Friday, June 5, 2020

The New York Times Caves to Wokeness

The war to own the American mind is ongoing. And the American mind is losing. Yesterday, the New York Times abjectly surrender to the woke mob. It apologized for publishing an op-ed piece by United States Senator Tom Cotton. At first, the paper had defended the decision to publish the Cotton article, calling for using the military to tamp down violent protests. But, upon reflection and suffering extreme pressure, it changed its mind. Times writers declared, mindlessly, that the column might lead to actions that might hurt them. 

This at a time when all good woke activists want to shut down police forces around the country.

Twas not always thus. Politico reminds us that at its onset some five decades ago the op-ed page dedicated itself to publishing outrageous opinions:

As the Times op-ed page took shape, its editors assembled a list of prospective authors and subjects they could address. One list, preserved in the Harrison Salisbury Papers at Columbia University, proposes soliciting pieces from Communist Party USA head Gus Hall, John Bircher Society leader Robert Welch, oil man and right-winger H.L. Hunt, labor radical Harry Bridges and revolutionary Angela Davis. The page’s concept was to express ideas and opinions the reader couldn’t find on the editorial page or elsewhere in the newspaper.

At various times, the paper has published op-eds by Vladimir Putin, Mahmoud Abbas, Nicolas Maduro, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the Taliban. 

In the past no one has been too radical or too deranged to be allowed a voice on the Times op-ed page. Until yesterday:

“We’ve examined the piece and the process leading up to its publication,” Eileen Murphy, a Times spokeswoman, said in a statement. “This review made clear that a rushed editorial process led to the publication of an Op-Ed that did not meet our standards. As a result, we’re planning to examine both short-term and long-term changes, to include expanding our fact-checking operation and reducing the number of Op-Eds we publish.”

How about that: the Times op-ed page will now have an ideological litmus test. And it will publish fewer op-eds, lest its readers have to learn how to think. Keep in mind, the Times refused to report on the persecution of European Jews and the Holocaust. It refused to cover the horrors that Stalin was inflicting on the Soviet Union. But, now its woke young people just mounted a coup and ensured that the op-ed page would now become their echo chamber.

Among those who defended running the Cotton piece was Times editor and columnist, Bari Weiss. For her efforts she was threatened in the Daily Beast by one Goldie Taylor, who asked why Weiss still had any teeth. That is the level to which public debate, conducted by woke leftists, has descended.

What did Weiss say? I offer extracts from her Twitter account:

The Old Guard lives by a set of principles we can broadly call civil libertarianism. They assumed they shared that worldview with the young people they hired who called themselves liberals and progressives. But it was an incorrect assumption.

The New Guard has a different worldview, one articulated best by @JonHaidt and @glukianoff. 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.

The woke left is also looking for a uniformity of opinion, a onemindedness that is inherently at odds with civil debate and discussion. Perhaps they are simply incapable of dealing with ideas.

Weiss continued:

Perhaps the cleanest example of this dynamic was in 2018, when David Remnick, under tremendous public pressure from his staffers, disinvited Steve Bannon from appearing on stage at the New Yorker Ideas Festival. But there are dozens and dozens of examples.

I've been mocked by many people over the past few years for writing about the campus culture wars. They told me it was a sideshow. But this was always why it mattered: The people who graduated from those campuses would rise to power inside key institutions and transform them.

Young staffers and their enablers at the Times were educated in America’s great universities. They were indoctrinated, even brainwashed in the dogmas of the radical left. They have no ability to think, to reason or even to entertain differences of opinion.

She continued:

I'm in no way surprised by what has now exploded into public view. In a way, it's oddly comforting: I feel less alone and less crazy trying to explain the dynamic to people. What I am shocked by is the speed. I thought it would take a few years, not a few weeks.

Here's one way to think about what's at stake: The New York Times motto is "all the news that's fit to print." One group emphasizes the word "all." The other, the word "fit."

Tom Cotton's oped and the choice to run it: I agree with our critics that it's a dodge to say "we want a totally open marketplace of ideas!" There are limits. Obviously. The question is: does his view fall outside those limits? Maybe the answer is yes.

For those who hate free markets, the free marketplace of ideas cannot be allowed to exist. 


UbuMaccabee said...

"The situation at this time was beginning to become defined. On the one side were
the bolsheviks, as yet not fully realizing the incredible success which was awaiting
them, but already beginning to feel the absence of resistance and to act more and more
insolently. On the other side was the "second provisional government" with many
serious people who understood the situation in the minor posts and with altogether
insignificant babblers and theorists in the major posts; then there was the intelligentsia
greatly decimated by the war; then the remains of former parties and the military
circles. All these taken together were divided in their turn into two groups, one who,
in the face of all the facts and common sense, accepted the possibility of peace parleys
with the bolsheviks who very cleverly made use of this while gradually occupying one
position after another; and the other who, while realizing the impossibility of any
negotiations whatever with the bolsheviks, were at the same time not united and did
not come out actively into the open.

The people were silent, although never perhaps in history has the will of the people
been so clearly expressed — and that will was to stop the war.

Who could stop the war? This was the chief question of the moment. The provisional government did not dare. Naturally, it could not come from the military circles. And yet power was bound to pass to whoever should be the first to pronounce the word: "Peace. " And as often happens in such cases the right word came from the wrong side. The bolsheviks pronounced the word "peace." First of all because it was a matter of complete indifference to them what they said. They had no intention of meeting their promissory notes, therefore they could issue as many of them as they liked. This was their chief advantage and chief strength.

There was something else here besides this. Destruction is always far easier than construction. How much easier it is to burn a house than to build one.

The bolsheviks were the agents of destruction. Neither then nor since could they or can they be anything else notwithstanding all their boasting and notwithstanding all the support of their open and their hidden friends. But they could and they can destroy very well, not so much by their own activity as by their very existence which corrupts and disintegrates everything around them. This special property of theirs explained
their approaching victory and all that happened much later."

--Piotr Demianovich Ouspensky.

Note one line of particular importance: "were at the same time not united and did
not come out actively into the open." That's us.

trigger warning said...

Sebastian Brandt, call your office. Your ship has come in.

Sam L. said...

I despise, detest, and distrust the NYT. The WaPoo, too. They are vile.
The NYT was behind Walter Duranty. It's worse than then, and getting worser and worser.

" The woke left is also looking for a uniformity of opinion, a onemindedness that is inherently at odds with civil debate and discussion. Perhaps they are simply incapable of dealing with ideas." They've gone 1984. George Orwell was prescient.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

No one get out alive.