Ugly Slurs, Praise for a Nazi. What Is the New York Times Trying to Tell Us?
The New York Times just announced it has hired Quinn NortonÂ as the editorial board's lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology.
.@quinnnorton has joined the @nytimes editorial board as lead opinion writer on the power, culture and consequences of technology. Read on in a note from @jbennet, @katiekings and @jimdao https://t.co/cASzLbrbB4 pic.twitter.com/groh0Si09Mâ€” The New York Times Communications (@NYTimesPR) February 13, 2018
Certainly an interesting position, and most people don't know Quinn Norton, so they started to dig, where most people start to dig: Twitter.
As it turns out, Quinn Norton uses words like "fag," and "faggot," and "nigger." "Fag" was a frequent favorite, apparently, for a few years:
Also, she once wrote a piece offering praise to a Nazi. Here's how it starts:
John Rabe is my personal patron saint of moral complexity. Rabe was a Nazi who died after the war in 1950, broken and poor. 76 years ago this week, he started a committee that led to him being known as a "living Buddha" in China. There is nothing higher that can be said of a person than this.
And then there's this tweet, in which Norton admits being friends with Nazis:
This pretty much sums up what some are saying:
Hey @nytimes, your new tech editor Quinn Norton is friends with a guy who calls himself weev (https://t.co/hTf9KyU57p). Weev is a hacker who is a literal Nazi (https://t.co/lkJ0xJ14ww). Care to explain yourselves? Or is Richard Spencer your next hire?â€” Mark Young (@mm_young) February 13, 2018
Back in November The New York Times was accused of normalizing a Nazi sympathizer. The Times responded by saying: "What we think is indisputable, though, is the need to shed more light, not less, on the most extreme corners of American life and the people who inhabit them."
Apparently now that includes hiring people who befriend Nazis too.
Here's how many are reacting:
Hhhmm hard to imagine a context in which all these gay slur tweets are fine and good but maybe I'm missing something pic.twitter.com/3h61HcPnnBâ€” Christopher Mathias (@letsgomathias) February 13, 2018
Well, fuck. I spent my whole childhood hoping I'd write for the New York Times and now it feels like I... do not want to do that anymore. So that's sad.â€” Jennifer Wright (@JenAshleyWright) February 13, 2018
NYT Opinion Page: Hey everyone! Please welcome Bret Stephens. He'll be writing about defending Woody Allen, why climate change isn't real, and other useless dipshittery.â€” Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) February 13, 2018
Readers: We hate this.
NYT Opinion Page: Hey everyone! Please welcome Quinn Norton. She'll be writing about
My feed seems to be pretty well divided between people who love Quinn Norton and people who are fixated on how she said she was friends with a Nazi 4 years ago and to be honest I donâ€™t know what to think, except that in general, one should not befriend Nazis.â€” David Klion (@DavidKlion) February 13, 2018
If you thought that thread I shared where @quinnnorton talked about her neo-Nazi friends couldn't get worse, well, I'm just as gobsmacked as you are by THIS. Yes, folks, the new NYT op-ed writer is happy to report the Nazis *maybe* won't kill her because she got them to like her. pic.twitter.com/Y1k4YUfxXIâ€” Ron Hogan (@RonHogan) February 13, 2018
Oh, Iâ€™m sorry, @quinnnorton apparently isnâ€™t a Nazi *herself*, she just hangs out with them and thinks theyâ€™re awesome as long as they like you. My bad.â€” Charles Gaba (@charles_gaba) February 13, 2018
For the record, I was a fan of @quinnnorton's writing and reporting -- and then I read her tweets about weev and neo-nazis.â€” Christopher Farnsworth (@chrisfarnsworth) February 13, 2018
I have met and reported on neo-nazis. They're not not misunderstood. They're not rebels.
They mean what they say, and they want to kill people.
Join me for another edition of WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO THE NEW YORK TIMES.â€” Kaz Weida (@kazweida) February 14, 2018
In this episode, the technology section gets a new editor and you'll never guess what she's into. Using gay and racial slurs and befriending Nazis!
Give a warm welcome to Quinn Norton. https://t.co/ehiQE8NPuY
UPDATE: 8:45 PM ET â€“
HuffPost reports a NY Times spokesperson has told themÂ â€œWe are very concerned about the tweets that are circulating today and are looking into the matter.â€
UPDATE: 10:20 PM ET â€“
The Daily Beast reports The New York Times has "fired" Norton. It's actually not clear the Times "fired" her, rather, Norton posted on Twitter that she will not bet joining g the Times after all.
Regardless, The New York Times should not get a pass for this â€“ they continue to make bad decisions in hiring (Bret Stephens comes to mind). The Times "reporting" delivering a warm portrait of a neo-Nazi, and its hiring someone who is friends with neo-Nazis is beyond acceptable.