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A Peggy Whitcomb review
Coloring the News 
  by Matthew McGowan
    
   Machiavelli says in "The Prince" that a people once free in an orderly society are extremely difficult to enslave, and that if they are enslaved, will never stop rebelling against their oppressors. Lost freedoms will  never be forgotten.
   One wonders whether the same is true of a once proud, independent profession whose leaders have successfully enfeebled it to serve an ideology that is at cross purposes with the culture that sustains it..

   Matthew McGowan describes, in "Coloring the News," a major change in the goals and ethics of the American mainstream media over the past few decades. Truthful and  investigative news reporting and commentary have been largely abandoned in favor of political advocacy and activism in service to the Leftist gods of 'diversity' and 'multiculturalism'. He says the process began with no debate, continued almost invisibly  for some years, but that since the early 1990s has been characterized in newspapers and 
broadcasting by a religious revivalist fervor that brooks no dissent, either within newsrooms or from the public.  

   At nearly every major news industry gathering, speaker after speaker exhorts convention participants -- reporters, editors and newsroom managers -- to dedicate themselves unstintingly to atoning for past sins against racial minorities, immigrants and the differently-gendered. . The goal is to reduce prejudice in the wider culture, and to give minorities a 'boost-up'. They are assured that it will be good for their souls, and good for business. 
McGowan, himself a liberal journalist, applauds this goal, but  for the past 10 years has taken a hard look at the methods for achieving it, and has dug into the truth about the consequences of those methods. 

   The methods, as outlined by McGowan, are censorship by the huge corporate news organizations in reporting on such as the high rates of crime and illegitimacy among young blacks; deliberate lying in news stories about the backlash from Americans, both minorities and whites, against affirmative action as well as against bilingual education; and more than a touch of judicious laziness as evidenced by reporters blithely reporting, without a 
shred of investigation, statements by minority members alleging racism.
   Perhaps, also, because diversity, multiculturalism, and post-modern moral relativity form the framework of the major journalism schools, those now entering the industry no longer have an appreciation for the exacting information needs of an electorate in a democratic republic. 

   Today, when journalism students talk about 'changing the world' they aren't referring to getting accurate information to a vibrant, intellectually-curious, concerned public that needs to know the facts in order to create solutions to societal problems. They are talking about how they, the truly well-educated 'elite,' plan to manipulate a largely (in their view) ignorant, brutish, and deeply racist American public into seeing minorities the way the media sees them: as damaged human beings incapable of competing in a society of historically unsurpassed opportunities (that actually the minorities have themselves helped create).

   McGowan is naturally concerned about the damage done to his profession by unquestioning  service to diversity. Good for the soul? Not according to the reporters, editors and newsroom managers he interviewed over the years who have rebelled against hewing to the "party line". The New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post and other major news organs permit newsroom panels staffed by minority members to oversee the language 
used by  non-minority reporters, to ensure that minorities in the public never find cause for offense in newspaper stories. Journalists who write truthfully about corruption in city police departments resulting from lowered standards (and fewer criminal history checks) in order to hire more minority members, for example, will find himself, or herself, ostracized and condemned by their colleagues. And sometimes, looking for a new job. 

   During the 1980s and 1990s, the mainstream media deliberately decieved the public about the danger of AIDS to the general heterosexual public because the homosexual special interest groups wanted to deflect public attention away from the primary cause of the AIDS explosion -- their promiscuous lifestyles. 
   Promotions, pay increases and perhaps continued employment  for senior editors are often contingent upon how successful they are in hiring and promoting minority staff, regardless of qualifications or performance.  These policies do not make for happy campers in the newsrooms. And sometimes leave minority members in doubt about their own abilities.

   Until the 1980s, the main goal of newspapers and television was to make money, and they went to considerable lengths to interest their customers. But after the mainstream media bosses began enforcing the industry's conversion to their new religion of diversity, they've steadily destroyed their credibility. Newspaper circulation continues to decline.  Television news is stultifying, and viewers are increasingly turning to Fox News Channel, which makes an effort to present both liberal and conservative points of view. 

   Instead of reconsidering their policies, the mainstream media are incredibly redoubling their efforts to hound a recalcitrant public into policies the public sees as damaging to all members of our society. 
   Recently Dan Rather intoned that a "hyper-patriotic" public makes it difficult for reporters to question the purpose and value of our war on terrorism. Since Dan Rather and his colleagues consider themselves in the business of telling the public what is "good for them" instead of what is going on in the world, one wonders if perhaps his sponsors have expressed some 
concerns. Could it be that the sponsors are worrying about a patriotic public's reaction to the lack of patriotism on the part of the media? It is the advertisers, and the consumers of their products, after all, who pay those glorious salaries to Rather and his colleagues.

   "Coloring the News" is well-written and organized, with excellent and well-researched examples of the media's exploitation of American minorities in order to further a political agenda. McGowan laments the ongoing and planned deceit by the major news organs. He says that liberals as well as conservatives should be concerned. Where there is planned public deceit there is corruption which oppresses the people, and destroys their confidence in the institutions on which they rely.

   Though his focus is the failures and enfeebling of his profession, McGowan's examples reveal the true horror of diversity, which is the damage done to the minorities themselves. America cannot afford the loss of full competitive participation by our minority members.  Just as the Islamic countries are impoverished by excluding ("protecting") their women from daily economic and political life, so too is America impoverished by any perception that minority members are incapable of competing in our society, or that they must be protected from the consequences of their actions.

(OMED: Mr. McGowan is a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute. Miss Peggy is Oregon Magazine's most prolific reviewer)

© 2002 Peggy Whitcomb


 
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