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.

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Driving the news: The messaging will focus heavily on "very granular details" of what a second term for President Trump would look like — answering a question Trump left hanging in a Fox News event earlier this summer — and attack cancel culture, "radical elements" of society and threats to public safety.

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Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

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President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.