Resignation Letter by Bari Weiss
Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. 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.
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.
I’m no regular read of The New York Times: I had never heard of Bari Weiss before today. I became aware of this letter (ironically) through Twitter. Weiss’ words ring true with me though in the types of exchanges I see on social platforms more and more. I feel like this behavior and mentality happens consistently within the video game industry, its journalism aspect included. Outrage and dogpiling are regular events to observe.
Weiss’ letter is a far more eloquent, well-thought, and lived than my own writing. I did voice my own frustration last month in a post titled 280 Characters is Not Enough. The court of public opinion is operating with a “shoot first, never ask questions” mandate that is killing off all the principles I was taught while earning my own degree in journalism.