴
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      There is nothing liberal about “wokeness”. Wokeness is marked by its hostility to liberalism.

      • A C Harper
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:58 am | Permalink

        There are some who argue that the Extreme Woke are becoming another flavour of Fascism… except the ‘ultranationalism’ part of the definition is replaced by ‘ultraglobalism’ or some such orientation.

        But the drive towards dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, as well as strong regimentation of society and of the economy are all there, but not yet fully established.

        People wonder how ordinary German people got swept up into a vile NAZI Fascism. Well now you can see the beginnings of another Fascism in the USA.

    • kelskye
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      That’s like deciding that veganism is a little extreme so you choose a diet of nothing but bushmeat.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      That is a pretty nasty and snarky comment. She is not at all a conservative like those who hawk their blather on Fox News.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      You’re probably an atheist anyway.

  20. boudiccadylis
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    I guess I m a bit dense but how can you call(be) yourself a jew and be called a nazi? Did I slide past something?
    History was not one of my great interests during my education but in thought I understood the big picture. At least in general so as to avoid this type of a faux pa.

    • savage
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      If a Jew is called a Nazi by someone with more wokemon points, what is he to do?

      • Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

        In essence, I think this is woke blindness in

        • Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          In…. a can. Calling a jew a nazi.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

            The Trump administration’s ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has said the Jews who support a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are “worse than the kaposviz., the Jewish prisoners who collaborated with the Nazis at the death camps.

            That seems pretty damn close.

            • Posted July 15, 2020 at 2:40 am | Permalink

              hmmm… that hit it on the head, although DF he is not saying you are one, your worse than one, Doubly worse! what could it be worse than that?
              Disappointing though, the two-state seems the only solution, autonomy for both, it’s out of kilter at the moment. As it has this preoccupation do with land it would help settle the place down if there were no land disputes.

    • Richard Sanderson🤴
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      There is an anarcho-communist called Dan “The Zionists” Arel, who used to be a minor figure in skeptic/atheist circles.

      Now he spends all his time spewing hate. He has an obsession with throwing the “Nazi” label at Jews. And he chums with various antisemites and conspiracy cranks.

      All part of the regressive/hard left that have taken up control of the NYT.

  21. Vaal
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I only started a subscription to the NYT last year. I like many of the subjects being written about. But the ideological conformity is so numbing on any news stories, especially political/social, that it feels like I don’t even have to read any article anymore. I can practically write them in my head before reading it. It’s been a bummer.

  22. kelskye
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Haven’t you heard? “Left of centre” is now alt-right. And alt-right is just code for Nazi.

    Sucks that Bari Weiss is leaving, I always enjoyed reading her work. *sigh* at least Thomas Friedman is still there.

  23. Martin H.
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    “Blaming the papers ‘liberal environment'”.

    LOL. Let’s take her words at face value without any consideration whether it is true or not…because (perhaps) it fits neatly into our pre-existing bias. How very…scientific.

    Because, as we know, disgruntled ex-employees (for whatever reason) are always reliable sources of information about their departure.

    I couldn’t care less why she left the NYT editorial board. She will not be missed. She will find another forum to spew her reflexively anti-Palestinian, pro-Israeli blather. Among others.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

      I’ve gotten a ton of comments like this one, doing their best to discredit Weiss even though the bulk of her resignation letter is about the decline in the Times’s objectivity, something we all agree on. And many are tinged with the anti-Semitism we see here, encapsulated in the words “”spew” and “blather”, which wouldn’t be used towards somebody who criticize Israel.

      Well, Martin, you’re leaving here, bye bye. Bari Weiss may not be missed by you, but if you’ve read this thread, you see she’ll be missed by many.

      You, on the other hand, won’t be missed by anyone.

  24. Richard Sanderson🤴
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Both PZ Myers and Ophelia Benson seem happy that Bari Weiss has gone from the NYT.

    Tells you a lot about them.

    • Richard Sanderson🤴
      Posted July 14, 2020 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and Mehdi Hasan is happy too.

      Of course, he is still gutted that the other Jewish journalists haven’t left yet…

      • Mate
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        The most vile are still Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton. The latter wrote recently that the Soviet Union did some “objectionable things” in a hit piece on Orwell, arguing that because his prime target was Stalinism, he was in effect a fascist.

    • Posted July 14, 2020 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      No surprises here.

  25. Ullrich Fischer
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    As more media (social and paper alike) capitulates to the Cult of the Woke, “progressive” politics loses credibility and Trumpism jumps in with the “libtard” brush to tar the entire left (ie anyone to the left of Rush Limbaugh). The Cult of the Woke is greasing the slide toward Christian Dominionist theocracy which will make “The Handmaid’s Tale seem prescient.

  26. revelator60
    Posted July 14, 2020 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I was reading a predictably gleeful article on this issue by the blog “Lawyers, Guns, & Money” (https://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2020/07/its-not-fair) which initially seemed to have one good point, made sarcastically:

    “Did you know the New York Times is not a welcoming place for centrist and conservative voices? Just ask David Brooks, Bret Stephens, Ross Douthat, Tom Friedman, Maureen Dowd, Nick Kristof, and everybody else there who has written endlessly for decades now about how PC Culture is Out of Control.”

    However, it seems to me that Douthat, Friedman, Stephens, and Brooks are to the right of Weiss, and as we know, it’s more common for the left to successfully cancel or drive out centrists and liberals than right-wingers. As for Dowd and Kristof, my guess (not being expert in their work) is that they discuss hot-potato issues less often than Weiss and aren’t caught up in the controversies surrounding Israel and Palestine.

  27. Posted July 14, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    She shouldn’t be hounded out – the NYT is becoming embarrassing (for many NYers like me – the 1619 was painful) but I’m not a great fan of hers, either.

    She seems to start every conversation with “As a Jew…” and I’m bored with anybody who “leads with their identity group”
    D.A.,
    NYC

    (but not “as a NYer…”)

  28. Posted July 15, 2020 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Harassment on a workplace is a serious issue.

    However, I don’t buy her as a free speech matyr she wants to be now, since I learned about her campaigning as a student where she argued very much the same way as the Woke do today, and is quoted with e.g. “We put the mentions of the publications in the film to expose the racism of these professors”, her activism was aimed at these professors and higher ups. She vehemently denies these things, but her own published activism simply does not gel with her version now.

    There is no scenario where she is not a hypocrite, even if everything she says about the professors was true. The one thing she precisely did not advocate for was for their right to say their thing. Quite the opposite.

    She is also responsible for the IDW brand that totally went sideways in my view, having popularized it with her NYT piece, where she included mostly far right wingers and libertarians around Dave Rubin (i.e. a paleolibertarian “Unite the Right” project with a distinct Koch-Prager stench).

    Piecing all of this together, I say she will wash up near Prager U and similar corners. Not a fan.

    • danstarfish
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      I’m going to take a shortcut and post a link that is pretty close to how I feel about Weiss’s early activism. https://www.reddit.com/r/TheMotte/comments/hm1kjn/culture_war_roundup_for_the_week_of_july_06_2020/fx984ks/

      I’ll continue assuming that you read what was in the link. I think Professor Massad was unprofessional. To be blunt, I think Massad really hates Jews. I think protesting him might be the liberal thing to do. With Abu El-Haj I think she made a youthful error in judgement.

      Here is my question to you. Did you know about Massad and Abu El-Haj before you passed judgement on Weiss. If you didn’t then what was your judgement based on. Was it second-hand information? Was it Greenwald?

      I’ll be frank. I don’t think you know much about her. You said “she will wash up near Prager U” which indicates to me that it is highly unlikely that you have actually listened to her or read what she has written.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

        I read a few sources, including the twitter exchange she had with Greenwald, some medium piece, her own defense. There was also one involving the dean. The details of why she wanted people gone wasn’t interesting to me, only that her activism was much like the cancel culture activism she decries today, and that is apparent. Her total denial, in that vehemence did not pass a sniffing test in the face of the evidence.

    • kelskye
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      Advocacy for free speech shouldn’t be a purity test. I’d be very surprised if anyone has been fully consistent in a position throughout their lives, let alone accounting for people growing and learning.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

        It isn’t a purity test. Nobody says you can’t change your mind. You could even champion the cause you changed your mind about. But doing so when it is self-serving and pretending you never changed your mind, that’s another story.

        • kelskye
          Posted July 15, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

          How do you know that it’s only when it’s self-serving? Was she just writing articles before she quit advocating an anti-free speech position? Have you kept detailed track of her intellectual development?

          • Posted July 16, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            You do too little work for the straw you pile up. You can easily look up the case yourself. I am confident that any reasonable person will see that she was very much like the woke activists back then (calling professors “racist”, trying to get rid of them), she now has an issue with it, when it’s fashionable in her corner.

            It’s fine to change your mind, but at no point does she even acknowledge that something changed, that as you call it “intellectual development” took place: she outright denies this in a long tweet series.

            But the facts just disagree. The controversy at Columbia was apparently huge hot mess with a thousand devils in the details. But there is just no version where her assertions hold up.

            “ […] resist attacks from within and outside the university that jeopardize academic freedom at Columbia.”

            https://www.nyclu.org/en/press-releases/nyclu-defends-academic-freedom-columbia-university

            “FIRE agrees with the NYCLU that recent demands by government officials that Columbia terminate the relevant professors are unconscionable.”

            https://www.thefire.org/fire-letter-to-columbia-university-president-lee-bollinger-january-10-2005/

            • kelskye
              Posted July 16, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

              So you can only change your views if you publicly denounce any time you didn’t live up to them in the past? Got it, it’s a purity rather than pragmatic issue.

              Personally the stuff I saw her write in the times showed she cared about the free speech issue long before the resignation, but that’s just me.

              • Posted July 19, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

                Purity! publicly denounce! Breathe! She can do anything she want. She could cancel herself and her name on the letter would not change one bit about it. However, she would be a hypocrite. She is a hypocrite and not because, as you exaggerated here again, “publicly denounce” and it’s about “purity” but because she roundly denies altogether that she was in the getting-professors-fired-business herself, which she was.

                She could even turn this into a strength. Because she would be in the position to dissect in more detail how the thinking goes behind cancelling, and what changed for her (or what factors apparently make it palpable to her).

      • Richard Sanderson🤴
        Posted July 15, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        Indeed.

        It is worth noting that Bari’s position on freedom of expression has moved more towards the liberal position as she has matured.

        Compare that to the regressive left and the #NewRacists, such as PZ Myers, who went the other way, and started banging on about “freeze peach” nonsense, and viewed the liberal position on free speech as something akin to something only Nazis or ‘white supremacists’ subscribe to.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      “her campaigning as a student where she argued very much the same way as the Woke do today,”

      I know nothing about her history, but why bother with her views when a student? She’s 36. Plenty of time to mature. I’d rather critics deal directly with her more recent views.

      • Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Permanently riveting any possibly objectionable statements onto someone’s back is standard operating procedure for the woke.

        On a politics feed on FB which I joined (and may likely hide soon) was a picture of Mt. Rushmore with huge tags “rapist” “slaver” etc. on the faces.

        I thought I would comment, “And that fully sums up their lives and works, eh?” but decided that was a waste of time.

        • Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Which is just another example of what Weiss is talking about: Self-censorship in an Orwellian environment.

          • rickflick
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

            Ya, but you’ve got to save you energy for the big showdowns. You can’t take on every loon out there.

          • rickflick
            Posted July 15, 2020 at 10:23 am | Permalink

            Good to keep in mind, too, that some of the junk you see on line is from Russian intelligence. Don’t fire until you see the whites of their bloodshot eyes.

  29. Filippo
    Posted July 15, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    ‘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.”’

    In that Weiss has not said what these avatars of epistemic humility want to hear, perhaps they would welcome into the op-ed sacred groves certain others much more intellectually curious and informed than she:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/07/13/where-are-consequences-desean-jacksons-rant-against-jews


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