New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss blasted the newspaper for its intolerance of opposing viewpoints and an “illiberal environment” that has taken over the paper in a scathing resignation letter Tuesday.
Weiss recounted how she was full of gratitude and optimism when she joined the Times three years ago to join other writers from the center and the right who would not naturally think of the paper as their home.
That optimism turned to disillusionment as Weiss said she was constantly bullied by her colleagues and called a racist and a Nazi by those who disagreed with her.
In addition to her Times colleagues, Weiss was heavily criticized by liberals for signing a letter that appeared in Harper’s Bazaar last week decrying the “cancel culture” efforts of the Left, even though it was signed by dozens of progressives.
One of Weiss’s complaints had to do with Twitter and its influence on the editorial process of the Times.
“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.”
Weiss also criticized the Times’ op-ed policy which came under heavy scrutiny after it published an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calling for the president to send in the troops to quell the racial unrest that was gripping the country at a time and leading to riots and property destruction.
“It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed ‘fell short of our standards’”
The aftermath of the op-ed led to the Times attaching a long editor’s note apologizing for running the piece in the first place and the resignation of James Benet the editorial page editor and the reassignment of the deputy editorial page editor Jim Dao.
Weiss also laid out what she felt were the “rules” that journalists would have to abide by if they wanted to remain at the Times.
“All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. 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.”
She concluded that while great journalists still work at the Times it was “heartbreaking” to see them having to do so in such an “illiberal environment.”