Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Ethical Collapse and the "New McCarthyism": "The radical left are running" the New York Times, "and no dissent is tolerated"

Asking why has the New York Times management let the inmates run the asylum, and quoting Matthew Continetti as comparing the "paper of record" to high school, Glenn Reynolds goes on to write in USA Today that
Once known as the “Gray Lady,” the Times now looks more like a middle school run by the "Mean Girls" crowd while the administration cowers in its offices. The proper response to a bunch of junior staffers complaining about articles that a paper publishes is something between “Go, write a piece explaining why that piece is wrong” and “Fetch my latte.”
This comes in the context of, as Brian Flood reports on Fox News,
New York Times opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss [announcing] Tuesday she is leaving the Gray Lady, saying she was bullied by colleagues in an "illiberal environment," weeks after declaring there was a “civil war” inside the paper.
Weiss published a scathing resignation letter that she sent to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on her personal website, noting she doesn’t understand how toxic behavior is allowed inside the newsroom and "showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery."

  … Last month, Weiss offered insight about the internal battle among her colleagues following the publishing of an op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark. that sparked a major backlash from its own staff.

Hours before the Times offered a mea culpa for running Cotton's piece -- which called for troops to be sent in to quell the George Floyd riots -- Weiss claimed that a "civil war" was brewing within the paper.
In her resignation letter, Weiss noted that her own “forays into Wrongthink” have made her the subject of “constant bullying by colleagues” who disagree with her views.

“They have called me a Nazi and a racist,” she wrote.
“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,” Bari Weiss adds in her letter.
This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.
Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.  
Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record.
In 2018, Howard Kurtz reminds us, Weiss, the author of a book on anti-Semitism who describes herself as a centrist,
complained before about the social media “mob,” telling HBO’s Bill Maher two years ago: “Saying ‘I am offended’ is a way of making someone radioactive; a way of smearing their reputation.”

Who cannot think of the 1619 Project, when reading that
“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.”
While Ed Driscoll writes that "cancel culture claims another scalp", Instapundit's Tyler O'Neill lists some previous scalps:
Weiss’ resignation letter reads like the damning tell-alls from Google’s James Damore and Facebook’s Brian Amerige. Damore condemned Google as an “ideological echo chamber” for far-left ideas that would brook no dissent from stifling leftist orthodoxy. Amerige described Facebook as a “political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views.” Both described witch-hunts against conservatives oddly similar to the way the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) uses routine defamation to silence conservative groups as KKK-style “hate groups.”

 … Weiss concluded her resignation letter by noting that she had adopted Adolph Ochs’ 1896 vision:
“to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.” 
That is a marvelous idea, but one which it seems the Times will no longer stomach.
"Weiss is only conservative by Upper West Side standards," writes David Bernstein , "but her letter validates what a lot of people on the right have surmised goes on at the Times." Meanwhile, Glenn Reynolds has this suggestion:
PRESIDENT TRUMP SHOULD ANNOUNCE THAT HE’S ORDERING THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION AT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT TO INVESTIGATE THE NEW YORK TIMES … Sounds like systemic racism and sexism to me. And DOJ has certainly launched investigations over less.
As it happens, ‘Bari Weiss’s letter was tame,’ a New York Times insider tells The Spectator's Dominic Green (thanks to Instapundit's Ed Driscoll).
Weiss’s online enemies are already assuming that she jumped before she was pushed. That alone would confirm the impression of ethical collapse at the Times. The radical left are running the paper, and no dissent is tolerated – not even from a US senator. But the truth, I hear, is that she left in disgust.

‘This was obviously her decision. It was just, “What am I doing here anymore? The place has gone mad.”’

It won’t stop with Weiss. Colleagues on the opinion pages and in the newsroom have, I’m told, ‘ratcheted up their disdain for moderates and conservatives’. Who’s next?

"Who's next"? The very same day, it was announced that columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan is leaving New York magazine, his professional home since 2016
 … New York editor in chief David Haskell confirmed Sullivan’s resignation in a memo to staff obtained by CNN Business.
 … "I am trying hard to create in this magazine a civil, respectful, intellectually honest space for political debate," Haskell said. "I believe there is a way to write from a conservative perspective about some of the most politically charged subjects of American life while still upholding our values. I also think that our magazine in particular has an opportunity to be a place where the liberal project is hashed out, which is to say not only championed but also interrogated."
Haskell vowed to push for "work that challenges the liberal assumptions of much of our readership. But publishing conservative commentary, or critiques of liberalism and the left, in 2020 is difficult to get right, and thoughtful, well meaning people can come to different conclusions about it …"
Instapundit's Ed Driscoll knows where to get the money quote:
 … as Seth Mandel of the Washington Examiner tweets
“Translation: I want to challenge our reader base but I don’t know how to do that without challenging our reader base”
Welcome to the brave new world created by cancel ghouls, also known as garbage people or, alternatively, as drama queens

• Update — New York Times readers chime in: The Gray Lady has largely abandoned dialogue and handed the keys to America’s greatest paper to a strident, new orthodoxy that will not tolerate intellectual diversity

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