Bret Stephens is above me in the status hierarchy. He knows this. I know this. He has won a Pulitzer Prize and has a regular op-ed column in the New York Times. I am just some professor. I’ve written two books, but unless you are professionally involved with digital politics, you probably have never heard of me.
There is a version of the story of this company in which idealistic journalists, unconcerned with profit, are posed against ruthless business-doers, concerned about profit above all else. That would be a convenient story, pitching me and my colleagues and friends as people who just care too much about The Truth to yield before the gale-force winds of Capitalism, but it wouldn’t be a true one.
A coterie of intimidating lawyers. A bullet delivering a message. Even, it is alleged, a cat’s severed head in the front yard of the editor-in-chief of Vanity Fair. Such were the tools the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein is said to have used to try to soften news coverage and at times stave off journalistic scrutiny altogether.
When it’s your last day on the job, assuming you’ve worked at your job for a long time, there will probably be a toast with some sort of alcoholic beverage. You’ll say a few words. Your boss will make some nice remarks. There may be some gentle ribbing. But, all in all, it’s a friendly affair — if you are not Stu Bykofsky.