Weiss describes herself as a ‘left-leaning centrist’, but what matters more than a label is her approach, which evinces curiosity, scepticism and openness to change. A profile of her in Vanity Fair commented: ‘After listening to someone else’s point of view, she’s been known to do something amazing – change her mind. Given the current climate, in which everyone seems to be retreating to angry and angrier corners, those who meet her find this expansiveness refreshing.’ While her openness is applauded by many, progressives find her even more infuriating than a straightforward conservative.
The Times’ self-reflection after Trump’s victory was shortlived, and the newspaper shifted to a relentless pursuit of conspiracy theories about Trump and Russia. At the same time, its move to widen the range of voices went by the wayside. As Weiss wrote in her letter: ‘The lessons that ought to have followed the election – lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society – have not been learned. Instead, 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.’