[July 16, 2020] It isn’t easy to run a business. To do it successfully during poor economic times is even more problematic. A few days ago, the recently-hired New York Times opinion editor, published a scathing resignation letter about the “toxic and destructive” culture of the old Gray Lady. Bari Weiss posted her letter in a classic example of going out with a bang.
When a business has a clear and compelling mission, sticks to time-honored values, and is lead by experienced, honorable, and open folks, then even hard times can be overcome. Those who believe this is easy, have yet to experience the competitive nature of the news market or any real commercial activity. That is why it is vital to ensure core values are established and enforced. That is not what is happening at the once-proud New York Times.
In her exit from the NY Times, Weiss does something more than make noise. She lays bare a hostile, coercive workplace, and describes incidents and insults that reveal the inner-workings of a newspaper company in decline. Her letter paints the entire news organization akin to a “woke” college campus where dissent is demonized and silenced by threats.1 Nasty? Yes, of course, it is.
In a statement dating recently from 2018, owner Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. wrote that the NY Times would “continue to resist polarization and groupthink by giving voice to the breadth of ideas and experiences.” Further, he justified the newspaper “because we believe journalism should help people think for themselves.”
The fact is, the NY Times is doing precisely the opposite. Weiss has made it clear to us that Sulzberger has betrayed the fundamental responsibilities of journalism and its principles. She states that “a new consensus has emerged … 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.” Her resignation letter is a hard-core attack on the self-assumed moral superiority of those that work at the Times.
Others have said that the Times no longer functions as an actual American newspaper. It’s new “mission” (unwritten, of course) is to rewrite the story of America, one that dovetails with the paper’s obsession with race, gender, and identity politics. Standard articles outside the opinion section, are now in lockstep with any cause that hurts America and degrades its great history.
The message is clear, the official party line is the only acceptable position, and you either go along or get out.