WASHINGTON. The resignation of New York Times columnist Bari Weiss did more to blow the lid off the totalitarian power of leftist social-media flash mobs than anything else to date.
Bari Weiss pens a Dear John letter
As she stated in her open letter of resignation to Times Publisher A. G. Sulzberger, Weiss was hired because of the “paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election,” which “meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp on the country it covers.”
She thought Trump’s election taught the of the “importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society.”
Instead, says Weiss, the paper’s editors and writers assure themselves “job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world…”
And then comes her most illuminating insight:
“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.”
And when the truth does not concur with that “predetermined narrative,” it must be erased. And this was certainly the case, as Weiss noted, with the election of Donald Trump as the nation’s 45th president. It shattered the narrative that Hillary Clinton would assume the presidency as America’s first female chief executive. The mainstream media had been saying so since Mrs. Clinton was First Lady.
The polls leading up to the 2016 election, we were told, represented a scientific cross-section of the nation, with their methodologies laid out for all to see.
Then on election day of November 8, 2016, a confident New York Times said:
“The Upshot’s elections model suggests that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, based on the latest state and national polls… Mrs. Clinton’s chance of losing is about the same as the probability that an N.F.L. kicker misses a 37-yard field goal.”
But the American people pulled an old gag familiar to fans of the popular comic strip “Peanuts.” They yanked the football away from the kicker at the last second.
How could the cultural elites have gotten their narrative so wrong?
New narratives to explain failed narratives
Well, they told us with the same certainty of a 2016 presidential poll, it was the work of outside interference. And the only outside power capable of pulling it off was Russia.
That charge came tied up in a neat little bow in the form of the anti-Trump dossier written by British spy Christopher Steele. And so began a new narrative our media insisted was as true as that which said Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in for the presidency.
Trump’s victory, you see, resulted from Russia’s “hacking” of our presidential election. Worse still, Trump was no less than an “asset” of Russian President Vladimir Putin. After all, former CIA Director John Brennan said so on MSNBC, with a wink and a nod from former Director of National Intelligence and CNN analyst, James Clapper.
But declassified secret testimony of Obama administration officials before the House Intelligence Committee proved that no such evidence existed that Trump or anyone associated with his 2016 campaign and administration colluded with Russia.
And declassified memos from the FBI showed they misled the secret FISA court into believing the Steele dossier was “evidence” worthy of providing warrants to spy on the Trump campaign. A dossier that was campaign opposition research paid for by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaign. A dossier filled with Russian disinformation.
And once again, the narrative was undone by the truth.
With so much truth toppling one media narrative after another, what was the left to do?
A digital Goliath
Social media censorship and its close cousin, cancel culture, that’s what.
Over the last four years, and intensifying as we near the 2020 presidential contest’s culmination this November, a new form of election interference is underway. Social media platforms are censoring the content of those whose views don’t fit the new narrative. That narrative says Vice President Joe “Sleepy” Biden is a shoe-in for the presidency. And that narrative even has polls to prove it.
The narrative also insists the Black Lives Matter movement will remake America in its image. A movement that, contrary to the narrative, is the brainchild of America’s hard – and very white – left. How do we know this? Because BLM is bankrolled by hard-left and very-white billionaire George Soros through his Open Society Foundation.
And no one understands this more than the hard – and very white – leftists at the Nation magazine:
“The white left needs to understand that this [the BLM riots] is what class struggle in the 21st century looks like… Black poor and working-class people experience capitalism and white supremacy as intertwined… If the white left embraces this ascendant Black leadership, we will all be stronger for it.”
It’s clear the folks at the Nation are trapped in their own dead-end narrative.
The recent race riots are not expressions of revolution but a Twitter-like manifestation: full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. The agitators are small in number and for the most part anonymous. They demand we kneel but have no means to achieve this other than the blunt cudgel of Cancel Culture, which is enforced by threats of job loss and financial ruin. Threats that would be, ironically, empty if not for capitalism.
Silent no more
What Bari Weiss, formally of The New York Times, fails to understand is that her former employer has come to the stark realization that it no longer controls the narrative. That is to say, its words have lost the power to persuade. And so, its editors and writers have bent a collective knee to the corrosive power of social media. But the smoke machine of Twitter, for now, controls narrative through censorship and intimidation.
The test of its effectiveness will be, as it was in 2016 for the mainstream media, the outcome of this November’s presidential election. And when Trump wins a second term as president, what new narratives will emerge to explain the failure of Twitter’s Cancel Culture to silence the roar of a free people that comprise America’s “silent majority”?
Top Image: Former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss. Fox News screen capture.