The woke left’s march through the institutions, from experimental liberal arts campuses to the most hallowed journalistic outlets, has been breathtaking in its speed and scope. It’s a generational war, and the GenXers for whom this stuff doesn’t come natural are learning that they have to become fluent in the new language or end up as pariahs in their own newsrooms. The country’s top editors—Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic, David Remnick at The New Yorker—discover during moments of staff revolt that their old-timey notions about broad public squares and multi-viewpoint conversations are no longer tolerable.
Outlets that once waved the flag of provocative viewpoint-diversity—Salon, The New Republic, Vice—have long since become barely distinguishable enforcers of a joyless orthodoxy. Just today, Vox’s Zack Beauchamp engaged in ritual self-criticism after getting ripped by the kids for having tweeted, “I’m sorry but ‘abolish the police’ seems like a poorly thought out idea that’s gotten popular with shocking speed.”
As The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf observed/predicted, “There is ascendant pressure on journalists to reify positions that are held by a minority of the public and a supermajority of journalists. If it succeeds it will not advance social justice. It will make journalistic institutions that value social justice less influential.” All this can be mortifying to watch.