Times Columnist Calls It Quits, With a Lament

Frank Bruni is worried about the absolutist tone in journalism
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 17, 2021 1:15 PM CDT
Times Columnist Calls It Quits, With a Lament
Frank Bruni has written his last regular opinion piece for the New York Times.   (AP Photo/Yanina Manolova)

New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has written his last regular opinion column for the newspaper after accepting a job in academia. Those familiar with his pieces might be surprised to see it headlined, "Ted Cruz, I'm Sorry." It's not a joke, exactly. Bruni explains that he regrets what he describes as a superficial hit job on Cruz he wrote in 2015, in which he "swam in the snide tide" instead of offering readers anything substantive. "I did that too often," he writes. "Many columnists do." Related to that, he's worried that his fellow journalists, especially opinion writers, "have contributed to the dynamics we decry: the toxic tenor of American discourse, the furious pitch of American politics, the volume and vitriol of it all."

Donald Trump played a role in that, he writes, and while Bruni thinks the former president deserves plenty of criticism, he regrets the "tone" of much of it. "We sank toward Trump’s level, and he cited that descent as validation of his hostility," Bruni writes. "Will the vestiges of it pollute post-Trump journalism? My wager is yes. And it’s a sorrowful bet." In his final column, Bruni also laments the loss of "nuance" in today's opinion pieces. Everything is right or wrong, with no gray area in between. The split between those on either side of the "cancel culture" debate is a prime example. Either may be right or wrong depending on the particular circumstances of an incident, but you'd never know that when flipping through the opinion section. Read the full column. (More Frank Bruni stories.)

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