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:
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.