The New York Times New McCarthyism- The Resignation of Bari Weiss.

Graham Hill's picture
Submitted by Graham Hill on Wed, 2020-07-15 21:56
NBR Re Foley wines.png

Ms Weiss a features writer for the New York Times has resigned and her letter is of some importance. Some extracts are set out here and are well worth reading. What she touches on affects our Mainstream or Legacy Media too, which often most uncritically draws heavily on the New York Times as well.

“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.”


"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. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative."

"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." "... 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.”

“But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm. What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. 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.

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. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it.”

“…I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: “to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.”

“Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry. Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the “new McCarthyism” that has taken root at the paper of record."

"All this 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.”

Then yesterday in an email from the NBR there was this about Foley wines. Mr Foley as an adult supports Mr Trump: http://www.solopassion.com/fil... What Ms Weiss complains about is evident here as well. Is it really for the media, and Ms Dita De Boni, who are uninformed about Mr Foley's freedom of political choice, and who are not in a dialogue with Mr Foley, to pronounce on and dictate to Mr Foley, and readers, on the moral choice and political rectitude of what "rightly attracts opprobrium"? Is the predetermined media Jacobin narrative is to prevail and fixed for all time? The earth is therefore flat? Contrary or new facts/evidence are of no weight in amending or modifying an opinion? Is Truth to be merely a bankrupted political narrative dogma? Political problem solving requires evidence, a basis in reality and concession.

For example, few of Mr Trump’s New Zealand detractors I have spoken to have a good knowledge of American 20thC history to establish the context Mr Trump sits in; nor appreciate how immanent socialism and if merged with corporates, fascism, maybe in the USA. None acknowledge, that nearly half the US population voted for him and that he garnered support from the US interior which has been ignored and subjected to several diasporas in the last 150 years (which obviously included black lives). Lest we forget they are human beings and citizens too.

Few or none appreciate that Mr Trump returned powers and processes to the senate. None have or will read, for example, the Classicist and Historian Professor Victor Davis Hanson’s book The Case For Trump which was by way of irony a New York Times Best Seller I have not seen it in any of our book shops. Then there is Alan Dershowitz’s (A Democrat) The Case Against the Democratic House Impeaching Trump and Democrat Law Professor Jonathan Turley’s pieces on his Blog, which are a voice of balance.

The 30 years war was like the present and was over obdurate opinion and narrative. It was bloody, inconclusive, and destructive and the ideologues ultimately had to take second place to secular authority and common sense need to live and let live. Bari Wiess’s resignation- constructive dismissal- is a casualty in a religious war. A Peace of Westphalia is sorely needed.

Graham Hill 16 July 2020


To Mr Hunter

Graham Hill's picture

You make a good point. The reference to "McCarthyism" was not mine but the Ms Weiss' The point it seems to me was McCarthy's MO.

The City Journal has an article on Stephen Pinker and his current problems with the "woke mob" which illustrates the MO: https://www.city-journal.org/s...

New McCarthyism?

Mark Hunter's picture

"New McCarthyism” is a poor designation considering that McCarthy was correct, and that he was persecuted like people such as Bari Weiss herself are being persecuted today.

A

Mr_Lineberry's picture

Thoughtful discussion on this matter by our friends at Right Angle.

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