Debattredaktør Bari Weiss har publisert sitt oppsigelsesbrev til avisens ledelse. Et flengende oppgjør med en kultur som er intolerant og tyrannisk: Det er kun plass til én mening, og denne ortodoksien rammer alle som ikke deler den.
Nok et eksempel på at det liberale Amerika er i dyp krise. Er det én medieinstitusjon som symboliserer den liberale eliten, så er det New York Times.
Men det har lenge vært klart at avisen har store indre motsetninger.
Bari Weiss skriver at hun begynte i avisen i 2017 i håp om å få det liberale USA til å forstå hvorfor den andre halvdelen valgte Trump. Men snart fire år senere må hun konstatere at de liberale ingenting har lært.
Weiss then explained that she joined the paper in 2017 to help offer a different perspective, as 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,” and fixing that issue was critical.“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.”
Weiss then wrote that “Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times,” but social media acts as the 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,” she wrote. “Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.”
“They have called me a Nazi and a racist,” she wrote.
“I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again.’ Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers,” Weiss added. “My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in.”
New York Times har jødiske eiere og har alltid hatt synlige jødiske kommentatorer. At jøder mobbes qua jøder i New York Times, er et varsel om at noe er forferdelig galt.
En av de jødiske familiene på eiersiden er Sulzberger. Weiss utfordrer ham direkte: Hvorfor har han tillatt slik mobbing i åpne chattefora hvor redaktørene selv var til stede?
Disse lederne har rost Weiss privat, skriver hun. Men de tør ikke stå for noe. Den intellektuelle nysgjerrigheten er død, og uten den kan man ikke drive en avis.
“I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,” Weiss wrote. “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.”
Hvorfor skrive noe utfordrende som trenger mange omganger bearbeiding før det blir spiselig, når man kan publisere op-ed nummer 4.000 som sier at Trump er en fare for verdensfreden?
Selvsensur er blitt normen i avisen, skriver Weiss.
She continued: “Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.”
Takhøyden er drastisk senket. Det som for bare et par år siden ville glidd gjennom uten problem, kan i dag koste en medarbeider jobben.
“Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets,” she wrote. “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.”