Tuesday, July 14, 2020

You Can't Be Inclusive Unless You Exclude

Bari Weiss, a former opinion writer with the New York Times has resigned over bullying from other employees of the Times.  She has written a bold resignation letter over the state of contemporary discourse. 

Excerpts:

"I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home."

"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.'" [Ms. Weiss has written an important book on anti-Semitism.]

"some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one. . ."  [You can't be inclusive unless you are exclusive.]

"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."

"I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. .  . .  Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery."  [Didn't the Times come out against bullying?]

"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."

"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."

"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."

"But 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.'"

"Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them."

It is a sad, sad day in America when one of the strongest voices against anti-Semitism is bullied out of her job because she is not "woke" enough.

(Scott Fruehwald)

 

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_skills/2020/07/you-cant-be-inclusive-unless-you-exclude.html

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