By Hellen Zaboulani
On Tuesday, Bari Weiss, New York Times opinion writer quit her job. Weiss wrote a lengthy and public resignation letter, citing a “hostile work environment”, and a management decision to make Twitter the paper’s “ultimate editor.” Known as one of the most polarizing journalists in the country, and one of few conservative voices with The NY Times, Weiss had joined the Times three years ago. Formerly, the 36-year-old had been employed at The Wall Street Journal. In 2019 the Jerusalem Post had named her one of the World’s 50 Most Influential Jews.
In the resignation letter, which she also posted on her personal website, Weiss said the paper was choosing to “satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.” She said her opinions and any opinion which is not considered main stream matter very little, while the number of ‘clicks’ a written piece received took on primary importance. “Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor,” she wrote, in the nearly 1,500-word piece.
“The truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times,” Weiss wrote. “As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space.” Weiss, who writes she had to be “brave” to be truthful about her views, says the paper has become politically correct at a price. “If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.”
She continues to describe her workplace and how she was made to feel unwelcome for her right-wing opinions, and even her defense for Jewish people. “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,” she wrote in the resignation. “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.”
Weiss also strikes a blow at the Times, writing, “As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere.”