New York Times opinion columnist and editor Bari Weiss resigned Tuesday, alleging she was bullied by colleagues who disagreed with her views and painting a picture of an intolerant newsroom.
In a lengthy resignation letter, which she posted on her personal website, she said she has been called a "Nazi and a racist." She also said Times' staffers derided her at times by saying she was "writing about the Jews again."
She said self-censorship had "become the norm" at the newspaper and that opinion pieces published just two years ago would now get an editor or writer "in serious trouble, if not fired."
"If a person's ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized," she wrote. "Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome."
Weiss wrote she began working at the newspaper in 2017 to "help offer a different perspective" after the Times' "failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn't have a firm grasp of the country it covers."
"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," Weiss wrote.
"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."
She said social media acts as the "ultimate editor" even though "Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times."
"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," she wrote. "Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative."
Spectator chairman Andrew Neil called her resignation "devastating" on Twitter, adding that Weiss "says, in effect, that the Twitter lynch mobs now edit the New York Times."
Senior editor of the National Review Jay Nordlinger tweeted that her resignation is important.
"If we are ever to right the ship in the direction of free expression and diversity of thought, this statement by @bariweiss will be remembered as important."
The newspaper faced backlash on social media and internally for publishing an op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., about answering protesters with a law and order approach. After defending its decision to publish the piece, the newspaper then issued an apology.
Weiss said the situation created a "civil war" within the paper.
Lionel Barber, former editor of the Financial Times, tweeted that anyone interested in "modern journalism" regardless of political views or ethnic background should read Weiss's resignation letter.
"Don't believe for a minute that conflict in the newsroom about free speech is confined to the New York Times," he wrote.
She noted that her own "forays into Wrongthink" caused her to be smeared by other newspaper employees on social media as a "liar and a bigot."
"I have learned to brush off comments about how I'm ‘writing about the Jews again,'" Weiss wrote.
She said "showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery" and ripped publisher A.G. Sulzberger for allowing behavior inside the newsroom "in full view of the paper's entire staff and the public."
"Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times," she said.
Acting editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury provided a statement to Fox News on Weiss's departure.
"We appreciate the many contributions that Bari made to Times Opinion. 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," Kingsbury said. "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."
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