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I would have gone further and said it’s everything that’s wrong with modern liberal activism writ large, but point taken. As NRO’s Charles Cooke has observed, it’s a perverse irony of our era that the institutions one would expect to be most tolerant of “problematic” speech — journalism and academia — are the least tolerant. That’s what you get in fields populated by highly educated people who see their vocation as shaping the thought of less enlightened others.
Consider the clip below the latest chapter in the ongoing saga of The Red-Pilling Of Bill Maher. The only counterpoint I’d make to what he says is that we should be careful not to extrapolate too much from the behavior of now-fired Post reporter Felicia Sonmez, as Sonmez is a loose cannon even by the standards of outspoken media wokery. She’s the one who reacted to the untimely deaths of Kobe Bryant and his young daughter by immediately reminding her Twitter followers that he’d once been accused of sexual assault. And the unhinged tweet bender she went on earlier this month, attacking multiple colleagues at the Post and ultimately the paper’s management, is one of the strangest meltdowns I’ve ever seen on a platform known for strange meltdowns.
Sonmez was so relentless that WaPo’s editors allegedly felt compelled to speed up her firing by a few hours because she wouldn’t stop.
Mr. Ryan and Ms. Buzbee agreed that the only option was to fire her, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion. They met with top editors to talk through the decision. Some suggested other options, including a suspension. Eventually, there was broad agreement that Ms. Sonmez had to go, the person said.
Ms. Buzbee planned to fire Ms. Sonmez the next evening, June 9, the person said. But after Ms. Sonmez tweeted early the next morning, the timeline moved up a few hours. The termination letter sent by The Post accused her of “insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”
The media leans left, no doubt, and younger reporters seem to lean especially hard — or are at least less inclined to hide their political preferences than their elders. But not many are so unable to rein it in on social media that they end up unemployed because of it.
Speaking of which, I continue not to understand why the Post and other papers don’t simply forbid their reporters from using social media. That’s where most of the mischief is made and biases are revealed. A few days ago WaPo updated its policies on using Twitter and other platforms but they don’t seem to have meaningfully addressed the problem:
On Wednesday evening, newsroom employees were emailed a draft of updated social media guidelines and told that senior editors would hold “listening sessions” this week to get feedback on the revisions.
The draft says that no employee is required to post or engage on social media platforms; journalists must not harm the integrity or reputation of the newsroom; and journalists are “allowed and encouraged to bring their full identity and lived experiences to their social accounts.”
Why are they being encouraged to do that? Reporters bringing their “full identity” to their accounts is how the Post ended up with Sonmez making a week-long spectacle of herself and her paper. Top-tier news outlets like WaPo and the Times who cherish their credibility should have a simple social media policy for staff: “You’re permitted to tweet links to stories we’ve published to help promote them. You’re not permitted to tweet anything else. You can work for our paper or you can have an active social media presence but you can’t do both. Choose.”
A zero-tolerance approach to social media for reporters would take out most of the woke trash, either by silencing them or convincing them to change jobs.
In lieu of an exit question, read this Politico rundown of the rocky early tenure of the Post’s new executive editor, Sally Buzbee. Buzbee is big into calling meetings and holding “listening sessions” when staffers feel aggrieved. Radical idea: Maybe morale would improve if she listened less. There are other ways to deal with employees who are chronically unhappy with management, after all.
— Bill Maher (@billmaher) June 18, 2022