Four days ago Blocked & Reported‘s Katie Herzog and Jesse Singal posted a podcast titled “Bari Weiss Is Right.” Which is a good and welcome thing because Bari Weiss is right about the behavior of N.Y. Times fanatics during the Tom Cotton / James Bennet debacle.
The theme is the “complete collapse of institutional authority” along with a “major cultural crack-up” in media-journalist circles.
Herzog/Singal: “Bari Weiss did some tweets about how there is a generational divide at The New York Times that is, in her view, hampering the paper’s ability to publish quality commentary and journalism. In response, a sizable cohort of her colleagues LITERALLY devoured her (metaphorically, on Twitter). In their most frustrated episode yet, Katie and Jesse explain why Bari was fundamentally right. The fact that so many journalists think Bari is making this up is pretty insane given the rampant evidence for it.”
Herzog has been an HE favorite over the last couple of years. I especially enjoyed “Call-Out Culture Is a Toxic Garbage Dumpster Fire of Trash,” posted on 1.23.18.
Insignificant Quibble: Herzog and Singal are so sharp and fleet-minded and ultra-knowledgeable that it’s almost difficult to listen to them. Especially because they speak in “vocal slur fry”, and I hate that shit as a rule. But they’re otherwise cool.
“Vocal Slur Fry Classes,” originally posted on 9.10.14.
And don’t overlook Damon Linker‘s “The woke revolution in American journalism has begun“…some of the same observations. And Steven A. Holmes‘ cnn.com piece, “I love The New York Times, but what they did was wrong.”
“Newsroom Furies,” posted on 6.5.20: We’ve now witnessed two recent episodes in which New and Old Guard journalists have been sharply at odds. Believers in wokester activist journalism, a Millennial and Zoomer thing that’s about exposing racism, sexism, pollution, corruption and all the other social ills and in some cases indicting and/or cancelling old-schoolers (and particularly Trump-aligned righties), have clashed with defenders of traditional liberal journalism — basically a generational rift.
Episode #1 was about wokester N.Y. Times staffers condemning the opinion section’s decision to publish a somewhat rash opinion essay by Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton (“Send In The Military“) that basically said the military should be brought in to stop looters.
Wokester staffers tweeted that running the Cotton piece “puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger”…really? Most Americans believe that the looting has been horrible if not ruinous, and that it should be stopped one way or another.
N.Y. Times columnist Bari Weiss explains the clash as follows: “The civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes and the (mostly 40-plus) liberals is the same one raging inside other publications and companies across the country. The dynamic is always the same. The New York Times motto is ‘all the news that’s fit to print.’ One group” — the 40-plussers — “emphasizes the word ‘all.’ The other, the word ‘fit.'”
“The New Guard has a different worldview,” Weiss went on. “They call it ‘safetyism,’ in which the right of people to feel emotionally and psychologically safe trumps what were previously considered core liberal values, like free speech.”