“A Digital Thunderdome”: Another Times Editor Leaves Under Fire For Opposing Views

Yellow journalismWe have been discussing the shocking abandonment of journalistic principles by the New York Times in its recent apology for publishing a column by a United States Senator and forcing out an editor who had the audacity to publish an opposing view of the current protests.  The newspaper effectively declared echo-journalism to be its new mission.  Now another opinion writer and editor, Bari Weiss, has resigned after what she called an “illiberal environment” where she has been harassed and abused by other reporters without any intervention from the management. In a scathing resignation letter, Weiss called the Times a “Digital Thunderdome.”

In the Cotton controversy, various writers falsely claimed that the senator’s column contained false and unconstitutional statements.  Simply the act of publishing the column led to the removal of the editor. Yet, one of those writers recently spread a clearly false conspiracy theory about police with no such outcry.

After the removal of the editor and cringing apology of the newspaper, Weiss said that the environment at the newspaper became openly intolerant and hostile for anyone deemed insufficiently obedient to the new orthodoxy at the newspaper.  She wrote in her resignation letter that “showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.”  She claims to have been called a “nazi” and “rascist” for holding opposing views: “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.”

She said that she is not alone in such treatment under the new order and that “the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times.” She stated:

“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.”

The last few weeks have seen the rapid acceleration of attack on free speech and the free press. The most chilling aspect of this period is that the attacks has come from universities and the press itself.  Faculty and reporters have remained silent as their colleagues have been abused. Many are fearful that they will also be labeled as racist.  These attacks have succeeded in chilling speech.  Indeed, Weiss describes how management encouraged her in private but remained conspicuously silent in public.  She stated “Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do.” It is an account that is all too familiar for those of us in academia. However, the collapse of the New York Times — long the iconic paper of record in the United States — has been the most chilling development in this glacial period.

I have previously said that the actions of the New York Times on the Cotton column would stand alone in journalistic infamy.  It is not surprising that the New York Times has allowed an environment of intolerance and abuse to expand in the vacuum left by by its earlier abandonment of core principles.  None of this matters to most readers or reporters.  Readers now have a newspaper that will not challenge their assumptions or their positions.  Reporters will be allowed to continue to write so long as they do not challenge the orthodoxy of the new order.  It is a pattern that we have seen played out repeatedly in history and it has never ended well.


98 thoughts on ““A Digital Thunderdome”: Another Times Editor Leaves Under Fire For Opposing Views”

  1. Ah, just like Nazi Germany. The New York Times will be staffed totally with pure believers.

  2. This, from Weiss’s missive:
    It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed “fell short of our standards.” We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it “failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.” But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

    The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

    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.
    We should all remember that the NYT is held in high esteem by the shills here. And, if the collection of monkeys at the NYT is for the Democrats, then what does that say about the Democrats???

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  3. Rhodes — I take it simply that Ms Weiss couldn’t get along with her peers. No matter how she elaborates it.

  4. Free speech is free speech and must be protected.

    And resignations never have their intended effect if done in the heat of the moment. It’s an ugly road, Professor. Sticking to your tyranny of the left motif during these times of extreme incompetence on the right is a game contractually determined, no doubt…, but honestly this is today’s real story: a pandemic is hammering the country and Americans are uniquely incapable of dealing with the consequences.

    1. Buggy:
      “And resignations never have their intended effect if done in the heat of the moment. It’s an ugly road, Professor. Sticking to your tyranny of the left motif during these times of extreme incompetence on the right is a game contractually determined, no doubt…, but honestly this is today’s real story: a pandemic is hammering the country and Americans are uniquely incapable of dealing with the consequences.”
      Erratic much? And the world salad? Get that Scottish loon, Gordon Ramsey, in here. He’d be impressed.

      Come on, Joe Biden wrote that, didn’t he? And you wanted to be the Grammar Police. Lol

        1. Standard platform: F tards trying to lord their supposed higher IQ’s should know how to f&*cking spell. Didn’t make the rules but we all just have to live by them.

          1. Extra points for the hallucinatory shout out to the entity that is Gainesville though. It seems to be a strange condition overcoming several trumpers on this blog.

      1. Why does Johnny Buglife have the “feel” of Mr. Shill?

        “…Joke Biden wrote that,…”

        I refuse to believe Joke could make it through a single paragraph coherently.

        Joke Biden is not running for president, his VP pick is.

        “Release Joke Biden’s Tax Returns Now!”

  5. “We cannot advance freedom abroad (internationally) by deserting it at home” – wise words from the Father of Modern Journalism – Edward R. Murrow. Ironic how politicians use the threat of losing freedom to take away freedoms!

    1. F:

      Fog Factor






      – Definition of Fog Factor

      average number of superfluous polysyllabic words per sentence in a sample of 200 words – clear writing = 2 & 3, childishly simple = below 2, Foggy = above 3


      – Definition of haughty

      blatantly and disdainfully proud : having or showing an attitude of superiority and contempt for people or things perceived to be inferior –

      haughty aristocrats, haughty young beauty … never deigned to notice us— Herman Melville


      – Definition of Benson

      delusional; impertinent; immaterial; irrelevant; senile

  6. I think if we step back about 1000 light years and look at this situation, Trump has had a cathartic effect on American society. He’s like an Amish drawing salve – he brings all the ugliiness and filth to the surface. Thanks to Trump, we have seen with our own eyes corruption that would have been too unbelievable to be the subject of a Hollywood movie. The CIA, the FBI, the DOJ, the WHO, it’s never-ending. We have had the opportunity to witness once-proud institutions and individuals fling themselves with abandon on the funeral pyre of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. No indignity is too undignified, no intellectual compromise is too abject. We have seen the First Amendment shredded, we watch helplessly as a once honored and honorable federal judge abandons decorum and professional ethics to destroy Michael Flynn. There is no sense of proportion, there is no common ground for dialogue. Rights have become privileges accorded to those who follow the echo chamber rules. We have become what this country was founded to escape. Very few have the lucidity to see it and even fewer have the courage to call it by its name. Turley is one of those few. As much as I disagree with him frequently, at least he still has some ability to distinguish emotion from law. If we don’t completely destroy ourselves, I think the end result could be a correcting of course. It reminds me of the scene in the Godfather:
    Clemenza: That’s all right. These things gotta happen every five years or so, ten years. Helps to get rid of the bad blood. Been ten years since the last one. You know, you gotta stop them at the beginning. Like they should have stopped Hitler at Munich, they should never let him get away with that, they was just asking for trouble.

      1. There will be no opportunity to correct course if Biden wins and Schumer becomes Senate Majority Leader.

        They have openly declared their intentions to dismember the mechanisms designed to prevent majoritarian tyranny: 1) they want to enact laws criminalizing speech they don’t like; 2) they want to stack the SCOTUS and judiciary (with activists who will likely decide some political speech is “hate speech”, effectively criminalizing political dissent); 3) they want to end the Senate filibuster for legislation; and 4) they want to abolish the electoral college. Democrats want to dismantle all of these safeguards that have been in place for centuries that have prevented them from consolidating power and imposing majoritarian tyranny.

        After, or while, they are consolidating power they will then impose the policy preferences they can not get with those mechanisms in place. These include making DC and Puerto Rico states; and giving full citizenship and voting rights to 20 million people who illegally invaded the country. They also want to repeal the 2A and confiscate firearms. This, of course, will disarm the populace and prevent any kind of violent response to their majoritarian tyranny. They will ban fracking and gasoline powered cars.

        Democrats have been quite vocal about their desire to dismantle the republic and impose majoritarian tyranny. Believe them.

  7. Jonathan Turley makes much ado about very little. TNYT has several so-called conservative op-ed writers; won’t miss this one that I never even noticed.

    1. Benson was unconscious for a few days 2 weeks ago, when the NYT fired the op ed manager for publishing an op by a GOP Congressman, and the NTY apologized for the error of the publishing.

    2. Yet you failed to address the core issue JT is bringing up, David.

      Which is that the college campus Marxism that passes for leftist thought these days in the press, is an anathema to free speech.

      To quote Ms. Weiss from her resignation letter, it is the complete opposite of “the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society”. Conversely it is totalitarianism and fascist.

      Which apparently is fine with you.

  8. Its usually the homosexuals who are the brave ones.

    Jewess Weiss and Catholic Sullivan together would be a tour-de-force. Hope they do it

    “As for Weiss’ next move, conservative commentator Andrew Sullivan wrote, “I’d say Bari’s future is a lot more promising than the NYT’s.”

    Piggybacking off Sullivan’s tweet, New York Magazine and HuffPost contributor Yashar Ali wrote, “Over the past few weeks I’ve repeatedly heard rumors from sources that Bari Weiss and Andrew Sullivan were going to work on a project together.”

    – NYPost


    “I have strongly opposed the suggested use of federal troops on both legal and non-legal grounds. It would be an unnecessary escalation of the tensions and curtail the exercise of important free speech activities”.

    Well-stated, Professor Turley. In those 2 sentences you totally summed up ‘my’ exact concerns.

    So why then are you ragging on The New York Times? Should a paper of NYT prestige let any senator use their op ed page for dubious ideas?

    Because the New York Times is such a high profile source it’s going to have these arguments. If there were 20 other sources of equal stature to the NYT we wouldn’t be discussing this. As recently as 40 years ago there were many important papers in regional hubs around the country.

    Think of it in terms of commercial real estate. Currently The NYT and WaPo are towers across the street from each other on the choicest block of Downtown. How these properties are used becomes widely discussed. Every business Downtown is focused on this block.

    Or think of it in terms of theatre. The NYT and WaPo are the two greatest arts centers in a major city. What plays at these venues draws the most attention. So there’s going be disagreement about how these spaces are used.

    But getting back to Turley, it’s odd that he would state such a wise opinion (regarding Cotton’s suggestion that Federal troops be used). Turley states this opinion, then attacks the New York Times for agreeing with him!

    “Yes, Johnathan, the NYT thinks you nailed it with your two sentence disclaimer. They may have even quoted you in private discussions.

  10. Will the lefty elite who read the NY Times even hear about this? Would they even care? Will anything change for the better? No, all around. Nothing changes until those opposed to the evil ideology that is consuming our nation fight back.

  11. “We have become a nation of dull-eyed pedestrians watching as our leaders strip away the very things that distinguish us from our enemies. With our principles gone, we are left with only politics and, of course, our sense of propriety.” Jonathan Turley, USA Today, back in 2012

    The New York Times buries stories that are “discouraged” by our “intelligence” agencies. And, sometimes, it even runs disinformation pieces at their behest.

    There’s a story that’s begging to be told, but you won’t get it from the NY Times. You won’t hear it from Jonathan Turley, either.

    What follows is one of Jonathan Turley’s best articles.

    Now? He generally plays it pretty safe.




    As he prepared to accept his nomination for re-election last week, the president made good on a promise he made at the beginning of his term: No CIA officers will be prosecuted for torture. Attorney General Eric Holder quietly announced before the convention that the last two torture investigations would close (like all the prior investigations) without any charge. As a virtual afterthought, the Justice Department added that it would not address the “propriety of the examined conduct.” The “impropriety” involved two suspects who died under torture by CIA officials.

    For those still infatuated with Obama, the announcement was the final triumph of “hope” over experience. Since Obama ran on a civil liberties platform, many expected an independent torture investigation as soon as he took office. After all, waterboarding is one of the oldest forms of torture, pre-dating the Spanish Inquisition (when it was called tortura del agua). It has long been defined as torture by both U.S. and international law, and by Obama himself. Torture, in turn, has long been defined as a war crime, and the United States is under treaty obligation to investigate and prosecute such crimes.

    However, such a principle did not make for good politics. Accordingly, as soon as he was elected, Obama set out to dampen talk of prosecution. Various intelligence officials and politicians went public with accounts of the Obama administration making promises to protect Bush officials and CIA employees from prosecution.

    ‘Order is an order’

    Though the White House denied the stories, Obama later gave his controversial speech at the CIA headquarters and did precisely that. In the speech, he effectively embraced the defense of befehl ist befehl (“an order is an order”) and, in so doing, eviscerated one of the most important of the Nuremburg principles. Obama assured the CIA that employees would not be prosecuted for carrying out orders by superiors. This was later affirmed by Holder’s Justice Department, which decided that employees carrying out torture were protected because they followed orders. The administration then decided that those who gave the orders were protected because they secured facially flawed legal opinions from the Justice Department. Finally, the Justice Department decided not to charge its own lawyers who gave those opinions because they were their . . . well . . . opinions.

    This, of course, still left two inconvenient corpses in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2002, Gul Rahman was grabbed in Pakistan while seeing a doctor who is the son-in-law of an Afghanistan warlord. He was taken by the CIA to the infamous Salt Pit, a former brick factory north of Kabul. He was beaten by guards, stripped and shackled to a cement wall in near freezing temperatures. He froze to death overnight. The CIA officer in charge of the prison who ordered the lethal abuse has been promoted, according to the Associated Press and The Washington Post.

    The second torture case was that of Manadel al-Jamadi, who died in 2003 in Iraq’s infamous Abu Ghraib prison. Al-Jamadi’s face was featured in pictures with smiling U.S. troops posed with his dead body — giving the thumbs up sign. A CIA official had interrogated al-Jamadi by suspending him from a barred window by his wrists, which were bound behind his back. The CIA interrogator, Mark Swanner, continued to demand answers even when al-Jamadi stopped responding. Swanner accused him of “playing possum” and ordered him to be repositioned for more interrogation, according to a New Yorker account. The guards finally convinced Swanner that the man was deceased. Al-Jamadi’s death was officially ruled a homicide.

    CIA promotions

    Not only have people like the commandant at the Salt Pit been promoted, but various CIA officials associated with the abuse of detainees have also been promoted under President Obama. Likewise, the lawyers responsible for those now rejected legal opinions have been promoted. One of the most notorious, Jay Bybee, was even given a lifetime appointment as a federal judge in California.

    We have gone from prosecuting torture as a war crime after World War II to treating allegations of torture as a “question of propriety” under Obama. Hundreds of officials, including President Bush, were involved. People died in interrogation. High-ranking CIA officials admitted that they destroyed evidence of torture to keep it from being used in any later prosecutions. Yet, after a years-long investigation, not a single CIA official will be charged with a single crime connected to the program. Not even a misdemeanor or a single bar referral for an attorney. Well, no one except former CIA official John Kiriakou, who is awaiting trial on criminal charges for disclosing information on the torture.

    After World War II, political philosopher Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe those who committed war crimes. The Obama administration now can add the “impropriety of torture” to our lexicon. The image of a man beaten, stripped and frozen to death in a CIA prison is not nearly as unnerving as a nation that stood by and did nothing about it. We have become a nation of dull-eyed pedestrians watching as our leaders strip away the very things that distinguish us from our enemies. With our principles gone, we are left with only politics and, of course, our sense of propriety.

    Jonathan Turley, the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University, is a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

    USA TODAY September 11, 2012

      1. “There are many stories begging to be told.” -Prairie

        The one to which I’m referring will shake this nation to its core.

            1. The Epstein saga, all the way down the rabbit hole is one place to start. I only have cynical suspicions. You sound like you have a canary in your mouth no one is expecting. 😉

                1. Yeah, probably.

                  My interest is piqued nonetheless: “The one to which I’m referring will shake this nation to its core.”


  12. Turley reserves his journalistic criticism for the NYT, the WaPo and any network that doesn’t spew the lies put out by Agent Orange or effusively praise him. He never has any negative comments about the conspiracy theories, lies, trashing of people’s reputations who disagree with Trump or any of the other pro-Trump propaganda put out by Fox, Limbaugh or Drudge. In fact, he lends his credentials to defending Agent Orange, so his comments carry little weight.

    1. His comments are very weighty. Your comments are not weighty but perhaps you do have some other “assets” that do qualify as “weighty.” N’est ce pas?

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