Bari Weiss — the New York Times’ Opinion editor and writer who often pushed against the paper’s advancing leftism — has resigned from the Times.
What are the details?
Weiss noted in her lengthy resignation letter to publisher A.G. Sulzberger that her hiring three years ago came “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 Weiss said her stint at the Times was filled with opposition from colleagues hell-bent on advancing and preserving a leftist point of view at the so-called “paper of record”:
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.
Weiss in her letter also criticized the Times for its internal outrage over an op-ed by Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, which advocated for President Donald Trump to use military force to stop the rioting that erupted from protests inspired by George Floyd’s death. In the wake of the op-ed, editorial page editor James Bennet resigned.
She noted that such a chilling incident “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.”
What did the Times have to say?
A Times spokesperson sent Vice the following statement from Kathleen Kingsbury, acting editorial page editor:
We appreciate the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion. I’m personally committed to ensuring that The Times continues to publish voices, experiences and viewpoints from across the political spectrum in the Opinion report. We see every day how impactful and important that approach is, especially through the outsized influence The Times’s opinion journalism has on the national conversation.
Here’s a clip of Weiss speaking about Trump on “Real Time With Bill Maher”:
Bari Weiss – why Trump wins and Democrats lose