Lauren Wolfe, an award-winning reporter for The New York Times, tweeted excitedly on the day before inauguration day that the sight of the incoming President Biden’s plane landing at DC Andrews Airport gave her “chills.” This tweet was extensively criticized and ridiculed on social media, and Wolfe was fired by the Times just 36 hours later. This raises the questions: was she fired because of the “chills” tweet? If so, why? If not, what was the reason?
The “chills” tweet was immediately seized upon by conservatives as proof of a common contention of theirs — that major media institutions, especially those headquartered on either the east or the west coasts, are animated by an abiding loyalty to the Democratic Party, and so now to the new Biden presidency. Furthermore, conservatives commonly believe Wolfe’s chills confirm a common charge that any pretense to objectivity on the part of journalists like Wolfe is hypocrisy.
The Thing to Know:
The New York Times has denied that Wolfe was fired because of a single tweet. As to the natural follow-up question, it has refused to answer beyond, “For privacy reasons we don’t get into the details of personnel matters.” This non-denial denial has increased the conviction among Wolfe’s admirers that the firing was a sop thrown to the right-wing. #RehireLauren has been trending in recent days.