WSJ Pushes Back Against its Own Staff

 

For the past year, we have reluctantly continued to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, even as we’ve watched its news section become increasingly progressive in its views. But we’ve always liked the Opinion page and appreciate the excellent journalism of Bill McGurn, Holman Jenkins, Dan Henninger, and especially Kimberley Strassel. I just learned, however, that 280 of the WSJ news staffers criticized the Opinion editors for not reflecting a “woke” mentality, and their letter was also “leaked.” The leaked letter is in the form of a tweet in this article, and difficult to read in this form, but you are welcome to try. Here is part of the editors’ response:

It was probably inevitable that the wave of progressive cancel culture would arrive at the Journal, as it has at nearly every other cultural, business, academic and journalistic institution. But we are not the New York Times. Most Journal reporters attempt to cover the news fairly and down the middle, and our opinion pages offer an alternative to the uniform progressive views that dominate nearly all of today’s media. [italics mine]

I haven’t actually analyzed the news sections of the WSJ to determine if most of their journalists try to cover the news fairly, because the exceptions are so glaring. But I was especially impressed with other things the Opinion editors said:

In the spirit of collegiality, we won’t respond in kind to the letter signers. Their anxieties aren’t our responsibility in any case. The signers report to the News editors or other parts of the business, and the News and Opinion departments operate with separate staffs and editors. [italics mine]

This is a low-key yet powerful statement. The editors essentially say they’re not going to be as unprofessional as their colleagues were. And the statement that they’re not going to worry about the “anxieties” of the staffers reinforces the point that it’s not their job to do so. In other words, we are not going to cave in to your “feelings.”

I am very pleased to see the editors push back at the “recommendations” of the leaked letter, and hope that the WSJ Opinion page will continue to reflect conservative ideas.

They’re the only large newspaper with the integrity to do it.

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  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I know some of you refuse to buy anyone’s newspapers, but I like to have a real paper in my hands! And for the most part, the partisan articles so far haven’t included obvious lies. Talk about a low bar!

    • #1
  2. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    I need to see actual discipline of the leaders of the news department letter. Clearly the drafters of the letter are not interested in covering the news fairly, since among their demands was the ability to create their own editorials within their “news” stories. I told the Journal yesterday that I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers. And a rebuke from the editorial board does not count. 

    • #2
  3. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers.

    @fullsizetabby, what does that mean? And in a newspaper setting, what does it say about free speech?

    • #3
  4. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Susan,

    The only explanation is that the corruption of major universities has been complete for the last two decades. Thus all of the new 20 or 30 somethings have made their way through to the “big” job not by knowledge & integrity but by facileness & ideology.

    The universities have raised a whole generation of poison dwarfs.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #4
  5. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    A Heather MacDonald column that was widely quoted here challenging the BLM narrative was at the center of this issue.

    The WSJ’s response (perfection, IMO) has assured that I will remain a subscriber.

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I need to see actual discipline of the leaders of the news department letter. Clearly the drafters of the letter are not interested in covering the news fairly, since among their demands was the ability to create their own editorials within their “news” stories. I told the Journal yesterday that I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers. And a rebuke from the editorial board does not count.

    I would suggest that the response from the WSJ is a form of discipline, particularly for entitled staffers who seem to think that their sensitivities are more important than their employer’s editorial policies. There is really not much more “disciplinary” for the triggerati than to be told “no.”

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A Heather MacDonald column that was widely quoted here challenging the BLM narrative was at the center of this issue.

    Hoya,

    Isn’t this pathetic. Heather is anything but a right-wing firebrand. She has an incredible resume and her writing is beautifully reasoned and very well documented. These little rats don’t want to hear anything that will truly shake their own shallow ideology and embarrass their trivial talent.

    The poison dwarfs strike again.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I need to see actual discipline of the leaders of the news department letter. Clearly the drafters of the letter are not interested in covering the news fairly, since among their demands was the ability to create their own editorials within their “news” stories. I told the Journal yesterday that I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers. And a rebuke from the editorial board does not count.

    Do they ever read their own stories? I would have said that they’ve been editorializing in their stories for quite some time now.

    • #8
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I completely trust Heather MacDonald, and know some of the criticism against the Mike Pence piece was specious. But does anyone know if Opinion pages, either at WSJ or anywhere, are responsible for “fact checking”?

    • #9
  10. repmodad Coolidge
    repmodad
    @Repmodad

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I need to see actual discipline of the leaders of the news department letter. Clearly the drafters of the letter are not interested in covering the news fairly, since among their demands was the ability to create their own editorials within their “news” stories. I told the Journal yesterday that I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers. And a rebuke from the editorial board does not count. 

    Any parent who has taken small children to church has faced a situation where the child is misbehaving at a slightly less-than-disruptive level. The parent has to run a calculation before responding: if I tell my child to cut it out, it’s quite possible the resultant whining will escalate into a full-blown tantrum that’s far more disruptive than what my child is doing right now, but if I give a stern look or ignore it, the child’s likely to quit on his own eventually, and in any event, my child’s probably not causing any problems for anyone more than 3 feet away. I found in most cases, the second response was far better for everyone, including me, my child, and everyone around me.

    The Wall Street Journal has chosen that second method, and I think it’s the right one in this case, too.

    • #10
  11. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I completely trust Heather MacDonald, and know some of the criticism against the Mike Pence piece was specious. But does anyone know if Opinion pages, either at WSJ or anywhere, are responsible for “fact checking”?

    The kerfuffle over the Tom Cotton op-ed indicated that the NYT fact checks editorials, so that may be standard practice. I’m guessing that, if someone states an obvious “fact” (e.g., FBI statistics show xxx whites were shot by police in 2017), that is checked, but the opinion part of an op-ed is left alone (other than the decision to publish it).

    • #11
  12. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    repmodad (View Comment):
    The Wall Street Journal has chosen that second method, and I think it’s the right one in this case, too.

    Especially since all of them are acting like spoiled brats. Oh, the reporters, not your child. ;-)

    • #12
  13. DrewInWisconsin, Unhelpful Communicator Coolidge
    DrewInWisconsin, Unhelpful Communicator
    @DrewInWisconsin

    What always gets me about these internecine squabbles is just how young everyone is. Even the senior editors seem to be in the mid-40s at most.

     

    • #13
  14. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I completely trust Heather MacDonald, and know some of the criticism against the Mike Pence piece was specious. But does anyone know if Opinion pages, either at WSJ or anywhere, are responsible for “fact checking”?

    Susan,

    Right now is not the best time to be making conspiratorial threats against management. There are a great many well trained and experienced people in this country that would love a staff job at WSJ. They might not have that Ivy league resume but so what. I think WSJ needs to consider even a mass firing if necessary. If it doesn’t meet the threat it will end up being hostage to these little poison dwarfs.

    Dump them all at once and let them scramble. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. I winced when he did it but looking back it was the right move.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
  15. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    DrewInWisconsin, Unhelpful Com… (View Comment):

    What always gets me about these internecine squabbles is just how young everyone is. Even the senior editors seem to be in the mid-40s at most.

     

    Maybe that would explain why their brains have not fully developed.

    • #15
  16. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):
    Maybe that would explain why their brains have not fully developed.

    Susan,

    They resemble that remark.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #16
  17. Jim McConnell Member
    Jim McConnell
    @JimMcConnell

    repmodad (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I need to see actual discipline of the leaders of the news department letter. Clearly the drafters of the letter are not interested in covering the news fairly, since among their demands was the ability to create their own editorials within their “news” stories. I told the Journal yesterday that I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers. And a rebuke from the editorial board does not count.

    Any parent who has taken small children to church has faced a situation where the child is misbehaving at a slightly less-than-disruptive level. The parent has to run a calculation before responding: if I tell my child to cut it out, it’s quite possible the resultant whining will escalate into a full-blown tantrum that’s far more disruptive than what my child is doing right now, but if I give a stern look or ignore it, the child’s likely to quit on his own eventually, and in any event, my child’s probably not causing any problems for anyone more than 3 feet away. I found in most cases, the second response was far better for everyone, including me, my child, and everyone around me.

    The Wall Street Journal has chosen that second method, and I think it’s the right one in this case, too.

    Your analogy of a small child is spot on; that’s what modern “journalists” seem to be, emotionally.

    • #17
  18. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    I completely trust Heather MacDonald, and know some of the criticism against the Mike Pence piece was specious. But does anyone know if Opinion pages, either at WSJ or anywhere, are responsible for “fact checking”?

    Susan,

    Right now is not the best time to be making conspiratorial threats against management. There are a great many well trained and experienced people in this country that would love a staff job at WSJ. They might not have that Ivy league resume but so what. I think WSJ needs to consider even a mass firing if necessary. If it doesn’t meet the threat it will end up being hostage to these little poison dwarfs.

    Dump them all at once and let them scramble. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. I winced when he did it but looking back it was the right move.

    Regards,

    Jim

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A Heather MacDonald column that was widely quoted here challenging the BLM narrative was at the center of this issue.

    Hoya,

    Isn’t this pathetic. Heather is anything but a right-wing firebrand. She has an incredible resume and her writing is beautifully reasoned and very well documented. These little rats don’t want to hear anything that will truly shake their own shallow ideology and embarrass their trivial talent.

    The poison dwarfs strike again.

    Regards,

    Jim

    Jim,

    I’m a little long in the tooth for this, but maybe you or someone else here is interested

    Deputy Editor, Standards and Ethics in NEW YORK, New York

    Job Description:

    The Wall Street Journal is looking for an experienced editor to join our Standards and Ethics department. The candidate should have a demonstrated expertise and insight in setting and maintaining reporting and style standards. For this role, we also are seeking an editor to help focus on matters of race and identity.

    As a member of the Standards and Ethics team, you will be responsible for ensuring the Journal always maintains the highest and most rigorous standards of fairness and integrity and is a model for ethical, fact-based news reporting. Standards is an integral part of the Journal newsroom, acting as the collective conscience of its members, and a central reason we have been so trusted by readers for more than 130 years.

    You will be versed in, and a strong advocate for, these standards and ethics. You will have more than a decade of journalistic experience, allowing you to act as an arbiter, and champion, of our journalism. You will be a final reader on our most impactful journalism; ensure our work and staff remain untainted by conflicts of interest, real or perceived; and act as an adjudicator of disputes. As a standards editor, you will help guide our newsroom staff as they navigate the complexities of their rapidly changing jobs. Most importantly, you are a protector of readers’ interests.

    HC

    • #18
  19. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Wow. How refreshing.

    • #19
  20. Richard Fulmer Inactive
    Richard Fulmer
    @RichardFulmer

    Maybe this will be a learning experience for news staff – their feelings don’t trump other people’s free speech.

    • #20
  21. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Richard Fulmer (View Comment):

    Maybe this will be a learning experience for news staff – their feelings don’t trump other people’s free speech.

    I wish. 

    • #21
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers.

    @fullsizetabby, what does that mean? And in a newspaper setting, what does it say about free speech?

    Free speech is limited in the workplace. The employees have struck a public pose that the employers will either validate or repudiate. The employees are against any expression outside the woke left. They need to be ordered into a remedial training session on our Constitution, on real political diversity, with the take away being that views the employees don’t like are vital to our republic. Take the training session, affirm the lessons, or be fired.

    So far, the employers have affirmed the employees. The management structure at the WSJ sets a strong wall between the editorial pages and the news pages. The news division management has failed to discipline their employees. That management is now set against the editorial management. Look for a future power play to consolidate management, with the corporatist/left news management seeking to end up on top. If Biden wins, look for this in November.

    • #22
  23. repmodad Coolidge
    repmodad
    @Repmodad

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    repmodad (View Comment):
    The Wall Street Journal has chosen that second method, and I think it’s the right one in this case, too.

    Especially since all of them are acting like spoiled brats. Oh, the reporters, not your child. ;-)

    Sadly, even my children are not immune from occasional brattiness.

    • #23
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I will be canceling my subscription if the newspaper doesn’t publicly discipline the staffers.

    @fullsizetabby, what does that mean? And in a newspaper setting, what does it say about free speech?

    Free speech is limited in the workplace. The employees have struck a public pose that the employers will either validate or repudiate. The employees are against any expression outside the woke left. They need to be ordered into a remedial training session on our Constitution, on real political diversity, with the take away being that views the employees don’t like are vital to our republic. Take the training session, affirm the lessons, or be fired.

    What an excellent idea, @cliffordbrown! Given all the stupid, wasted training programs many organizations are forcing employees to attend, I’d love to see something like this happen.

    • #24
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    repmodad (View Comment):

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    repmodad (View Comment):
    The Wall Street Journal has chosen that second method, and I think it’s the right one in this case, too.

    Especially since all of them are acting like spoiled brats. Oh, the reporters, not your child. ;-)

    Sadly, even my children are not immune from occasional brattiness.

    Yeah, maybe, but we can both hope they’ll grow out of it!

    • #25
  26. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Calling Mollie Hemingway and Paul Rahe–the WSJ desperately needs Hillsdale College to provide training on the Constitution! 

    • #26
  27. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    I’m a little long in the tooth for this, but maybe you or someone else here is interested

    Deputy Editor, Standards and Ethics in NEW YORK, New York

    Job Description:

    The Wall Street Journal is looking for an experienced editor to join our Standards and Ethics department. The candidate should have a demonstrated expertise and insight in setting and maintaining reporting and style standards. For this role, we also are seeking an editor to help focus on matters of race and identity. [italics mine]

    I think the identity of this person will be a tell on which way the staff is going at WSJ.

    • #27
  28. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    For this role, we also are seeking an editor to help focus on matters of race and identity.

    Hoya,

    This is the rot we are fighting every day. There are no standards for race and identity except the one’s that were instituted by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Simply one should not be making choices on the basis of race or identity. Now, this bizarre fantasy has been created and frozen into law that it is possible to be biased in just the right way. Not only will the standard change from day to day but none of such created standards will have anything like objective validity. Standards & Ethics don’t mix with Race & Identity. Standards & Ethics rely on not judging by Race & Identity.

    Thank you for the thought. I suspect that there are more than a few people on Ricochet that would be good for WSJ to hire. However, it is WSJ that needs to wake up and smell the ideology. Corporate America can buy a little appeasement of the woke mob for a while. Then it will collapse into a disaster for them. These policies are the road to chaos inside the organization and a straight line to tanking economically in the market place.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #28
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    Standards & Ethics don’t mix with Race & Identity. Standards & Ethics rely on not judging by Race & Identity.

    This is so very correct, Jim. Standards and Ethics should have no part in race and identity politics at all.

    • #29
  30. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Again we see why conservatives are losing. Any organization not explicitly rightwing will drift left. Business is always personal.

    • #30