Editor for The New York Times, Bari Weiss, resigned from her job at The Times on Tuesday and wrote a stinging rebuke of the paper’s hostile culture and groupthink in her resignation letter. Her letter included unprecedented revelations uncovering massive problems at the nation’s second most circulated newspaper.
Weiss, a centrist, cited The Times’ “new McCarthyism,” “constant bullying” from colleagues who disagreed with her views, remarks from coworkers calling her a “Nazi” and a “racist” and antisemitic comments about how she would be “writing about the Jews again” as reasons for her resignation.
Her resignation letter was addressed to Arthur Gregg Sulzberger, the current publisher at The New York Times. Her letter is so damning of The Times current work culture and deep-seated liberalism that it is worth citing at length:
“Three years ago, I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives, and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home.” The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Weiss goes on to state how intellectual curiosity and risk-taking is a liability at The Times. She states that self-censorship has become the norm and that employees no longer challenge themselves or their readers because instead, they can easily write their “4000th op-ed” criticizing President Donald Trump.
Weiss laments the handling of Sen. Tom Cotton’s, R-Ark., op-ed where after receiving a small amount of criticism, The Times pulled his article and said that it had fallen short of its standards.
Additionally, Weiss said that The Times attached an editor’s note to a travel piece written about Jaffa, Israel because “it failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” However, “There is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati,” she writes.
Among the myriad of other startling revelations from Weiss’ letter is the extent to which the paper’s well-documented antisemitism may still be present as evidenced by her coworkers’ dismay that she was “writing about the Jews again.”
Though not well known, it is a fact that during the Holocaust, The New York Times covered up stories about the Nazi’s extermination of the Jews by refusing to cover it and by burying stories that were published about it deep within its pages.
Several professors have written books about The Times’ treatment of the Jews during the Holocaust including Dr. David Wyman, who wrote, “The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945” and Dr. Laurel Leff who wrote, “Buried by the Times: The Holocaust And America’s Most Important Newspaper.”
Hopefully Weiss’ letter will spark much-needed reform over at The New York Times. Its future as a paper probably depends upon it.
Read the Resignation Letter in full here.
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