Hours after Bari Weiss resigned from The New York Times, her 1,500 word resignation letter, attributing her departure to “bullying” by adherents of a new “orthodoxy” within the paper, appeared as an op-ed on the website of Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post, and her exit was the front page of the printed paper the following day—presented as proof of a dangerous “cancel culture” at elite liberal institutions.
But Weiss herself went silent, though she did tell a reporter from Murdoch’s Journal that “the letter speaks for itself.” I first reached out to Weiss in July since she’d written months after arriving at the Times in 2017 about my departure after 22 years from City Journal, the flagship publication of the conservative Manhattan Institute, after I was blocked from writing about Donald Trump and Steve Bannon at the behest of billionaire donors Paul Singer and Rebekah Mercer. In that piece (as well as in a Vanity Fair interview with former New Republic owner Marty Peretz’s daughter), Weiss compared my decision to break ranks to her own departure from the Journal, where she said she’d been blocked from writing about Bannon and Melania Trump, as part of a purge of Never Trumpers at conservative institutions. “In the broader conservative world, Mr. Stern isn’t alone in making the choice to leave in protest,” Weiss wrote. “At The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, nearly every editor and writer of the ‘Never Trump’ persuasion left the paper in the past year, this writer included.”
Since Weiss and I have both experienced a variant of cancel culture that receives far less attention these days—censorship at conservative thought centers—I asked the self-described political centrist if she could compare the pressures to toe the party line at the Journal and the Times, the nation’s two most influential opinion pages, and if she could elaborate on her latest exit. Last week, Weiss broke her silence and replied to some of my questions, attributing her resignation to “the transformation of the New York Times from the inside” so that “the spectrum of acceptable opinion has narrowed to a very particular sliver.”