June 10, 2019

ANNALS OF LEFTIST AUTOPHAGY: Twitter Turns On An Editor Who’s Already Woke.

So we’ve reached the point in 2019 where Twitter seems to have declared that the obstacle to female progress in American journalism is the editor of the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg.

A Vox headline complained of Mr. Goldberg’s “sexist quote.” At Deadspin, a headline declared “The Best Way for Jeffrey Goldberg To Help Diverse Journalists Would Be To Quit His Job.” The New York Times even found it worth a news article, headlined, “Writing Cover Stories Is Hard. For Atlantic Editor, Talking About Diversity Is Harder.”

Mr. Goldberg, my colleague at the Forward two decades ago, is someone I know as implacably opposed to bigotry. The magazine under his editorship has tilted left, with articles like “Impeach Donald Trump” and another earnestly complaining that “Sexism infects every kind of courtroom encounter, from pretrial motions to closing arguments — a glum ubiquity that makes clear how difficult it will be to eradicate gender bias not just from the practice of law, but from society as a whole.”

If Mr. Goldberg is insufficiently woke for the job, it’s enough to make a person wonder just who there might be out there with sensitivities sufficiently exquisitely attuned. Angela Davis? Elizabeth Warren? Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?

The New York Times article took note that “11 of The Atlantic’s 15 most recent cover stories were written by men.” It didn’t mention that 17 of the 23 most recent New York Times Magazine cover stories were written by men, which, on a percentage basis, works out to pretty much the same as at the Atlantic.

When the Goldberg caved to the Twitter mob and fired Kevin Williamson last year, Williamson counterpunched:

The Atlantic has often welcomed controversial writers. The magazine’s best-known contributor today is Ta-Nehisi Coates, arguably the nation’s foremost writer on race. He came in for criticism after writing, in his book “Between the World and Me,” that the first responders on 9/11 were “not human” to him, that he had come to regard such uniformed figures as menaces. I don’t share his view, but if that’s what he thought at the time, then I’m glad he wrote it. He could have pretended to have had thoughts and feelings other than the ones he did—but the truth is usually more interesting, and it is always more useful.

The late Christopher Hitchens was another frequent contributor to the Atlantic. He was routinely denounced by people on the left for his harshly critical views of Islam. He complained of the war in Afghanistan that “the death toll is not nearly high enough,” described the Jewish scriptures as “evil and mad” and directed shameful vitriol at Mother Teresa. Hitchens routinely and gleefully gave occasion for offense—and he was one of the invaluable essayists of our time.

“Yes,” Mr. Goldberg said when I reminded him of this precedent. “But Hitchens was in the family. You are not.”

As Woody Allen once joked, “Intellectuals are like the mafia – they only kill their own.” Best not to be a member of the Five Families.

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