Silence is violence but criticism is trauma: This is the new dispensation among the journalistic elite. Consider the case of Felicia Sonmez, now a reporter for the Washington Post. Sonmez became a well-known journalist-advocate for the MeToo movement a few years ago when she decided to destroy the reputation of a fellow male journalist, Jonathan Kaiman, who was then the Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. She and Kaiman had engaged in what both initially described as a mutual, drunken hook-up. According to a thorough investigation by Emily Yoffe at Reason, after hearing that another woman had complained about Kaiman to his employer, Sonmez decided that she too had been victimized and wrote “a lengthy letter accusing Kaiman of sexually violating her” and asked “that this letter be publicly circulated,” with the obvious intention of destroying his reputation—which, in short order, it did.
Sonmez, meanwhile, was hired by the Washington Post, where she covered national politics. Last year, as news broke that basketball star Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash, Sonmez tweeted an old story about the time Bryant had been accused of sexual assault. Her boss, Martin Baron, emailed her to say what any reasonable adult (and boss) might have: “A real lack of judgment to tweet this. Please stop. You’re hurting this institution by doing this.” Sonmez was briefly placed on leave for violating her employer’s social-media policy.