Fox Media Panelist Anticipates Legal Trouble for NYT Over Abused Editor

News & Politics

In a truly scathing public resignation letter posted Tuesday, former New York Times editor Bari Weiss laid bare the “unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge” she was subjected to at the so-called “paper of record” because of her moderate opinion. Well, on Sunday’s MediaBuzz, Fox News contributor and Town Hall editor Guy Benson suspected the language she used there meant that she had the requisite receipts needed to bring serious legal litigation against the paper.

Leading into the segment, Fox News anchor Howard Kurtz quickly highlighted some of the major accusations Weiss leveled against the paper, including her hint at experiences the paper’s infamous anti-Semitism (click “expand”):

Bari Weiss, an opinion editor at The New York Times, stunned the media world with a scathing resignation letter, accusing the paper of self-censorship and a “new McCarthyism,” telling publisher A.G. Sulzberger he’s allowed a “hostile environment,” in which she’s been constantly bullied by her colleagues. “They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I learned to brush off comments about how I’m writing about the Jews again.’ Still, other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with now fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action.”

“It was an absolutely devastating resignation letter,” Benson praised following a clip of Weiss denouncing cancel culture.

He then pointed out how legal action could be forthcoming. “It sounds like she has the receipts, so-to-speak, in terms of Slack conversations inside the Times newsroom, and there was more than a slight hint there might some sort be legal action coming the Times’ way, based on the way she was treated. She talked about a hostile work environment,” he explained.

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Benson went further in noting that the paper was “in crisis” as it mutated into an “ill-liberal newspaper”:

But I think more broadly speaking, this goes to an institution, The New York Times, in crisis. Howie, for years the New York Times was a very liberal newspaper and it is now becoming an ill-liberal newspaper where you have a left-wing mob in the newsroom dictating what ideas make them feel safe or unsafe and, therefore, can or cannot be discussed or published on the even opinion pages of the Times.

Before Kurtz moved onto his next guest, Benson commended Weiss for going out “in a blaze of glory” and for exposing “a lot of important truths.”

Up next was Ray Suarez of Euronews (formerly with PBS NewsHour), who seemed stunned by Weiss’s revelations. In particular, he gravitated to her claims about Times management being observant of and party to internal messages that singled her out for hate and harassment, and did nothing.

“Even if just a portion of what she says in her letter is true, they better have some really serious soul-searching going on there at the Times,” Suarez prefaced. “If you have people trashing each other by name in a forum where management is a participant in that forum and sees the posts, something is definitely not in good control in the editorial section there.

Evidence of those posts and management’s willful inaction to stop them would be damning in any possible legal proceeding against the paper.

And speaking on the Times’ rush to ill-liberalism, Washington Examiner chief congressional correspondent Susan Ferrechio noted why Weiss was hired in the first pace and what message forcing her out sent to the country (click “expand”):

Weiss was brought into the New York Times after the Trump election for a reason. To help represent people who don’t think along the same lines as some of the people in the New York Times newsroom and now she’s been pushed out.

So, basically, they’re rejecting the idea that they can be a newspaper for everybody. They’re saying, “We’re only a newspaper for a certain group of readers.

At one point in the segment, Kurtz took time to note: “By the way, no mention of this at all on CNN or MSNBC. Imagine if it were a conservative publication.” Exactly 10 minutes after he made that comment, CNN’s counterpart media show, so-called “Reliable Sources” (hosted by Brian Stelter) finally paid it lip service.

The transcript is below, click “expand” to read:

Fox News Channel’s MediaBuzz
July 19, 2020
11:16:33 a.m. Eastern

HOWARD KURTZ: Bari Weiss, an opinion editor at The New York Times, stunned the media world with a scathing resignation letter, accusing the paper of self-censorship and a “new McCarthyism,” telling publisher A.G. Sulzberger he’s allowed a “hostile environment,” in which she’s been constantly bullied by her colleagues. “They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I learned to brush off comments about how I’m writing about the Jews again.’ Still, other New York Times employees publically smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with now fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action.”

Weiss, a controversial writer, who describes herself as a moderate, has long complained about social media mobs.

BARI WEISS: Saying that “I’m offended” is a way of making someone radioactive. It’s a way of smearing their reputation.

KURTZ: Guy Benson, this isn’t some outside critic, this was a top editor at the newspaper, who says her colleagues made her life miserable and that Sulzberger, while privately praising her, did nothing to stop the atmosphere.

GUY BENSON: It was an absolutely devastating resignation letter. It sounds like she has the receipts, so-to-speak, in terms of Slack conversations inside the Times newsroom, and there was more than a slight hint there might some sort be legal action coming the Times’ way, based on the way she was treated. She talked about a hostile work environment.

But I think more broadly speaking, this goes to an institution, The New York Times, in crisis. Howie, for years the New York Times was a very liberal newspaper and it is now becoming an ill-liberal newspaper where you have a left-wing mob in the newsroom dictating what ideas make them feel safe or unsafe and, therefore, can or cannot be discussed or published on the even opinion pages of the Times.

Bari Weiss eventually decided this is not worth it anymore for me and she went out in a blaze of glory and told a lot of important truths.

Howard: Well Ray, let me get you in on that. I mean, Bari Weiss has made some mistakes. But she is leveling a serious charge, that the liberal culture at the Times has reached a point of intolerance where pushing op-eds of a slightly different viewpoint, or somewhat different viewpoint can hurt an editor’s career.

RAY SUAREZ: She says in her resignation latter that in effect that the people who run the place have given over their oversight to Twitter as a way of describing how a mob mentality makes decisions for the paper.

Even if just a portion of what she says in her letter is true, they better have some really serious soul-searching going on there at the Times. If you have people trashing each other by name in a forum where management is a participant in that forum and sees the posts, something is definitely not in good control in the editorial section there.

And look, The New York Times is an important journalistic institution and it needs to be healthy. It’s a good thing if it’s healthy and well-run, a good thing for everybody. And I hope they get control of their problems if those problems exist in the way that Bari Weiss describes them.

KURTZ: Yeah. Well, acting editorial page editor Kathleen Kingsbury says the Times will continue to public voices, experiences, and viewpoints across the political spectrum. Susan Ferrechio, this point about Twitter being the ultimate editor of The New York Times, maybe could you say that about a lot of media organizations that live in fear of any online backlash to something controversial.

SUSAN FERRECHIO: I really think Twitter has just changed the media landscape because it’s changed how we view reporters, we see what they think all day on Twitter without their tweets being edited beforehand. And so, we have a better idea where they’re coming from. And it’s also I think pushed these mainstream newsrooms further to the left, not just the New York Times but the Washington Post as well.

Some of their editors have posted some very controversial far-left things that kind of give you the impression that these newspapers are only publishing for a certain group of Americans and not others. I mean, Weiss was brought into the New York Times after the Trump election for a reason. To help represent people who don’t think along the same lines as some of the people in the New York Times newsroom and now she’s been pushed out.

So, basically, they’re rejecting the idea that they can be a newspaper for everybody. They’re saying, “We’re only a newspaper for a certain group of readers.

KURTZ: Right.

(…)

Howard: By the way, no mention of this at all on CNN or MSNBC. Imagine if it were a conservative publication.

BENSON: Huh, isn’t that interesting.

KURTZ: But I want to get to this quote, where she says, ‘why go through the agony of trying to get a piece in when it’s so heavily edited. A more moderate piece let’s say. “We can assure ourselves of job security and clicks by publishing our 4,000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world.”

BENSON: Yeah, it’s a great line. It’s obviously true. We remember exactly what happened with Senator Tom Cotton’s op-ed just a few weeks ago when people – someone resigned, someone was reassigned because he wrote a mainstream op-ed in that newspaper.

And one point to what Susan say. Bari Weiss is not a pro-Trump partisan. She was anti-Trump, as a matter of fact. Opposed him, did not vote for him. But because she was not fanatically anti-Trump in every conceivable way; not good enough, she’s part of the problem. And now it was so hostile, she’s out.

KURTZ: Right. Well, Ray, a half a minute for you. I think even liberals should be concerned if the culture at the Times has gotten to the point of intolerance of other views.

SUAREZ: Bari Weiss says that even in the newsroom you can’t speak your mind, and that’s a bad newsroom atmosphere.

(…)

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