A New York Times writer and editor quit Tuesday and published a resignation letter in which she alleged the paper is gripped by a culture of bullying and extreme liberal bias.
Bari Weiss, who joined the paper as an opinion editor and writer three years ago, cited “constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views” and a culture of “self-censorship” in explaining her decision to walk away.
“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,” Weiss wrote to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger.
“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,” she wrote.
“Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.”
“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,”she wrote.
“Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.”
Weiss went on to describe a culture of bullying, intimidation and intolerance from the newspaper’s liberal employees.
“My own forays into Wrong-think have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist,” she wrote.
“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,” Weiss continued.
“Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” she added.
Weiss also touched on the resignation of editorial page editor James Bennet over the newspaper’s decision to publish an Op-Ed from Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton last month.
In his Op-Ed, Cotton said he supported using the military, if necessary, to restore order following nationwide riots after the May death of George Floyd.
The message published by a sitting U.S. senator apparently sent Times staffers into an uproar, so Bennet stepped down.
Weiss said the selective outrage over Cotton’s piece in the paper is evidence that The Times has lost its way.
“It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed ‘fell short of our standards.’ We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it ‘failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history,'” she wrote.
“But 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.”
Weiss portrayed the newspaper as a rudderless and partisan activist organization that is being directed by opinions on social media.
“Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,” she wrote.
Acting Times editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury responded to Weiss’ resignation in a statement Tuesday.
“We appreciate the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion,” she told The Washington Post.
Cotton responded to Weiss’ public resignation by taking a swipe at The Times on Twitter.
“The New York Times’s transition from a newspaper to a safe space for the woke mob continues!” Cotton wrote.