A former New York Times journalist told a CNN anchor in an interview that it’s networks such as his that have shut down conversations about topics that threaten the left’s narrative and hold on power, such as the COVID-19 lab-leak theory and the sale of Joe Biden’s influence by family members.
Many Americans, when they see that kind of censorship, feel “the world has gone mad,” Bari Weiss told CNN’s Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” on Sunday.
Stelter wanted to know what she meant by that, citing a statement by Weiss explaining the purpose of her blog site.
“Where can I start?” Well, when you have the chief reporter on the beat of COVID for the New York Times talking about how questioning or pursuing the question of the lab leak is racist, the world has gone mad,” Weiss began. “When you’re not able to say out loud and in public there are differences between men and women, the world has gone mad. When we’re not allowed to acknowledge that rioting is rioting and it is bad and that silence is not violence, but violence is violence, the world has gone mad. When you’re not able to say the Hunter Biden laptop is a story worth pursuing, the world has gone mad. When, in the name of progress, young school children, as young as kindergarten, are being separated in public schools because of their race, and that is called progress instead of segregation, the world has gone mad. There are dozens of examples.”
“People who work at networks, frankly, like the one I’m speaking on right now, to say it was racist to investigate the lab leak theory,” replied Weiss, who was a Times opinion editor and writer.
In June, CNN medical contributor Dr. Leana Wen expressed concern that an investigation of the lab theory would provoke discrimination against Asians. Weiss’ reference to a New York Times reporter was science and health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli’s tweet in May that the lab-leak theory had “racist roots” and was not “plausible.”
Weiss quit the Times in 2020, explaining in a resignation letter she published that her “forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views.” She said “showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.”
“Science is at the mercy of politics,” she says. “Identity trumps ideas. In the name of progress, art is erased and history is rewritten. Obvious truths are dangerous to say out loud.”
‘Delusional to claim otherwise’
In the interview Sunday, Stelter objected that he’s “heard about every story that you’ve mentioned,” insisting reporters are “allowed to cover whatever they want to cover.”
Weiss shot back, contending Stelter should know better.
“But you and I both know that it would be delusional to claim otherwise that touching your finger to an increasing number of subjects that have been deemed third rail by the mainstream institutions and increasingly by some of the tech companies will lead to reputational damage, perhaps you losing your job, your children sometimes being demonized as well, so what happens is a kind of internal self-censorship,” she said.
Weiss told Stelter that she saw that happen at the Times, where reporters had to think twice about addressing certain topics or espousing particular views.
“People said to themselves, ‘Why should I die on that hill?’” she said. “‘Why should I take the three or four weeks that it takes to smuggle through an op-ed that doesn’t suit the conventional narrative? I might as well commission the 5,000th op-ed saying Donald Trump is a moral monster.'”
“They are narrowing, in a radical way, what’s acceptable to say and what isn’t,” Weiss said.
See the segment: