Make no mistake, the journalists at Teen Vogue will soon be in charge of every legacy newsroom. The shortsighted media establishment haplessly fueled its own destruction and there’s little recourse.
This week, Alexi McCammond lost her job as editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue because the outlet’s staff couldn’t get over tweets she sent as a teenager which, as the New York Times put it, “included comments on the appearance of Asian features, derogatory stereotypes about Asians and slurs for gay people.” McCammond apologized for the tweets in 2019 and went on to cover the 2020 election for Axios, earning acclaim from her peers.
After Teen Vogue announced her hiring, staff made hay over the old tweets, forcing McCammond to issue more apologies before the situation ultimately became untenable on Wednesday. This is obviously crazy to everyone who hasn’t drank the Kool-Aid, which is a rapidly decreasing proportion of the adult population, thanks in no small part to the journalists who normalized these absurd standards. As such, McCammond’s peers in the press leaped to her defense, condemning the successful efforts to oust her.
I know @alexi and she's obviously not who she was when she wrote those tweets. I'm sorry to see that she won't be moving forward in this position. It's beyond fair to demand true remorse and accountability, but Alexi demonstrated those things and I wish she'd been given a chance. https://t.co/3135pHyqI9
— Abby D. Phillip (@abbydphillip) March 18, 2021
— rolandsmartin (@rolandsmartin) March 18, 2021
You will always be part of the @axios family. @alexi admited her mistakes, repented (years ago and again of late) and showed during her four years with us she was a strong woman with a big heart. She was a great colleague who often stood up 4 others. Sad outcome @TeenVogue.
— Jim VandeHei (@JimVandeHei) March 18, 2021
— danielle jones (@djtweets) March 18, 2021
It’s too little, too late. The legacy media fueled the rise of cancel culture, indulging the far left’s bizarre and radical scorched-earth arguments for years through their coverage and their own personnel decisions. They mocked conservatives who sounded the alarm about college campuses. They continue to insist the right is disproportionately “obsessed” with the culture war, even as it consumes their institutions.
This is a problem that will get significantly worse until the left is forced to pay an intense price for using their corporate heft to impose the rules of cancel culture on the public. That means the people ignoring or cheering unjust retribution against the right will need to grow up and defend the principle of free expression, whether or not it’s politically convenient.
Just earlier today I wrote about why these small battles are worth fighting. When institutions like Conde Nast hold the line, it prevents the far left from setting standards that unjustly govern our culture. Those unjust standards leave our institutions distracted and weakened and leave our people needlessly divided and paranoid. This is a good example but the point is that it’s one of many.
Look no further than the leaks from Politico’s staff meeting after the outlet let Ben Shapiro guest author Playbook for literally one day. Read Donald McNeil’s account of how he was pushed out of the New York Times for repeating a slur in the context of a conversation about it. Revisit the Grey Lady’s leaks about Bari Weiss, or the downfall of Sue Schafer at The Washington Post, The Atlantic’s internal freakout over Kevin Williamson. This isn’t happening at Slate. It’s happening at the world’s premiere “objective” news institutions, the public’s biggest access points into world affairs. And they’re utterly broken.
Let’s not forget that McCammond was hired at Teen Vogue after news broke that she’d been dating a top staffer for Joe Biden while still covering him. That, of course, was fine with them. The 10-year-old tweets on the other hand? Unacceptable.
Teen Vogue just cut a promising young center-left journalist loose for tweets she sent as a kid, that clearly don’t represent her adult worldview, and that she apologized for. It’s ridiculous and telling that even a big slice of the corporate media agrees and is publicly saying so despite saying silent in other cases.
Not only did they heavily contribute to the creation of this problem, they mocked and ignored the people trying to prevent it. They will also be the casualties, which is exactly what conservatives warned would happen.
There’s no good reason for the right to take a victory lap. What’s happened to our culture is far too sad to warrant any celebration.