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Jewish World Review / Nov. 19, 1998 /28 Mar-Cheshvan, 5759

Cal Thomas

Cal Thomas The fall of journalism's empire

AS IF CONTEMPORARY JOURNALISM, with its rank and unarguable biases, had not already done enough to ruin its credibility in the eyes of many Americans, the industry is sinking deeper into denial with an incorrect diagnosis of why it is losing viewers and, in some cases, readers.

After six months of "intensive discussions'' about numerical representation of various ethnic and racial groups in the newsroom, the American Society of Newspaper Editors has agreed that "the nation's newsrooms must reflect the racial diversity of American society by 2025 or sooner.'' Not a word was said about the need to reflect the nation's ideological diversity because much of the press labors under an Alfred E. Newman philosophy of, What, me biased?''

Alfred E. Newman: Trend-setter/philosopher?
A Nov. 8 New York Times story reveals there are at least five groups that promote the "interests'' of journalists of varied ethnic backgrounds. There's an overall coalition called "Unity: Journalists of Color'' that believes minority journalists have common goals and that the various shadings of skin color ought to be grouped to advance those goals. There is nothing said about a goal of improving the quality of journalism and reporting, or getting the facts straight or telling the truth. Only, apparently, about pushing agendas.

Under the multicolored umbrella of the coalition are the National Association of Black Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association, and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

A story was written about these groups because of a controversy that developed over Washington state's Initiative 200, a ballot measure that passed overwhelmingly in the Nov. 3 election and which bans race or gender preference in state contracts, education and employment. Some minority journalists wanted to boycott the state and hold a planned convention elsewhere. They changed their minds when a majority of Unity members determined that more Seattle voters had opposed the initiative than had favored it.

"Diversity'' is thought to be of such importance by certain elites that the Ford Foundation donated $500,000 to Unity. Jon Funabiki (cq), a program officer for the foundation, said that minority journalists "are the foot soldiers of diversity.'' Given the one-sided nature of much contemporary journalism, especially broadcast journalism, it is difficult to understand the thinking of those who believe the addition of more blacks, Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans will improve ratings.

What possible difference does it make if the same ideas are coming from the minds and mouths of people with varying hues of skin color and other physical differences? If most of journalism supports a liberal Democrat view of the world, what difference will it make in ratings and credibility if that liberalism comes from the mouth or from the pen of an African American, Native American, Hispanic or Asian journalist? A liberal is a liberal no matter what their makeup.

True diversity would be represented in story selection, ideological balance and the diverse beliefs of America. It would be a journalism that not only looks like America, but believes like Americans. The real discrimination is not over race. It is over belief. Every network anchor believes the same thing. Every cable show pumps out the same ideology. America's biggest newspapers editorialize in favor of abortion rights, gay rights, big government, no tax cuts, more regulation and increased government spending. Real diversity would include not only faces of different colors, but also different shadings of belief. That kind of journalism would restore the faith of the disaffected in the profession and would improve ratings and circulation.

But don't look for it to happen any time soon because, with rare exceptions (such as the Fox News Channel on which I occasionally labor), the Left is so into denial it would rather shut the door and turn the light off than to open up the field to beliefs other than its own.


11/17/98: Republicans drift while conservatives float
11/13/98: Supreme Courtupholds freedom of school-choice
11/10/98: The revolting Republican 'revolution'
11/06/98: Hulk Hogan for president?
11/03/98: Clinton's greatest peril isn't Monica
10/30/98: Mother Teresa was right about killing
10/27/98: Clinton to Netanyahu: 'You're despicable'
10/21/98: A 'peace' agreement: Wye not?
10/19/98: Vanity Fair snubs some of the greatest women 'leaders'
10/14/98:The mean machine
10/09/98: Impeachment: an outside perspective
10/07/98: The corruption of the Secret Service
10/02/98: Land erosion in Israel
10/01/98: The race panel: lies in black and white
9/18/98: The Clinton strategy and the Clinton legacy
9/18/98: Stopping him before he sins again
9/15/98: Repenting when the end is near
9/11/98: Faithfully executing: Congress vs. the President
9/10/98: The degrees of separation between Dan Burton and Bill Clinton
9/08/98: Joe Lieberman and the Democrats' conscience
9/04/98: Clinton vs. Reagan and the struggle for power
9/02/98: If only Bubba had been a Boy Scout
8/31/98: Liberal clergy and the Lewinsky affair
8/27/98: Combating the terrorists among us
8/25/98: The president as 'Chicken Little'
8/20/98: That was no apology
8/18/98: Big government's crab grab
8/14/98:Untruths, half-truths and anything but the truth
8/12/98: Lying under oath: past and present impeachable offenses
8/10/98: Endangered species
8/04/98: In search of an unstained president
7/31/98: The UK is ahead of US in one area...
7/28/98: Murder near and far
7/21/98: Telling the truth about
homosexual behavior
7/17/98: One Nation? Indivisible?
7/14/98: Who cares about killing when the 'good times' are rolling?
7/10/98: George W. Bush: a different 'boomer'
7/08/98: My lunch with Roy Rogers
7/06/98: News unfit to print (or broadcast)
6/30/98: Smoke gets in their eyes
6/25/98: Sugar and Spice Girls
6/19/98: William Perry opposed
technology transfers to China
6/19/98: The Clinton hare vs.the Starr tortoise
6/17/98: The President's rocky road to China
6/15/98: Let the children go
6/9/98: Oregon: the new killing fields
6/5/98: Speaking plainly: the cover-up continues
6/2/98: Barry Goldwater: in our hearts
5/28/98:The Speaker's insightful remarks
5/26/98: As bad as it gets
5/25/98:Union dues and don'ts
5/21/98: Connecting those Chinese campaign contribution dots
5/19/98: Clinton on the couch
5/13/98: John Ashcroft: another Jimmy Carter?
5/8/98: Terms of dismemberment
5/5/98: Clinton's tangled Webb
4/30/98: Return of the Jedi
4/28/98: Desparately seeking Susan
4/23/98: RICO's threat to free-speech and expression
4/21/98: Educating children v. preserving an institution
4/19/98: Analyzing the birth of a possible new nation
4/14/98: What's fair about our tax system?
4/10/98: CBS: 'Touched by a perv'
4/8/98: Judge Wright's wrong reasoning on sexual harassment
4/2/98: How about helping American cities before African?
3/31/98:Revenge of the children
3/29/98: The Clinton strategy: delay, deceive, deny, and destroy
3/26/98: Moralist Gary Hart
3/23/98: CNN's century of (liberal) women
3/17/98: Dandy Dan
3/15/98: An imposed 'settlement' settles nothing
3/13/98: David Brock's Turnabout

©1998, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Inc.