Skip to main content

The Editor-in-Chief of The Atlantic Doesn’t Think Women Can Write Longform Pieces

Women of the internet however, were quick to correct him.

covers from the atlantic.

Another day, another oblivious man spouting nonsense about women. In an interview with Nieman Lab‘s Laura Hazard Owen, The Atlantic‘s editor-in-chief Jeffery Goldberg and tech editor Adrienne LaFrance discussed increasing the diversity of their newsroom.

Recommended Videos

And The Atlantic has been successful in this endeavor. In 2016, women made up only 17 percent of editorial leadership positions. Today, that has risen to 63 percent. In addition, 75 percent of the newsroom hires in 2018 were female. These achievements are laudable and impressive, showing that The Atlantic is clearly putting their diversity initiative into action. Both LaFrance and Goldberg discussed not only the addition of women to their newsroom, but of people of color as well.

But then, Goldberg wedged his foot firmly in his mouth with the following statement:

“It’s really, really hard to write a 10,000-word cover story. There are not a lot of journalists in America who can do it. The journalists in America who do it are almost exclusively white males. What I have to do — and I haven’t done this enough yet — is again about experience versus potential. You can look at people and be like, well, your experience is writing 1,200-word pieces for the web and you’re great at it, so good going!”

Oof magoof. Buddy, you’re giving an interview on diversity in your newsroom! You can’t pat yourself on the back for hiring women and then turn around and make a condescending statement like this. First off, it’s categorically untrue. Women can and have written longform pieces of this length and more. Secondly, for Goldberg to make a statement like this, to the press, as a member of the press, in 2019 is frankly baffling.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these writers whose voices have been elevated by The Atlantic. There’s the cover article about transgender children written by noted transphobic fear monger Jesse Singal. Then there’s the hiring of TERF and Brett Kavanaugh sympathizer Helen Lewis.

The Atlantic has also given a voice to right-wing columnist Kevin Williamson who said that women should be hanged for having abortions and compared black children to primates. Williamson was fired soon after.

So according to Goldberg, hiring transphobic, virulently racist and sexist men is not a problem because they can hit the 10,000 word mark. Women of the internet were quick to take The Atlantic and Goldberg to task over his ignorant and offensive comments:

Hopefully Goldberg will learn something from this gaffe, and continue to work towards diversity in the newsroom.

(via Jezebel, image: The Atlantic)

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue:

Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.