Bari Weiss, a writer and editor for the New York Times opinion section, resigned from the newspaper this week. She published her resignation letter to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger on her own site, and the whole thing is worth a read. Two parts stood out:
1) She wrote that Twitter is the "ultimate editor" of the paper:
Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. 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. 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. 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. 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 has a high level of visibility -- which was only made higher today -- and a lot of well placed friends throughout the media industry. She'll probably land at a new job soon at an outlet we've heard of where she will be well compensated. A lot of the people at the Times who didn't like her work there will still probably hate-read and/or watch and/or listen to her and rip her on social media, just like before.