Bari Weiss, an opinion editor at the New York Times, resigned Tuesday, citing “constant bullying” by coworkers opposed to her efforts to encourage centrist views on the Times opinion page.
Weiss was hired three years ago to work in the paper’s opinion section after the Times failed to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election, evincing an embarrassing failure of the nation’s supposed paper of record to understand broad national sentiment. She was charged with incorporating the voices of conservatives and centrists in the Times left-leaning editorial page.
Weiss states she met fierce resistance from within that spurred “unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.” (Hmmm … legal terms. Will she sue?)
Also Tuesday, New York Times Magazine writer Andrew Sullivan, who recently pushed back on claims by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, also submitted his resignation. He wrote on Twitter the “underlying reasons for the split are pretty self-evident” but will be explained in his last column on Friday.
Weiss said colleagues branded her a Nazi and racist on staff communication channels where “masthead editors regularly weigh in” and publicly on Twitter “with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.”
She said colleagues “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.”
Additionally, Weiss writes that “several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers.”
Weiss told A.G. Sulzberger, who became the Times’ publisher in 2018:
“I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on… And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage.”
Last month, Times Editorial Page Editor James Bennet “resigned” after staff protest over the publication of a Times op-ed article in which U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, defended sending troops into cities, if necessary, to quell violent rioting in the wake of the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of police.
According to Weiss, “(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 states that Twitter is now the Times’ “ultimate editor… 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.”
Weiss said the Times failed to learn its lesson from the 2016 election of President Donald Trump, including the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society.
Kathleen Kingsbury, the acting editorial page editor of the Times, said in a statement, “I’m personally committed to ensuring that The Times continues to publish voices, experiences and viewpoints from across the political spectrum in the Opinion report. We see every day how impactful and important that approach is, especially through the outsized influence The Times’s opinion journalism has on the national conversation.”