Sunday, July 06, 2003

Coloring the News: How Crusading for
Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism
By William McGowan
2001, Encounter Books, 278 pp., $25.95

Affirmative Action Corrupts, Diversity Corrupts Absolutely
by Nicholas Stix

If you want to know how a Jayson Blair could have happened, this is the book for you. Although Coloring the News was published in 2001, author William McGowan shows how Blair, far from being the fluke he has been portrayed as, was inevitable. McGowan chronicles how - following the lead of New York Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger Jr. - major mainstream, daily newspapers and TV news operations all over America, gave up on telling the truth as the goal of the news business. And he names names.

Sulzberger & Co. replaced truth with "diversity" (radical affirmative action), which involves not only hiring as reporters and editors black and Hispanic (also gay and feminist) applicants with inferior qualifications, but also imposing the multicultural "script" on the reporting of events, which means that often there is no reporting at all, or only fraudulent reporting, in which certain parties are quoted and certain research cited, no matter how dishonest the former and no matter how discredited the latter is.

McGowan does great work showing how many media organizations, particularly the Washington Post, ABC News, CBS News, the Los Angeles Times and NPR, have botched story after story after story, but he does his best work skewering the New York Times, which has become, over the past ten years, a self-caricature of a great metropolitan daily. I know what a good job McGowan does on the Times, because I've covered many of the stories he discusses (and I've caught the Times misrepresenting many other stories).

One of the points near and dear to the author, is that in seeking to be cheerleaders for certain groups, the media have hurt them, because they have suppressed unpleasant truths which must be faced, if those groups are to be helped.

Examining dozens of stories focusing on race, sex (feminism and homosexuality), and immigration, McGowan shows how in each case the mainstream media either deliberately misrepresented what happened, ignored salient facts that contradicted their "script," or killed the story outright. For instance, he contrasts coverage of the Matthew Shepard murder with coverage of the murder of Jesse Dirkhising.

In the first month after two thugs robbed and murdered openly gay, Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard, 3,007 stories were devoted to the case, which was exploited, in order to get hate crime legislation passed that treated the murder of gays as more of a crime than the murder of heterosexuals. Meanwhile, the murder of 13-year-old Jesse Dirkhising by two gay pedophiles in Arkansas, was "killed," with only 46 stories appearing the first month after the murder. The New York Times alone ran 195 stories about the Shepard case, but none about Jesse Dirkhising, even during the March, 2001 trial of one of his killers (he was convicted; the other later pleaded guilty). The reason was simple: Covering the Shepard case cast gays in the role of victims; covering the Dirkhising case cast gays as the villains, which political correctness forbids.

Another group of botched big stories McGowan dissects concern female Air Force and Navy officers who, though incompetent and/or guilty of flouting service rules, were pushed along into the role of pilot, because the Pentagon had adopted (then-illegal) quotas for women pilots. As McGowan shows, any number of major media outlets (CBS News, the Times, NPR) insisted on presenting these stories, the facts be damned, as cases of heroic women battling an oppressive patriarchy.

And McGowan shows how the corruption of the Washington Post, via affirmative action aka diversity, harmed the District of Columbia during the years-long political control of Mayor Marion Barry, a corrupt, drug-addled, megalomaniac. Instead of exposing Barry, black Post reporters and editors protected him, and harassed white reporters out of doing serious work on his corrupt administration. The black staffers engaged in openly racist harassment, "spiking stories," or causing them to die the death of a thousand cuts, through constant demands for more information.

Oddly enough, considering the author's restrained tone, it is a minor miracle that this book was published at all. Consider the review from Publisher's Weekly posted at the amazon.com web site, whose author called McGowan's book "inflammatory." The critic didn't come up with a single example of "inflammatory" writing, because none exists. What the writer really meant was, 'How dare he show up my politics for the soft totalitarianism that it is!'

Similarly, Library Journal reviewer Susan M. Colowick calls McGowan's evidence "impressive" and "anecdotal" in the same sentence, and attacks him for "refer[ring] to the 'outdated paradigm of white oppression' and repeatedly us[ing] the value-laden term illegitimacy for out-of-wedlock births." In calling McGowan's evidence "anecdotal," Colowick does the equivalent of calling the airtight case of a prosecutor in a murder trial, including DNA evidence tying the defendant to the crime, eyewitness testimony, and the defendant's voluntary confession, "anecdotal"!

In Seth Mnookin's review for Washington Monthly, McGowan's old stomping grounds, Mnookin (who now writes for Newsweek) attacked McGowan for laying into a New York Times writer who had described mass murderer Roland Smith Jr./Abubunde Mulocko (who committed the December, 1995 Harlem Massacre, murdering seven people) as a man of "principle." But McGowan told the truth! (I read the Times article.)

And then there's the Times, the "Grey Lady" herself, whose brass refused to assign a writer to review Coloring the News, and never allowed any staffer to so much as mention the book in its pages. And the rest, as they say, is history.

(As one critic of the Times noted, when the paper is really pushing a book on the public, Times editors will assign no less than three separate reviewers to review the work for the Sunday New York Times Book Review, and for two separate weekday editions.

On May 16, 2003, the Times mentioned Coloring the News for the first time. Its editors published a letter by McGowan regarding the Jayson Blair scandal, with the editorial postscript that he was the author of Coloring the News.)

In the mainstream media, nothing has changed. In the wake of the Jayson Blair scandal, where internships and jobs were thrown at an incompetent, unqualified young man by the nation's biggest media organizations (the Boston Globe, Washington Post, AND the Times) solely because of the color of his skin, mainstream reporters have been screaming from the rooftops, "Race had nothing to do with it!" and branding anyone who would state the obvious (in spite of then-Times Executive Editor Howell Raines' admission) a "hater."

As McGowan points out, the refusal of the mainstream media to honestly report the news, has fueled the explosion of the Web and talk radio as news sources. And so, Big Media can scream "Racist!" all they want at their critics, or try and kill them with silence. Bill McGowan warned the media, but they ignored him. They're still ignoring him, and paying the price. But the public isn't ignoring him. Big Media still push agitprop, in place of the news, and continue to wonder why the public increasingly deserts them.

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