Bari Weiss’s Brilliant Farewell to the New York Times Doesn’t Go Far Enough

July 14, 2020 Updated: August 3, 2020


My only question for Bari Weiss after reading her otherwise eloquent (and evidently much discussed) letter of resignation to the New York Times is what took you so long?

A corollary question might be: why did you join in the first place?

I’m assuming Ms. Weiss, an intelligent woman with a degree from Columbia and a stint as an editor at the estimable Tablet, was well aware of the Times’ devoutly leftwing Weltanschauung that dates back at least to Walter Duranty’s epochal whitewash of Stalin in the Thirties (“You can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs”) and continued through the back page treatment of the Holocaust (Auschwitz was not big news) to Herbert Matthews’ mawkish fawning over Fidel Castro.

And then we have the embarrassing era of Jayson Blair (2003) who lied undetected on the front page of the paper—made up stories out of whole cloth—no less than seven times. The Times itself declared Blair’s journalistic misdeeds “unprecedented.”

If he hadn’t been caught, Blair might have won the Pulitzer, just like Duranty before him and the crew that garnered a raft of those increasingly ludicrous prizes in 2018 for lying incessantly about non-existent Trump-Russia collusion.

That last was from when Dean Baquet took over the editorial helm and things were going even more poorly for normal people like Weiss.

Working for the New York Times became like living in a nightmarish sequel to “The Lord of the Flies” enacted on Slack by jejune bullies recently graduated from Columbia Journalism School.

Are you a hundred percent behind Black Lives Matter and sympathetic to Antifa’s excesses (try getting by on an adjunct community college lecturer’s salary yourself)? Do you acknowledge Mao’s Great Leap Forward was understandable even if thirty million died of starvation and a necessary development of a unique culture?

Do you agree that Donald Trump is not only the worst president in our history but one of the worst people of all time, right up there with Torquemada and Gilles de Rais?

If not, get out of this newsroom, you racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, homophobic, xenophobic, transphobic, lobotomized homunculus, and never come back. You are c-c-canceled forever. Turn in your laptop and cut off your hand.

I admit it’s done somewhat more subtly—they would never call anyone a homunculus; that’s ableism—but this is the basic intention.

Alfred Ochs’ foundational wish for the paper (1896), quoted by Weiss, “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” today almost seems like a dark comic joke being perpetrated on us from the past.

Nowadays there are some perfunctory conservative columnists—Ross Douthat writes well—but they are largely irrelevant because the entire newspaper, front and back pages, is left-leaning opinion, the front masquerading as impartial news, sometimes under the euphemistic rubric of “news analysis” (read: propaganda).

Indeed, the so-called hard news is almost always as biased as the columns and more dangerously so because of the charade involved.

But all this begs the question of why Weiss would sign on with such a publication as an editor/columnist. I mean, she knew, right?

Well, I did.

Okay, it was back in the eighties and I only wrote a few columns for the book review, but, boy, was my mother proud. It was The New York Times!

And that’s the problem. The paper, because of its incredible reputation and influence, will not go away.  The Mainstream Media still looks to the Times, it is still the authority, no matter how wrong or biased it is.

It is Pravda without having to have Stalin tell everyone to read it and obey. They (the liberal half of the country anyway) do it by themselves. And all the dutiful liberal reporters follow sooth like the Seven Dwarfs.

They check the Times before they do anything. Before they finish their coffee.

The New York Times is, in a sense, the root of all journalistic evil.

How do we on the right and the center stop it? Bari Weiss made a good start, but as I said she might have gone further.

Still, the NYT will not be laid low by invective alone. It has to be destroyed the American way—by competition. People on the center and the right must build media institutions that rival and eclipse the Times, that take their business away.

Then Bari can join us and write what she wishes, even attack the rightwing troglodytes if that’s her opinion. We promise not to make fun of her on Slack.

Roger L. Simon is a prize-winning author, Oscar-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media. His most recent books are “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (non-fiction) and “The GOAT” (fiction).

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.