Friday, July 17, 2020

  • Friday, July 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon
Bari-Weiss-NYT-2

 

Bari Weiss, the centrist opinion page editor at the New York Times, resigned from her position on Tuesday with a blistering resignation letter that went viral and was damning to the newspaper.

Many people have been writing about the resignation; her critics are cheering and criticizing her letter and her fans doing the opposite. But nearly no one has explained exactly why she had to resign.

Instead, we see accusations like Alex Shephard’s at TNR:

Weiss wants to frame her resignation as a consequence of this supposed hostile takeover—that she’s a free thinker cast out by an intolerant, illiberal regime. But her letter, while long on invective (and just plain long), is short on evidence, and what she’s done instead amounts to auto-cancellation: quitting, then blaming her peers for driving her out. It’s a rhetorical mode that many of her fellow travelers in the “Intellectual Dark Web” are familiar with.

The “short on evidence” accusation is strange; her resignation letter has plenty of examples of why the work environment was difficult but is hardly an appropriate place to show screenshots or name names. However, the accusation of her “quitting and them blaming her peers for driving her out” is worth examining. In order to do that one must understand how the Opinion section works at the New York Times.

At the NYT, there are many opinion editors whose jobs are to find and encourage good opinion pieces, all working under a managing editor. Historically, most of these editors have been blatantly anti-Israel, and it was therefore easy for anti-Israel op-eds to get published – often with little regard to fact checking. Up until a few years ago, most of the pro-Israel pieces would be from far-right Israelis (who could be easily dismissed as lunatics) or Israeli government officials.  Those pieces would be assigned by the managing editor who is responsible for the overall tenor of the page and who would feel an obligation to run some unpopular pieces every once in a while to appear even-handed. Before 2017, the ratio of anti- to pro- Israel opinion pieces was typically 5-1. For a decent pro-Israel piece to be published the writer would need to find an editor who was not hostile to Israel to begin with  and then the piece would be sent back numerous times for edits – while anti-Israel pieces would sail through the process.

Weiss was hired specifically to add different voices to the Times in the wake of Donald Trump’s unexpected win. While Bret Stephens was hired at the same time, he was hired as a columnist; Weiss was an editor. Both Weiss and Stephens dislike Trump immensely. But Weiss was there to increase the number of thoughtful op-eds from conservative and other voices that would normally not be heard. From all the evidence, she succeeded.

Weiss was always disliked at the Times, mostly because her views – while solidly liberal and centrist – were far to the right of the other opinion editors. Those other editors were also jealous of her success  (one of her own columns became a Saturday Night Live sketch, and her book on antisemitism was a best seller as she appeared on numerous TV shows.) Of course, Weiss is also a Zionist and a proud Jew, not shy about calling out antisemitism, and the other editors were unhappy with both of those – she mentioned in her letter that she heard negative comments that she was “writing about the Jews again.”

I am told that even NYT workers who are perceived to be friends with Weiss and Stephens are looked down upon by the intolerant Leftist employees.

Weiss’ letter describes a hostile work environment with very specific, outrageous examples. However, that is not the major reason why she was forced to leave. Weiss had to leave because she literally could not do her job.

After the Tom Cotton op-ed controversy, where there was a virtual revolt at the NYT resulting in managing opinion editor James Bennett’s ouster, a new policy was implemented at the Times called the “red flag” system, which allows even junior editors to “stop or delay the publication of an article containing a controversial view or position.”

This truly stupid policy allows any editor to veto the work of any other editor on the op-ed page.

If a piece is deemed too controversial or microaggressive, it would be stopped or delayed. Editors can now refuse to edit pieces they are assigned, something that would have resulted in being fired not that long ago. The young millennials have essentially taken over the op-ed page and they are so far Left – and have so little regard for tolerating others’ ideas – that the entire op-ed section is a disaster.

There was another side effect of the policy, though: it ensured that unpopular editors like Bari would be censored. Since she wasn’t liked, any of her co-workers could silence her.

Suddenly, every single opinion piece that Weiss would spend hours working on with promising writers would be quashed by her coworkers who disliked her.  Anything she would write herself would be rejected by the crowd.

She was drawing a salary but could not do what she was hired to do. And obviously the new woke managing editor who is herself hostile to Zionism was not going to protect the proudly Zionist Weiss from this bullying  the way a supervisor in a normal job is supposed to. 

Weiss had no choice but to quit if she ever wanted to be heard again.

From all indications, Weiss was an excellent editor, better than most there.  This can be seen by this letter that Weiss wrote to Marisa Kabas rejecting her op-ed idea and making constructive suggestions on how she can be published. Kabas, instead of recognizing that most editors wouldn’t spend any time trying to groom a young writer for success, tweeted this very nice letter as if it was a negative!

 

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So many writers responded that the letter makes Weiss look good and Kabas look like a self-centered idiot that Kabas deleted her tweet.

That tweet is the New York Times op-ed department in a nutshell – the young know-it-alls saying they know better than the people with skill and experience. The millennials who have taken over the Times op-ed page cannot distinguish between diversity in hiring and diversity in thought, and they think that their supposedly fresh ideas can replace skill and competence.

Bari Weiss will land on her feet. She is smart and talented. Meanwhile, the inmates have taken over the asylum at the New York Times op-ed department.



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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.

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