I have been a subscriber and virtually habitual reader of The New York Times since I was a Princeton freshman in 1965. Then, the Times was quite simply the best newspaper in the world. It had a liberal editorial slant even then, but its news stories were always more comprehensive and fact-filled than those of any other newspaper in the world. And, they covered more wide-ranging subjects on a regular basis than any other English language newspaper.
In fact, when asked more than occasionally why I, a well-known conservative (probably more politically conservative in my youth than I am now) would read The New York Times so diligently, I began to issue a challenge: “You pick any story from a paper of your choice, and after you have read that story, read the Times story on the same subject, and if you don’t learn at least two new things after reading the Times story, I will buy you a steak dinner.” (And you know how serious we Texans are about a steak dinner!) I have yet to have to make good on that challenge.
Alas, “the paper of record” has been in serious decline in recent decades. It has increasingly editorialized in its news pages and propagandized on its editorial pages. They have become dominated by radical leftist ideologies, not twentieth century American liberalism, and they have severely deteriorated as a credible news source.
I still read the Times almost every day. (It has become more of an addiction than a discipline.) However, I find myself increasingly reading it to do “opposition research” on its latest destructive forays into the culture wars like the nefarious and loopy “1619 Project.” Often I find it therapeutic to read The Wall Street Journal editorial pages after each journey into “opo research.”
Now, from the belly of the beast itself, we have eyewitness, first person testimony to just how far the “Old Gray Lady” has fallen from her former Olympian heights. Bari Weiss, a prominent Times opinion editor and writer, resigned from the Times, alleging blatant bias and hostile harassment in her workplace.
Ms. Weiss chose Bastille Day, July 14, to launch her missive cruise missile into the Times newsroom. She lamented that the Times had learned nothing from the 2016 election. “Instead,” she said, “a new consensus has emerged in the press, but 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.”
Ms. Weiss, a self-described centrist and strong supporter of Israel, concluded:
The paper of record is more and more the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is alluded for its “diversity”; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.
Ms. Weiss laments how far the Times has fallen from Adolph Ochs’ famous 1896 statement of his journalistic goal: “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.”
Bari Weiss paints a grim picture of political correctness and cancel culture run amok at the Times. She tells of her work colleagues calling her a “Nazi” and a “racist” and others posted her name with ax emojis next to it.
In a passage that should strike fear into the hearts of The New York Times editors, Ms. Weiss said there is a name for the terrible discrimination she faced in The New York Times newsroom — “hostile work environment . . . I am no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.”
It would be very informative, and instructive, if Ms. Weiss were to file a lawsuit claiming unlawful workplace harassment. My guess is that the Times would settle out of court rather than have its extremely dirty laundry aired in a public courtroom.
As this woke revolution and cancel culture proceed, there will be more innocent victims vacuumed up in this rabid cultural jihad.
The New York Times has sold its birthright to extreme political correctness.
Will the nation do a better job of protecting the ideals upon which it was founded than The New York Times has done?
Or, is the sad demise of The New York Times the “canary in the coal mine,” there to sound the alarm that noxious cultural poisons are loose in the land, and unless precautions are taken, they can be lethal.
Americans are faced with a stark choice. Either we will insist on exercising our God-given and constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech, or we will lose it by surrendering in silence to this modern mob of would-be thought police masquerading as journalists.
Dr. Richard Land, BA (magna cum laude), Princeton; D.Phil. Oxford; and Th.M., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was president of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (1988-2013) and has served since 2013 as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Dr. Land has been teaching, writing, and speaking on moral and ethical issues for the last half century in addition to pastoring several churches.