The Gray Lady’s convulsions continue.
Former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson says she’s dismayed by the troubles surrounding the New York Times op-ed section, particularly the departure of its editor James Bennet after he published a commentary by a U.S. senator calling for military force to quell riots.
“I don’t think that James Bennet should have been forced out at The Times,” Abramson told The Post, adding she “felt terrible” about it.
“He and I worked together in the Washington Bureau of the Times and I think he is one of the great journalists of our time. So I was very sad to see him pushed out,” Abramson said.
Abramson, who led the Times newsroom from September 2011 to May 2014, expressed sympathy for Bari Weiss, who shockingly resigned from the op-ed desk this week in a blistering open letter to publisher A.G. Sulzberger. Weiss said she’d been bullied and criticized by a Twitter-obsessed Times culture increasingly intolerant of any ideas outside its progressive, leftist orthodoxy.
Abramson said she’d been told by friends still at the company that its internal Slack channels have become “mean-spirited,” with employees frequently “overreacting” to trivialities.
“I feel terrible for [Bari] if it’s true that she was bullied and that colleagues said the things she said they did. Anybody would empathize with someone who had gone through that,” Abramson said. “I had heard about a lot of overheated statements shooting back and forth on Slack. For more than a year I have heard about it.”
Abramson was at the Times before the newsroom had the Slack messaging system and when Twitter was a more benign place — and said it was “probable” that the growth of these platforms had impacted staffers since her departure.
The famed editor, who was ousted after then-publisher Arthur Sulzberger claimed she’d misled him over the hiring of a new co-managing editor, pushed back against some of Weiss’ claims.
“I really take issue with the notion that The Times editors cede their authority to Twitter and that a lefty cabal is somehow deciding what appears in the New York Times. That is ridiculous,” she said.
Her assessment was challenged by multiple current Times insiders, however, who said the “diversity channel” on Slack often devolves into a cesspool.
“It started as a place for journalism and deteriorated into a place for rage,” one Times staffer told The Post. “The masthead reads Slack and doesn’t do anything about it.”
Times brass, in fact, are “terrified of the young ‘wokes,’” the source said.
“It’s [Bari] as a person that many find unacceptable,” added a second person familiar with the matter. “She doesn’t fit neatly into boxes of being on a side, and that really frustrates a lot of people.”
In a statement responding to Weiss’ missive, a Times spokeswoman said the paper was “committed to fostering an environment of honest, searching and empathetic dialogue between colleagues, one where mutual respect is required of all.”
That claim, however, has been undermined by how Weiss’ colleagues freely vented against her on Twitter in starkly personal terms both before and after her resignation.
Styles reporter Taylor Lorenz in May publicly attacked Weiss’ story about MMA commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan as “dishonest” and “untrue.” In her piece Weiss attributed Rogan’s popularity with men to his embrace of more traditional expressions of masculinity like hunting and body building.
“When did it become okay for a @nytimes reporter to publicly describe a @nytopinion columnist as “dishonest?” asked former Times opinion columnist Joe Nocera in a public rebuke of Lorenz.
Lorenz later argued she was not attacking Weiss’ credibility and that she “enjoys reading Bari’s work.”
In June, Peter S. Goodman, a London-based economics correspondent for The Times, compared her opinions to “holocaust denial.”
After her resignation letter was published, many of Weiss’ colleagues dismissed the document.
“Interesting how everything in this letter is simply taken as fact,” she said.
Source: New York Post: New York Times staffers say leadership ‘terrified of the young wokes’