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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Bari Weiss' dramatic resignation from The New York Times' Opinion department Tuesday is the latest aftershock from an earthquake that has rocked U.S. newsrooms re-evaluating what role opinion journalism should play in the internet age.

Driving the news: In a letter written to the Times' publisher, A.G. Sulzberger, Weiss says she was the victim of persistent bullying within the organization and warns the New York Times that "Twitter has become its ultimate editor."

Details: In her letter, Weiss describes herself as a "centrist" who became a victim of "a 'new McCarthyism' that has taken root at the paper of record."

  • "A new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else," she writes.

Catch up quick: Critics charged that Weiss' coverage of Israel, the intellectual right online and other issues contained factual errors and prized controversy over insight.

  • The Times fired Weiss' former boss — Times Opinion Page editor James Bennett — last month in the wake of a controversy over publication of an opinion piece by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that advocated using force against racial justice protesters. Many Times staffers, particularly those of color, said the piece endangered them.
  • Bennett's departure came as newsrooms around the country began to address allegations of poor editorial judgement, racism and toxic workplace culture that led to a series of high-profile firings and resignations. On Tuesday, that list got longer.
  • Longtime columnist and blogger Andrew Sullivan, a maverick conservative who once edited the New Republic, said Tuesday that he is leaving New York magazine and taking his column elsewhere. In a series of tweets, Sullivan alluded to concerns similar to those in Weiss' letter as leading to his departure.

The big picture: The reckoning around systemic racism in America has forced the media to address decades of inequality within their own newsrooms and and how it may have created longstanding imbalances in their coverage.

  • But that industry-wide conversation has become more hostile against the backdrop of an increasingly hyper-partisan political environment that is tethered to the 24/7 social media news cycle.
  • News organizations that pride themselves on presenting "both sides" in their opinion columns face challenges from activist employees who argue that some perspectives promote hate or violence.

Be smart: These conflicts are emerging as the media industry faces a massive business transformation, moving from a reliance on corporate advertising dollars to support from consumer subscription dollars.

  • Subscribers today want to support news organizations that reinforce their world views — and are quick to cancel their subscriptions when they're unhappy with what they read.
  • The New York Times now makes the vast majority of its revenue from subscriptions, and has seen an unprecedented surge in subscribers during the Trump presidency, the coronavirus crisis and Black Lives Matter protests.

Go deeper

Oct 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Adding it up: "The Swamp That Trump Built"

Despite Donald Trump's crowd-pleasing campaign pledge to "drain the swamp," his family business discovered a lucrative new revenue stream once he was in office — people who wanted something from the president, the N.Y. Times reports in a 10-byline tour de force for Sunday's paper.

What they found: "An investigation by The Times found over 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments that patronized Mr. Trump’s properties while reaping benefits from him and his administration," the Times wrote.

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases — Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  4. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Leon Black says he "made a terrible mistake" doing business with Jeffrey Epstein

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Rick Friedman/Corbis/Getty Images

Apollo Global Management CEO Leon Black on Thursday said during an earnings call that he made a "terrible mistake" by employing Jeffrey Epstein to work on personal financial and philanthropic services.

Why it matters: Apollo is one of the world's largest private equity firms, and already has lost at least one major client over Black's involvement with Epstein.