NY Times is hit by bombshell resignation letter

NY Times is hit by bombshell resignation letter


norman lebrecht

July 14, 2020

I’ve seldom read a better way to leave a building with all its windows smashed the way Bari Weiss has done with her I-quit letter today.

Sample quote:

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again.” Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly “inclusive” one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong. 

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery…




  • Anon says:

    Twitter should not be a legit substitute for journalism.
    I agree with her statement although there is probably another side to her story.
    However, the NYT isn’t just liberal anymore. They have slowly become completely thoughtless over the past couple decades.

  • Has-been says:

    AS with so many things, this posting requires more context before making a comment. Although it does not seem to relate to music or related matters.

    • norman lebrecht says:

      Given the paper’s status in the classical music industry, it is instructive to share insights into its internal chaos.

      • David says:

        With all due respect, one editor’s resignation does not demonstrate “internal chaos”. I don’t think this is relevant on this blog either.

      • Grittenhouse says:

        It has no status with me. They haven’t had an intelligent music writer in many years.

        • Chris Ponto says:

          I stopped subscribing to the paper a few years ago. I’d had enough. I’d read it faithfully for 40+ years but couldn’t stomach it anymore or feel it was appropriate to support it financially. No longer the paper of record, I felt like I was writing a check to a for-profit political action committee. Forgetting its overt left wing political bias (to which they and their readers are eminently entitled, and where they are not alone in the field), their arts reportage reduced opera, film, theater, books, dance and even fine art into mere political offerings to be vetted and adjudged for wokeness. It became predictable and beyond tiresome. These priorities, especially in the arts, rendered them pointless to me. I do my own thinking and the paper’s coverage of the arts in years past was nothing but a memory. Their model works very well for them now, and they have a robust readership base. But to consider what they’re doing relevant to the arts is, in my view, simply wrong.

          • Alank says:

            Your comment is spot on. I subscribed to that newspaper for more than 25 years. It is now a hateful propaganda tool that is about as intellectually diverse as Pravda was. It appears to take pride in undermining US national security and besmirching all of US history. Its arts and music coverage is but a shadow of its former self. Its newsroom is dominated by Ivy league educated thugs who dream of a Maoist revolution for all of the poor unwashed masses while they return to their $4,000 per month Manhattan apartments.

        • Eric says:

          Not since Virgil Thomson.

        • Jack says:

          Oh, come on. Anthony Tommasini is one of the best.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        If the NYT has status in the classical music industry, the classical music industry has a VERY low bar. The Times’ coverage and criticism of classical music nowadays is like pablum.

      • Anon says:

        And its bullying of employees. This is workplace harassment, and there is speculation on legal blogs that she may sue the Times.

      • Activist says:

        Kindly define the white term “status” Norman.

    • I believe Ms. Weiss’ brilliant letter points not only points to her department at the NYT, but to all of them, especially the department of so called “cultural” reporting. The fish stinks from the head down.

  • Steven says:

    And this has what to do with the world of classical music?

    • Person says:

      Thank you for saying it.

    • david hilton says:

      There are many ways to answer your question as to how the culture of the New York Times affects the world of classical music. I would only note the not — I believe — coincidental fact that Arthur Gelb served as Managing Editor of the New York Times, as well as occupying other roles there, for more than 65 years. The values and ethos that his son Peter Gelb brings to bear on negotiating related issues of workplace controversy at the Metropolitan Opera are not formed out of nowhere. And could be said to reflect a similar Upper West Side mind-set and, some would argue, a similar lack of courage and independent thought.

      • Tiredofitall says:

        Clearly you don’t live on the Upper West Side. You could not be more incorrect about the “mind-set”.

        • Mr. Knowitall says:

          Hilton’s nasty comment appears to use “Upper West Side” as code for Jew or a certain kind of Jew. He isn’t the first to do so.

  • Stuart says:

    One of the best things that I have read in a while. Thanks for bringing it to our attention (though now I see it is being widely reported on). It is worthwhile reading the whole letter. The best sentence: “The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people.” Whether or not you agree with her views, the whole letter is very well written.

    • V. Lind says:

      It is indeed worth reading the whole letter. I do not know Ms. Weiss’ work — it appears she was a leader writer. But she is a very fine writer, able to marshal argument excellently and with dignified restraint in her open critique. She certainly won’t be unemployed long.

      Not that keen on some of her named alliances, mind you. But,still, I would have thought that the Times has room enough for a range of views while maintaining its own political preferences.

      • jay says:

        every point of view is based on whose ox
        is being gored

      • Stuart says:

        I subscribed to and read the NYTimes for 30 years – the book and arts coverage were tremendous. Over the last 10 years I drifted away from the Times (or did it drift away from me?) I stopped reading it altogether five years ago. Like Chicago where I grew up and lived for 35 years, I do not miss it.

      • Ramesh Nair says:

        This is the NYT article of hers that I most enjoyed reading at the time : https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/opinion/cultural-appropriation.html

        – the sardonic, novelistic details such as rapper Lamar’s dancers appropriating Ninja costumes for black rap, and Beyonce naming her kid after the Persian poet Rumi. But what I found disturbing about her is summed up in poster ‘Jack’s links below– such as a campaign to deny an archaeologist of Palestinian descent, tenure at an American university etc.

        Weiss, like many others who currently write polemics for or against ‘cultural appropriation’, miss an opportunity by not making use of TS Eliot’s useful distinctions , namely that ‘immature poets borrow, while mature poets steal’… the good poet makes use of the theft to make something better than what came before, while the bad poet disfigures… ( Unfortunately, most writers both on the political left and right completely misunderstand this quote into the boneheaded ‘good poets steal, bad poets borrow’– which misses the distinction that could be usefully marshalled to adjudicate on matters of cross-cultural (mis)appropriation. Even I enjoy the jarring ‘Turkish march’ section in Beethoven 9’s finale.)

        • Sisko24 says:

          I too enjoy the ‘Turkish march’ section in the last movement of the Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. In the Dark Ages when I was in college, I had a music history professor who posited the inclusion of that ‘Turkish march’ was an attempt by good ole’ Ludwig to prod his contemporaries to embrace even those who had done so much damage to the Vienna they all loved. In other words, that they should love their enemies. All things considered, that’s a radical idea even today.

  • queue0865 says:

    Haha; I guess the Israel Lobby is not as all powerful these days as it used to be at the Grey Lady. So Bari Weiss may have to now go and sell her islamophobia somewhere else

    • Ha Ha to you. Are referring to the majority of important proud to be brilliant Jewish journalists who were employed by the NYT in the past….today there are so many great Jewish publications where pro and anti Israel thoughts are shared. Personally, I was never a fan of self hating Jews who bend the knee and have forgotten the lessons of the Holocaust.

  • What?? says:

    She’s a hypocrite. She’s tried to get people fired for “wrongthink” about Palestine. She’s a typical Columbia schmuck (I went there, so I can say that). Total dishonest and totally clueless.

    • V. Lind says:

      Thanks for this. As I said above, I was not familiar with her work, but was impressed with that letter.

      And I was a little wary, due to her pride in associating with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, that she might be some sort of extremist. Seems for all her nicely moderated prose that she is.

    • I am the least paranoid person in the world but reliance on The Intercept, the electronic puppet for the anti Semitic left, and repeating gripes about Weiss for justifiably criticizing rabid supporters of Arab violence and lies, border themselves on anti Semitism (though easy to deny of course as all critics of Israel deny their anti Semitism). Bari Weiss represented the voice of journalistic freedom, not that of the knee jerk regressive left that is presently destroying all of cultural freedom. Her resignation was well founded, especially from a newspaper dedicated to parroting the worst of the virtue-signalling ignorant liberals doing penance for sins committed hundreds of years ago. The U>S. has become one big confession booth as guilt-ridden liberals fall all over themselves to look more virtuous than everyone else. The US is headed towards the revival of Maoist authoritarianism in the name of social justice, a movement that cares only about power and privilege, not equality or a free society. The letter in Harper’s understated what is a crisis situation for all of the arts and for freedom of expression. At least it exposed the ugly reality of the ‘loony left, which easily matches anything on the regressive right.

  • frank says:

    I have given up on the NY Times which mostly parrots the latest in sloganeering and group- think. Their opera coverage have become a branch of the Met’s publicity department. The final straw: their use of “queer” to mean lesbian or gay.

    • Peter San Diego says:

      I’m old enough to remember when “queer” was a purely derogatory and highly offensive term; but being gender-neutral, I guess it has its use. It’s certainly standard terminology in academia and in the LGBT, not to mention LGBTQ (!), community.

      At any rate, I don’t see why that should be the *last* straw. 😉

    • Richard Bloesch says:

      In the US we say “Their opera coverage has become”. In the US “queer” does mean lesbian or gay.

      • V. Lind says:

        In the world it means odd and gay means happy and excited.

        • Ramesh Nair says:

          Hi, Ms Lind. Here in Auckland, New Zealand, we’re having quite a gay & enjoyable time with the end of lockdown. In 11 hour’s time, I’ll be at the Auckland Town Hall for the Auckland Philharmonia’s performance of Mozart’s bassoon concerto ( American soloist, bassoon principal of APO, Ingrid Hagan ) and Dvorak 6. Last Thursday we had a full Town Hall ( 1800 seats, with overflow capacity added as choir seats behind the orchestra ) for the APO in Beethoven Piano Concerto 1, Dvorak and Strauss serenades.

          • V. Lind says:

            You guys did well with the virus. Bravo, Jacinta Ardern — you have quite a leader there.

            We are apparently down to 0 deaths a day in Canada, but cannot be as quick to re-open. Eventually we will have to face our massive and border, currently closed because of the reckless, moronic and dangerous actions of the leader of that country and the support for stupidity endorsed by so many of its citizens.

            As they are our biggest trading partner, this poses significant problems ahead. Because we are neighbour to an insanely-run, hugely-populated country, we have been greater victims of this than our own reasonably sensible government would have had us be.

            You are very lucky. I love the Mozart bassoon — enjoy!

  • Pianofortissimo says:

    I have the impression that the NYT is living on its old merits. The future is dark. Sad.

  • wasteland says:

    It’s no longer possible to evaluate the intelligentsia in the USA (which presumably includes the Times) in the USA in terms of left and right. Compared to international norms, the binary model in the USA is now far-right and centrist right. There are many people on the left in the USA, but they have no party and thus little voice in government.

    What Americans call their left thus has a kind of schizophrenic character. They might hold to moderately progressive thought on domestic social issues, but harbor right wing views about the economy, our now sacrosanct military, and foreign policy.

    Joe Biden is a good example with his current competition with Trump on who can more strongly denounce China, or his history of neoliberalism. Hillary and Obama are similar right wing centrists. In Obama’s case, it was a great disappointment to the large but unrepresented American left.

    The centrist right stance of the nominal American left is a difficult balancing act. I suspect Bari Weiss ran into troubles because she didn’t properly maintain “the act.”

    This lack of a left in the USA (which ended with Roosevelt and the HUAC purges during the Cold War) also massively shapes our arts world. Without a genuine left, our arts and the cultural climate that surrounds them was altered, and in ways that separates the USA and continental Europe. One can experience this truncated American perspective daily in the New York Times, especially if one reads comparable sections of European papers and sees the difference.

    This makes it all the more unfortunate that the UK is increasingly drifting away from Europe and into the American bubble.

    • Karl says:

      People could have voted for Bernie Sanders instead of Biden.

      • V. Lind says:

        it’s difficult to get behind either geriatric, though Sanders seemed to have ore integrity. What alarms me about the US is that there is no active Democratic youth wing with centre-left leanings coming up on the inside.

        Trump is ghastly, and dangerous, but what really scares me is who put him there and will only vote for his likes. The Republican party has shown it does not have the cojones to rein him in even when his excesses are borderline or even actually illegal. And Walmart Nation, the anti-mask crowd who bray at police trying to enforce the law in Florida — a state devastatingly hard-hit — an the soon-to-be-front-and-centre anti-vaccers, will keep Trump and his likes there.

    • Pianofortissimo says:

      Your political compass is broken.

    • Patricia says:

      The left is alive and toxic. Look at the editorial pages of most newspapers, the main stream press and Congress.And the left is not the arbiter of the arts, whatever it may tell us. I doubt anyone in BLM knows art from aluminum foil. They are too busy tearing down statues – which are art – to notice. When was the last time any of them went to a classical concert, listened to classical music at home or went to a museum?

      • V. Lind says:

        Just as well you’re not the arbiter of the arts. There is, whether YOU like it or not, more to the arts than classical music and museums.

  • Grittenhouse says:

    Twitter is what’s responsible for the degradation of the newspaper? That means the people they are hiring have no brains.

  • Cubs Fan says:

    What does this have to do with classical music? A lot. She articulates well that the NYT is no longer interested in the Truth or reporting facts: they long ago became a voice for the left, for socialists, and recently for BLM. Now, classical reviews, theatre reviews, and musicals, too, are reviewed and evaluated through the lens of political correctness. Now, a performer’s “wokeness” is more important than artistic ability. The book reviews are so anti-right that it’s unreadable and completely unreliable. The Times used to herald great musicians even on the front page. It’s writers were truly knowledgeable about music, especially the opera writers. Those days are long gone. The demise of the NYT is amusing really – it’s paralleling the demise of New York City thanks to the current mayor and his anti-police attitude.

  • Bruce says:

    Since no link to the full resignation letter was provided in the original post, here’s one:


  • Karl says:

    Hannity calls it the ‘New York Toilet Paper Times’ now. If Hannity hates it that means it good, right?

  • M McAlpine says:

    Maybe a prelude to the whole thing closing. Come out the guy who said, “Hooray!”

  • Dennis says:

    Wonderful letter. She should sue NYT for creating a “hostile work environment” under EEOC guidelines.

    NYT has long-since abdicated any journalistic standards (arguably never really had any – see Walter Duranty over 80 years ago), and I don’t know why any intelligent person would treat NYT with anything but disdain. Time to end the myth of the NYT as the nation’s “newspaper of record.” It’s the paper of woke leftist extremism.

  • Simon Behrman says:

    She started out witch-hunting academics over Israel/Palestine. What goes around, comes around it seems.

  • Morgan says:

    The issue with Weiss was wholly internal. She is a very bright writer and can be a pleasant person but she has very sharp elbows and very temperamental. She had been warned last week after several incidents but she was not dismissed and decided to resign. . . with some drama. Her competence belies temperament and ability to work with her colleagues.

  • CelloDan says:

    Point being that objective journalism is pretty much dead to music or otherwise, and has been for a long time. I regularly visit the major news sites – left , right and libertarian.

    “News” or opinion pieces now littered with Twitter infestation between paragraphs – becomes almost unreadable.

    I’m not and never have been on any social media platforms by design (I still have my job at least for now). It’s a sad state of affairs worldwide.

    My kudos to Bari Weiss for having the courage and her “neo wokeness” for calling it what it is: fill in the blank here: ______

    New York Times and other major newspapers and online outlets worldwide are a disgrace – in my opinion.

  • Victor Eremita says:

    What place does this have in a classical music blog?

  • Mayflower says:

    Brava, Bari. It’s truly frightening what has happened to the mainstream media, with New York Times leading the leftist charge.

  • E. says:

    Well written.
    “Triste” that the NYT has gone down so.


    The New York Times, “All the news that’s ‘correct’ to print.”

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    No sorry about this woman, who wrote a vicious piece about Dr. Jordan Peterson and the free thinkers of the IDW. She’s a nasty ideologue.

    I think the NYT is her natural home, to be honest. I love the way the Left keeps eating itself. And they still don’t understand why they got that rabbit Donald Trump. No mirrors in their homes, I guess.

    • Nick says:

      I would be a bit more polite (at least out of courtesy if you do not have in you culturally) if I were you, Sue Sonata…

    • Tristan says:

      They should thank Hillary for your deplorable role – another ‘gauche caviar’ – it’s their ignorant stand towards so much – wasn’t Bill happy to be charmed by people like Epstein?
      Trump is a result of the arrogance of the so called left

    • V. Lind says:

      She’s no leftist. She’s a died-in-the-wool conservative. The left loathes her.

  • Sharon says:

    I kind of agree with Wasteland. However the way I read Ms Weiss’ letter is that she is complaining because she believes that she is being harassed for being TOO right wing; apparently about foreign policy.

    I read the American edition of The Economist. Yeah, they ARE center right, although I understand that THAT is to the left of where they were before, but are very honest about their bias! Unfortunately its coverage of the arts is very limited

    • Peter San Diego says:

      Indeed. The Economist and its sister daily, the Financial Times, are the news periodicals for adults on the center right.

  • Nick says:

    The NYT does not have the past “status” anymore. It lost the status long time ago. At this time it does practically nothing for classical music. And not only that.

  • Nick says:

    Bari Weiss is a courageous woman!! To take on such a monster as NYT alone one must have a lot of self-assurance and personal inner power. Commendable!

  • An opinionated woman says:

    Bari Weiss has made a career of being a victim. According to her, everyone is always out to get her.
    The food critic Helen Rosner tweeted a perfect example of this: https://twitter.com/hels/status/1283092585414889475?s=21

    Her attempts to get pro-Palestinien professors fired are well documented.

    The internal bullying At the NYT Bari speaks of? Okay, so during the Tom Cotton op-ed debacle, she live tweeted about an internal Slack conversation happening among the NYT staff and called it an argument between overly woke millennials and the older generation of writers at the NYT. Not only did she break the confidence of her colleagues, she mischaracterized what they were saying. So they all challenged her on it and she got her feelings hurt and complained about it.

    Bari Weiss, great champion of the fight against cancel culture, couldn’t get her critics cancelled, so cancelled herself while simultaneously claiming she was cancelled.

    Oh, and what an amazing coincidence that Andrew Sullivan also resigned from New York Magazine at the same time! No not really. They’ve been working together for weeks if not months to create their own new media venture. Bari did not have some sudden “Jerry Maguire” moment here. She’s been plotting her exit for a long time.

    Look, are there issues with the NYT? Sure. And people are right to challenge it. But let’s not make Bari Weiss the new shining champion of free speech. She’s a thin-skinned opportunist who only believes in free speech when it agrees with her.

  • Pianofortissimo says:


    Bari Weiss. How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Publisher: Allen Lane (27 Feb. 2020)

  • The New York Times

    Your comment has been approved!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with The New York Times community.
    Helene Kamioner | Riverdale, New York
    In my opinion, E. Lee’s biased report on the dismal situation at the work place of a supposedly reputable public media outlet, proves why Bari Weiss quit The New York Times and it’s a pitiful tragic situation. I applaud Ms. Weiss’ strength and bravery for her willingness to leave a secure position because of her beliefs, and to take on what used to be a fairly decent and dependable newspaper.

  • John Marks says:

    David French, whom I know and admire, ages ago, wrote a lawyer’s letter on her behalf supporting Bari Weiss’ right to protest anti-semitism at Columbia.


    If anyone is curious: as far as I know, Mr. French is a lily-white former Evangelical, who is now Presbyterian.

    Before anyone expresses an “opinion,” please read the entire article linked to.

  • jim says:

    Ms. Weiss is such a hypocrite. Like trump she is accusing everyone else of doing what she has been guilty of for years. She’s never been shy about trying to destroy people whom she disagrees with. She exercises her right to express her opinions and then complains when confronted with what other people think of those opinions. There’s an old saying that if you can’t take the heat you should stay out of the kitchen. I’m glad that she has realized she’s not up to the job and made her exit. Too bad she felt the need to trash the place on her way out.

  • Day Radebaugh says:

    Here’s an article that discusses this issue: https://www.aier.org/article/the-new-york-times-revives-its-grim-past/

  • Jews have a duty to speak inconvenient truths and stand up against abuses of power, whatever it may cost them. Bari Weiss has fulfilled this duty. Too many Jews have forgotten it.


  • New York Times columnist Bari Weiss gave the following powerful speech at the No Hate, No Fear solidarity march in New York. There were an estimated 25,000 people in attendance protesting the recent outbreak of anti-Semitic attacks.


  • Save the MET says:

    Tommasini is a failed pianist and doesn’t let pianists forget that he used to be an aspiring pianist. He lost me years ago when he spent a paragraph talking about “hunky” Jose Cura before he started writing about the singing. His shilling for Gelb early on was beyond ridiculous. He was obviously pining for something. His replacement Woolf is an abject idiot with zero sense of musical history, repertoire and technique. Accepting him at Princeton was a waste of their time, they should have given the spot to someone else. Lastly on Arthur Gelb. Hate to talk ill about the dead, but he spent a career doing underhanded things at the times, helping his friends, or people he perceived who would be helpful to him in the future? Why do you think an inexperienced Peter Gelb was hired at the MET? It was because Arthur championed Bubbles who was the Chairman of the MET Board at the time. She paid him back for all of his special promotion of her career in the Times.