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February 11, 2013

Shockingly, Memeber of Liberal White Privilege Media Reflexively Defends Another Unit of Liberal White Privilege Media

One thing that keeps making me laugh is that many members of the liberal media claim they are not liberal -- not biased at all; completely straight shooters -- and yet all other out-and-out, self-confessed liberals rally out to defend the supposedly not-liberal media.

Outright leftwing outfits like Media Matters make it their sole mission to attack those who critique the liberal media -- that is, their sole mission is to defend the liberal media by attempting to refute all criticism.

Every once in a while one of these leftist outfits makes the Make Pretend claim that they think the media is conservative, but that's just something they have to say on occasion. Their meat and potatoes is insisting the liberal media is perfect. (But not at all liberal.)

I can tell what side you're on by who comes running to your defense every five minutes, you know.

The Guild extends similar Most Favored Nation status to all other members of the liberal guild, of course. Today, thoughtless mediocrity Dylan Byers attempted to push back against my (irrefutable) point that The New Republic is overwhelmingly white and long has been, and yet, despite its unbearable whiteness, postures as some kind of Friend of the Black Race.

Friend of the Black Race, maybe. Employer of the Black Race? Decidedly not.

I imagine that Dylan Byers feels duty bound to protect other liberal outlets (but I'm sure he'd tell you that he's not biased and neither is TNR) as a matter of course.

But I'd also imagine that this defense goes a little deeper than that:

Overwhelmingly white membership is not something the media wants to talk about, at least not when the subject is their own overwhelmingly white membership.

They love to talk about Whiteness when it's a group they disfavor, such as the Tea Party.

But they don't want to talk at all about how their very own staffs "look nothing like America."

The Netroots also wants to talk about the whiteness of the Tea Party... but never their own blazing pallor.

Obama's 2012 campaign Headquarters was plenty interested in rooting out discrimination wherever it thought it might detect it... but forgot to ask why apparently only white people were qualified to have positions there.

CNN just took Soledad O'Brien's show away from her due to its audience being "too ethnic." By which they mean black.

Has a single other media entity, apart from the online operation Fishbowl DC, followed up on this story?

As far as I have seen -- No. They have buried the story because they know they're all compromised on the same exact point.

I have a more interesting post about this entire phenomenon, but I'm not really up to it brainwise. So for now I'll just make the basic point: The media is, in fact, overwhelmingly white, and they know they're overwhelmingly white, which is why they squirm so much when the standard they insist on for everyone else are applied to themselves.

They have no good answer to it, so they do what anyone does when he's confronted with a damaging but unanswerable point: they either ignore the point entirely (as TNR is doing, and as CNN has been doing since it took Soledad O'Brien's show) or, like Dylan Byers, they attempt to demean it as not mattering.

Here's what Dylan Byers says about TNR's complete failure to diversify itself:

Should TNR diversify its offices? That's up to them.

It's up to them? Is that what affirmative action/non-discrimination law says in this country-- whether or not a company makes a special effort to hire minorities is "up to them"?

Is this a special license that only the media has? Because I'm pretty sure it is not "up to individual corporations" which are not in the media industry as to whether they make aggressive efforts to recruit minority candidates.

And then he adds:

But for the GOP, it isn't a case of should or shouldn't. It's a case of must.

This is dumb. Let me explain why: TNR is, if I can rely upon this post by Jack Shafer (a member of The Guild), itself losing lots of money.

For more than a century, rich guys who think they’re smarter than the rich guys who came before them have been buying money-losing publications under the impression that by spending more money than their deep-pocketed predecessors, they’ll turn the red ink black. This tradition, whose ranks include [all manner of White Guys] gained a new adherent about a year ago when Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder whose net worth currently bounces around in the vicinity of the half-billion mark, purchased the New Republic.

Since then, Hughes has followed the century-old script to a T, wheel-barreling a load of cash into the magazine, replacing the top editor with the former top editor, adding staff, opening a New York office, making plans to move his Washington staff to a nicer home, and ordering a makeover of both the magazine and website. This week, those redesigns debuted, with the magazine getting slicker and thicker, and the website receiving a sumptuous transformation that makes the competition look like they’re squatting on GeoCities sites.

Like the rich guys who have come before, Hughes has also set the goal of making the magazine profitable in “a couple years.” Making money is a wonderful ambition for the New Republic, which was losing about $3 million a year several years before Hughes began the current expansion, according to Martin Peretz’s ex-wife, Ann Peretz.

My problem isn't that Byers suggests that diversification would be a good avenue by which the GOP could improve its own political balance sheets.

My problem is how he immediately dismisses the idea that a media organization which is itself struggling could profit from its own diversification effort.

Apparently diversity-efforts are things Other People must do -- never people who Dylan Byers works for, or may work for at some point down the road. They have a special dispensation.

Just Because They Said So.

If TNR was making money hand over fist, one might say "Don't fix what's not broken."

But it's not. And yet Dylan Byers blithely (and thoughtlessly) rushes to their defense, saying that any effort to diversify is "up to them."

Without doing any investigation into this matter, Byers pops off to defend His Tribe.

You said something about My Tribe? Well then buddy, you and me are gonna rumble.

After Byers wrote his reflexively Defend My Tribe Against All Filthy Insinuations That We Ought to Practice What We Preach, he got a little head's up from some commenters. Here's one former intern agreeing that TNR does in fact have a major problem on the diversity front:

I would venture to say that the Republican Party cares more about diversity than the New Republic does.

The Republican Party has at least recognized that it has a problem with outreach to nonwhite voters. I haven't seen any such soul searching from a magazine that professes to be the New Yorker of Washington D.C.

It's a big deal when one of the most prominent liberal magazines in the United States has a staff that's almost entirely white.

It's a problem when a rebooted, reinvigorated, well-funded version of that magazine decides that diversity is not one of their concerns and assembles a new almost all-white masthead that looks nothing like the country or journalism industry.

TNR doesn't represent a broad cross-current of American, liberal or center-left thought. How can it when it has no prominent nonwhite contributors, editors or staff writers?

TNR has a diversity problem from top to bottom — it always has. Nothing's changed in the Chris Hughes era.

It has hired the occasion nonwhite intern or fellow. It ran some very good John McWhorter pieces a few years ago. But that's what some might call "tokenism." Those people have never been promoted to editor or staff writer. They've largely been allowed to walk right out the door. It's never had a nonwhite or female running the show.

If TNR wants to opine about the state of the Republican Party, that's their business. But the current leadership should take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if they really care about diversity in their midst. And whether the country at large or the journalism industry as a whole looks anything like the staff they've assembled.

And in 1995, the Washington Post responded to a TNR sneer.

In 1995, The New Republic ran a thirteen-thousand-word article by Ruth Shalit about alleged racial tension in the Post newsroom, which prompted an acidic letter from Graham himself. "Since she works at The New Republic," Graham's letter stated, "the last practitioner of de facto segregation since Mississippi changed, Ms. Shalit has little or no experience in working with black colleagues." (Graham noted that the magazine, founded in the early part of the century, has "never had a full-time black staffer" and quipped: "Motto: Looking for a qualified black since 1914.")

Byers dutifully quotes these, but apparently draws no particular conclusions from them; he adds nothing at the end to suggest perhaps he was a bit kneejerk -- and a bit rush-to-defend-the-white-privilege-of-My-Guild -- in claiming that affirmative action and minority outreach are "up to" corporations themselves (so long as those corporations are in the media industry).

"That's up to them"?

Extraordinary.

Extraordinary.

I should add I'd be interested in seeing Politico's own diversity efforts, and its own balance sheets, so I can gauge as to whether it should be "up to them" to pursue a more diverse employment policy, and whether they can profit from same.

But I won't be seeing anything of the sort, so my conclusions will have to remain in the plane of the conjectural.

The White Republic: I don't know when this employee list dates from, but it's fairly recent. (I recognize most of the names as having been staffers/editors at least until the last couple of years.) Update: Chris Hughes is listed as owner/EIC so it is current. I don't know if any black staffers are for some reason not on the list, but let's say there's one missing: Does this masthead "look like America"?

Look, there's no getting around it: They're all white.

And I gotta say this: No, "Jewish" does not count as "minority" for these purposes. Not in the media, guys. Give me a break. The Jews have suffered historical discrimination but not in the media, at least not for 50 years.

I don't want to say "quite the opposite" because I don't like the dark "Jews control the media" stuff but in fact Jews are very well represented (overrepresented, if we're beancounting) in the media and simply cannot be counted as "minority hires."


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posted by Ace at 06:53 PM

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