“Well it looks like it’s time to cancel my @nytimes subscription. What the hell has happened to this once respected newspaper?”
The unthinkable has happened.
The New York Times, which proudly boasts of having one of the most “woke” (and intolerant) newsrooms of any news organization in America, has finally come around to admitting not only that cancel culture does exist, but that’s it’s also dangerous for our society.
In an opinion piece published Friday, the editorial board first noted in their headline that “America Has a Free Speech Problem.”
Within the piece, they pointed out how the “social silencing” that “has been evident for years” needed to be pushed back on, but that “dealing with it stirs yet more fear.”
But when it came to the blame game, they predictably pinned the lion’s share on the right rather than their fellow leftists, failing to acknowledge that the most prominent and obnoxious instances of cancel culture prevailing over the last several years have come from vicious left-leaning campaigns to silence opponents (archive link):
How has this happened? In large part, it’s because the political left and the right are caught in a destructive loop of condemnation and recrimination around cancel culture. Many on the left refuse to acknowledge that cancel culture exists at all, believing that those who complain about it are offering cover for bigots to peddle hate speech. Many on the right, for all their braying about cancel culture, have embraced an even more extreme version of censoriousness as a bulwark against a rapidly changing society, with laws that would ban books, stifle teachers and discourage open discussion in classrooms.
In reality, the majority of the “book banning” is coming from the woke left, while the bit about conservatives “stifling teachers and discouraging open discussions in classrooms” is pure gaslighting, not to mention very ignorant of the fact that the stifling of teachers and discouraging of open discussions in classrooms is very much happening at higher ed. institutions where conservative professors, students, and speakers are being shouted down and ostracized—and in some cases, canceled—by intolerant leftist mobs, mobs which oftentimes (and sadly) include faculty members.
Later, though, after waxing poetic about the supposedly awesome social justice-y things “progressives” have done in the past, the Times’ editorial board wrote about how the modern left has become chillingly intolerant of opposing views:
In the course of their fight for tolerance, many progressives have become intolerant of those who disagree with them or express other opinions and taken on a kind of self-righteousness and censoriousness that the right long displayed and the left long abhorred. It has made people uncertain about the contours of speech: Many know they shouldn’t utter racist things, but they don’t understand what they can say about race or can say to a person of a different race from theirs. Attacking people in the workplace, on campus, on social media and elsewhere who express unpopular views from a place of good faith is the practice of a closed society.
On balance, it was a thoughtful piece though sprinkled here and there with the liberal bias one would expect from the NY Times. At the very least it was something one would hope would spark a reconsideration from leftists on the issue.
Instead, it generated outrage from the Usual Suspects for whom suppressing the speech of conservatives is paramount to both their professional survival and their acceptance among elite cocktail circuit movers and shakers:
If I still worked at the NYT, I would seriously think about quitting today.
— Adam Davidson (@adamdavidson) March 18, 2022
NY Times has allowed the right wing to dictate the language of the debate. Fascist ideas acceptable opinion, white supremacy arguments acceptable opinion, ‘cancel culture’ bad. pic.twitter.com/29WXwV4jrC
— @ACNewman (@ACNewman) March 18, 2022
Dear @nytimes there is no “both sides” or “cancel culture” with these people. They are racists who are just angry that there are consequences when they exercise their free speech. https://t.co/gOe8XSJl7F
— Unexpectedactivist (@Unexpectedactiv) March 18, 2022
Hilariously, some noted that they were rushing to cancel their subscriptions to the paper, kinda sorta proving their point about cancel culture:
Cancelled Subscription. Until people over there make an informed informed statement regarding this Cancel Culture seems to be the only recourse. Misinformation can not be the norm. Without apology and clarificationI have to assume @NYTimes is moving in the wrong direction.
— Matt McGrath (@TheMattMcGrath) March 18, 2022
Well it looks like it’s time to cancel my @nytimes subscription. What the hell has happened to this once respected newspaper?
— Jo Ann Singer ✡️ (@jdpooch) March 18, 2022
— M A Gaylor 🇺🇦 🆘 (@MamaGaylor) March 18, 2022
Perhaps more disturbingly were the journalism professors who had meltdowns over the Times’ admission of an inconvenient truth:
Congratulations to the @nytimes Editorial Board for what is perhaps the worst argument a US newspaper has made on free speech and free expression in recent memory. Congratulations also for fueling "cancel culture" bullshit that facing the consequences of your speech is tyranny. pic.twitter.com/iIBZd7fv7h
— Christian Christensen (@ChrChristensen) March 18, 2022
The editorial's lede is the worst of it. No, we have not lost our right to speak. We are exercising our right to speak around the gatekeepers that included old, white, male, privileged, powerful, closed newspapers and editorial boards and they resent it. 2/ pic.twitter.com/AKqv8mzQB1
— Jeff Jarvis (@jeffjarvis) March 18, 2022
Interestingly enough, he had nothing to say when he was alerted to the fact that the Times’ editorial board is a very definition of the very types of diversity leftists like Jarvis normally laud:
NYT Editorial Board: pic.twitter.com/omq5hv1t77
— Sтяхшмхи 🌵 (@strxwmxn) March 18, 2022
In any event, though this won’t change the balance in terms of how the Times typically operates (from a radically left-wing perspective that oozes out of every news article they write), conservatives can at least celebrate a small victory in the cancel culture wars in that the Times’ opinion-side awakening on this topic has at long last begun.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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