Newsweek editor accuses White, affluent liberals of ‘using the pain of African Americans’ to further goals

Newsweek deputy opinion editor Batya Ungar-Sargon took aim at White liberals and liberal media “elites” for weaponizing “wokeness” in a CNN sit-down Sunday.

Ungar-Sargon, who recently wrote a book called “Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy,” criticized what she called the “Great Awokening,” a trend she dated back to 2015. 

“What we saw was White liberals starting to have more extreme views on race than even people of color,” Ungar-Sargon  told “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter. “The people of color that they’re advocating on behalf of.” 

Those White liberals, she said, started to push for radical agenda items, like defunding the police, while a 2020 Gallup poll found that 81% of Black Americans oppose such an uprooting of law enforcement.

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What Ungar-Sargon discovered in her research on wokeness is that White, affluent liberals are “using the pain of African Americans in order to withdraw from the common good and abandon the working class of all races.”

WEST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY - JUNE 06: Community members observe a moment of silence that lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Municipal Building on June 06, 2020 in West Orange, New Jersey. The West Orange Youth Caucus organized this peaceful event on the 12th day of protests since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

WEST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY – JUNE 06: Community members observe a moment of silence that lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest at the Municipal Building on June 06, 2020 in West Orange, New Jersey. The West Orange Youth Caucus organized this peaceful event on the 12th day of protests since George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
((Photo by Elsa/Getty Images))

She also addressed the “woke media,” singling out the New York Times, which she referred to as the “former paper of record,” for making personnel decisions that too often bow to the pressures of the online mob. Here Stelter attempted to defend the “younger, liberal employees” who he said were trying to create “a more perfect newsroom” and “a more perfect union.” But Ungar-Sargon argued too many outlets were engaging in a “silencing of debate.” 

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A woman holds up her sign against Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021.

A woman holds up her sign against Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught during a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia on October 12, 2021.

Republican Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial win in Virginia was a “perfect example” of the trend, she said, noting that multiple hosts on MSNBC called it a victory for White supremacy. The GOP ticket sided with parents who spoke out on school districts’ progressive agendas and the use of critical race theory, concerned that the curriculum would only serve to divide their children by race. MSNBC host Joy Reid argued their education fight was “code for White parents who don’t like the idea about teaching about race.”

The liberal media made these claims, Ungar-Sargon noted, despite Youngkin making inroads in Black communities and conservative Winsome Sears becoming the first Black female to be elected as the state’s lieutenant governor. 

Former Republican Delegate Winsome Sears celebrates winning the race for Lt. Governor of Virginia as she introduces Republican candidate for Governor Glenn Youngkin during an election night party in Chantilly Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2021. REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst

Former Republican Delegate Winsome Sears celebrates winning the race for Lt. Governor of Virginia as she introduces Republican candidate for Governor Glenn Youngkin during an election night party in Chantilly Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2021. REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst
(REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst)

Babylon Bee editors Kyle Mann and Joel Berry also recently penned a book on “wokeness” called “The Babylon Bee Guide to Wokeness,” a satirical take on the movement. In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, they said that the best way to respond to liberal media attacks is to make them the punchline.

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“You always kind of win that exchange when [there’s] someone lecturing you and saying your joke is inappropriate and then you just tell a joke about them,” Mann said, with Berry adding the media always provides “plenty of material.”

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