UNITED STATES—A New York Times opinion writer and editor, Bari Weiss, resigned Tuesday, July 14 stating that she was, “the subject of constant bullying from colleagues who disagreed with her views.”
Weiss started at the paper because she saw a lack of reality that was being reported by The New York Times after the 2016 election that so many thought would be a democratic win. The opinion column was meant to “help redress that critical shortcoming.”
Weiss posted her resignation letter to her personal website and addressed her feelings about journalism stating: “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.”
In 2019, she appeared on the popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience and said, “The challenge of what it means to be a journalist is to not see people as signifiers based on their identity. 95% of press does this.” The importance of seeing the whole story has been lost. It is easy to have a visceral reaction to seeing someone get punched in the face, but think about how you feel if you see a black man punch a white man versus a white man punch a black man with no context. If you feel entirely different about one over the other, then you are a victim of the media. It is bad journalism to assume anything other than exactly what the facts are. Some chose not to see the whole story so that their beliefs are solidified.
After three years of being with The New York Times, Weiss expressed that she was called a nazi and a racist, was praised in private for her bravery for coming to work after writing bold pieces and that self-censorship has become the norm.
In her letter she wrote, “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 said, “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.”
Weiss expressed her feelings about social media platform, Twitter as it has become the editor of the press as opposed to the paper being the editor of Twitter. Weiss stated, “the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself.”
Popularity has become more important than morality in the current political climate. Weiss told her readers, “Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired.” In her experience, she felt, if you were brave enough to offer up a controversial issue, you would be steered into a “safer ground” as security of your job was more valuable than the ethics of journalism.
The overwhelming reported ideology that America carries in 2020 is that all people should be accepted. All colors, shapes and sizes, yet mainstream censorship says the exact opposite — in fact if you don’t agree that Donald Trump has ruined our economy or that exclusively black people experience police brutality, then you are deemed as “uneducated” or even worse, a racist.
Weiss left us with, “Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere.” She said, “I hear from these people every day. ‘An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal.”