Former New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss says Americans are being silenced for fear of being publicly shamed or canceled.
Weiss, who departed the newspaper last year as she capitulated to criticism on Twitter after serving as opinion staff editor and writer for three years, said that liberals and conservatives alike who speak out against the majority are attacked and threatened.
In an op-ed for Deseret News, Weiss said that many young writers want to publish their pieces or write their own thoughts on exams, but fear departing from the ideology of ‘wokeness’ pushed by a ‘zealous cabal’.
‘Today’s taboos…are often fringe ideas pushed by a zealous cabal trying to redefine what is acceptable and what should be shunned,’ Weiss wrote.
‘It is a group that has control of nearly all of the institutions that produce American cultural and intellectual life: media, to be sure, but also higher education, museums, publishing houses, marketing and advertising outfits, Hollywood, K-12 education, technology companies and, increasingly, corporate human resource departments.’
In a recent op-ed, Bari Weiss criticized American culture for self-silencing young writers due to fear of being shamed if they are not ‘woke enough.’ She shared two emails she received, from one journalist who said she self-censors when pitching and a law student who said he censors exam answers
In her lengthy resignation later in July 2020, Weiss isaid she was departing the newspaper for capitulating to criticism and for not doing enough when she was bullied
‘There are two illiberal cultures swallowing up the country,’ Weiss, 36, wrote in the op-ed.
‘I know because I live in blue America, in a world awash in NPR tote bags and front lawn signs proclaiming the social justice bonafides of the family inside.
‘In my America, the people who keep quiet don’t fear the wrath of Trump supporters. They fear the illiberal left.’
Weiss said she began to hear from people complaining about being silenced on almost daily basis after leaving The New York Times.
In her resignation letter, she said the paper did not support her when she was bullied by her colleagues.
Her letter received praise from all sides of the political spectrum includes Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio; Donald Trump Jr; and former Democratic presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Marianne Williamson.
In the op-ed, Weiss shared two emails she received lest readers think her to be irrational.
One young journalist wrote that she was ‘practicing self-censorship’ when pitching to editors.
‘For woke-skeptical young writers, banishment and rejection awaits if you attempt to depart, even in minor ways, from the sacred ideology of wokeness.’
Another email, from a student a law school, wrote an email to Weiss from his personal email because he was afraid of doing so from his work email.
Weiss, who joined the Times in 2017, said the paper of record was among the media institutions now betraying their standards and losing sight of their principles as she accused them of only publishing stories that ‘satisfy the narrowest of audiences’
Weiss said that reading the emails likened the U.S. to austere regimes such as the former Soviet Union and today’s China. Pictured: Weiss is seen on stage during day two of the Miami Book Fair presented by Miami Dade College, November 2019
‘Self-censorship is the norm, not the exception,’ he wrote.
‘I try to write exam answers that mirror their world view rather than presenting the best arguments I see.’
Weiss said that from reading these emails, she likened the U.S. to austere regimes such as the former Soviet Union and today’s China.
‘And yet the words that we associate with closed societies – dissidents, double thinkers, blacklists – are exactly the ones that come to mind when I read the notes above,’ she wrote.
‘The liberal worldview that we took for granted in the West from the end of the Cold War until only a few years ago is under siege.’
Weiss said this worldview is under seige from both the far right and the far left.
On the far right, she said, there are internet conspiracy theories and politicians like newly-elected Congresswoman Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Meanwhile, on the far left, there is so-called cancel culture and asserting power by towing the party lines