Tense times at the Times and other commentary


Media watch: Tense Times at the Times

A “tense debate” on a Facebook group for New York Times staffers “provides a window onto the latest racial controversy roiling the paper,” reports The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium. Star science ­reporter Donald McNeil Jr. was “ousted” after staff complained the paper hadn’t punished him enough for using the N-word when responding to a student’s question “about whether one of her classmates should have been suspended for using” the word. A labor reporter pointedly asked what “happened to the notion of worker solidarity.” After the paper’s editor declared the Times doesn’t “tolerate racist language regardless of ­intent,” Sibarium asked 1619 Project founder Nikole Hannah-Jones to comment on her use of the N-word on social media. “She responded by posting this ­reporter’s inquiry, including his cell-phone number, on Twitter.”

Iconoclast: The Racism of ‘Anti-Racists’

At Persuasion, John McWhorter explains how the new “Third Wave Anti-Racism” movement is, in fact, neoracist. It “teaches that racism is baked into the structure of society, so whites’ ‘complicity’ in living within it constitutes racism itself,” while “grappling with the racism surrounding them is the totality of experience” for blacks, who thus deserve “exquisite sensitivity,” including “a suspension of standards of achievement and conduct.” Indeed, it’s a sort of religion that “forces us to spend endless amounts of time listening to nonsense presented as wisdom and pretend to like it.” Most demeaningly, it aims to teach his own daughters “that what makes them interesting is what other people think of them or don’t.”

Conservative: The GOP Will Live Another Day

As former President Donald Trump faces trial in the Senate, “the ­Republican Party faces the possibility of a crack-up,” warns Daniel McCarthy at Spectator USA. “The prophets of Republican collapse” predict Trump will “bolt the party and build a new one of his own,” but they forget the “party has defied the most confident predictions of its demise before,” including after Barry Goldwater’s 1964 “landslide defeat” and Watergate. While “divisions within the GOP are irreconcilable,” a new party would hurt both camps. No matter what, “entropy will keep the party and the right alive, though their gains will only be prelude to the next crisis and yet more prophecies of doom.”

From the right: The Promise of a Pro-Worker GOP

America’s major parties have switched roles, observes Christopher Cald­well at The New Republic, with Democrats emerging as “the party of education and prestige” and Republicans increasingly representing the global economy’s losers. Yet “Republicans themselves have been slow to take ­account of this reversal,” ignoring warnings that the party’s proletarian base was underserved and angry until candidate Donald Trump took his famous escalator ride in 2015. Trump’s presidency “worked out well for American workers,” yet too often his administration fell back on Reaganite orthodoxies. But a new generation — Sens. Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton — could pick up the mantle of a “working-class party” favoring tight labor markets, opposing Big Tech and other oligarchic powers and maintaining a hawkish line on China and trade. If they survive the next four years, these leaders will ­“embrace the sort of policies Democrats followed when they were the party of the workers and the Republicans the party of the bosses.”

Liberal: Behind 2020’s Gun-Violence Surge

At New York magazine, Jesse Singal examines 2020’s “historic” upturn in murders — 21 percent through September, the FBI reports. Experts blame a “confluence of forces”: “Skyrocketing tension between communities and law enforcement following the killing of George Floyd sparked a second crisis” on top of COVID-19. The pandemic “thinned the ranks of on-duty police” and led to less interaction between cops and communities. Social services — schools, after-school programs, sports — were disrupted. One expert cites “a reduction in proactive policing.” No explanation “points to easy answers.” Even post-pandemic, “it’s not clear what’s going to reverse” gun-violence spikes.

— Compiled by The Post Editorial Board

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