Recently, a centrist opinion page editor at the New York Times resigned in order to avoid getting Canceled, and wrote an indictment of the paper, which used to be a serious news source and would now seem to be living on the fumes of its reputation:
I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.
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. 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.
Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor …
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.Bari Weiss, “Resignation Letter” at Bari Weiss
With group cowardice comes complacency and Weiss will likely soon be forgotten. A reliable hack can be hired to replace her. Who else would want to work with the dreadful people she describes? “Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times.”
There are, of course, real media out there still. They struggle and are sometimes persecuted but that is part of what makes them real.
Anyway, David Klinghoffer writes:
“Orthodoxy,” a “predetermined narrative,” smears, lies, vicious application of false labels, “bullying,” “online venom,” “fear of the digital thunderdome,” an increasingly narrow field of what constitutes acceptable thought, “Speak your mind at your own peril,” the “best ideas…need a hearing.” What she describes, piercingly, is exactly the experience that scientists like Richard Sternberg, Günter Bechly, Douglas Axe, Eric Hedin, Granville Sewell, Scott Minnich have had in academia.
Read some of them on the Free Science website. Writing about Dr. Sternberg’s treatment by the Smithsonian was my own introduction to how corrupted our finest institutions had become by thought control. Already in 2004, Sternberg could have echoed Bari Weiss’s words: “Unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.” Read his story here. Oh boy, do I hope she sues.David Klinghoffer, “Bari Weiss Knows What ID Scientists Already Knew” at Evolution News and Science Today:
He adds, “As neuroscientist Michael Egnor wrote here recently, ID proponents were the canaries in the coalmine of free speech.”
As more and more normal people are Canceled for doing normal things, it will become progressively clearer that the nasties of Cancel Culture are at direct odds with the welfare of any normal enterprise they attach themselves to, whether it is a newspaper or a science. Finally, one must choose between catering to them and tending to the welfare of the enterprise.
But forget high school. 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 newspaper publishes is something between “Go, write a piece explaining why that piece is wrong” and “Fetch my latte.” Journalism jobs are hard to come by and, for every troublesome staffer at The Times, there are undoubtedly at least a dozen candidates out there who would do at least as good a job and with less overweening self-importance.Glenn Harlan Reynolds, “Bari Weiss’ resignation a sign of narrowing views at New York Times” at USA Today
It’s becoming an unnecessary institution.
Sure enough, someone asks at The American Spectator, what is the point of the New York Times?