No one today who is a consumer of journalism can claim our national media are strictly, soullessly objective and nonpartisan. But the Left is still on a long march through the media, insisting that any shred of adherence to a notion of objectivity is an embrace of white supremacy.
Take a panel discussion at the trendy leftist South by Southwest (SXSW) conference this month titled “Building an Antiracist Newsroom.” Their website summarized: “In a time of great racial reckoning in this country, traditional news media have largely failed to meet the moment.” It doesn’t matter how much leftist agitation we witnessed after George Floyd’s death. It’s never enough.
Journalists like these are not constructing a “newsroom.” Being “antiracist” obviously requires an “advocacy room.” Advocacy journalism has a place, but when the advocates are conservatives, it’s automatically maligned as “misinformation.”
The SXSW website summary added the wish that more newsrooms “adopt inclusive practices in their daily operations.” But it’s obvious that “inclusive” is a buzz word for more racial “equity” in the journalism power structure. It doesn’t mean including all viewpoints. It is time for the “privileged” white/male/conservative viewpoint to be devalued.
Journalists of color like MSNBC’s Trymaine Lee declared you must line up with professor “Ibram X. Kendi” (real name: Ibram Henry Rogers) in “working to dismantle racism” or you are “working in support of white supremacy, which a lot of institutions do … consciously and subconsciously.” You can’t be objective. You must take a side … against “systemic racism.”
Lee said the antiracist newsroom means “intentionally dismantling the mechanics of white supremacy and the many ways in which they show up. It means critiquing these systems, pointing fingers at these systems, and always reminding people that these cogs are all working in concert together.” Systems — including education and health care systems — “oppress people and grind people up.”
In another spot, he said what people define as bad neighborhoods are “operating under the weight of systems, at every turn, not only failing them but intentionally devouring them.”
The first operating principle of these minority journalists is that most whites are not racially clueless. They’re racially malevolent. In the middle of this panel discussion, Lee claimed “a huge segment of the population … see something fundamentally deficient in black people.” He doesn’t seem to think that this “huge segment” of Americans would object to being defined this way and would call this a “conspiracy theory” that lacks evidence. He added, “There’s nothing wrong in black people that dismantling white supremacy won’t solve.”
Lee said being a black reporter in a black community is a “superpower,” or an “X-ray vision” that makes his reporting superior. He’s not “too close to the story,” the closeness is his power.
These panelists loathe the idea that something like critical race theory or “Drag Queen Story Hour” is controversial. S. Mitra Kalita, who worked for CNN during the Trump years, said her current website based in Queens won’t cover “Drag Queen Story Hour” “through a lens of controversy.” Any community objections are invalid. They cover it “through a lens of personal safety” — for the drag queens, not for the children. She associates all critics of drag queens with white supremacists. This makes it easier to win arguments.
Their mission at these startups like The 19th, The Emancipator and Epicenter-NYC is what Kalita calls “centering the uplift of our people.” They feel liberated from majority-white newsrooms where people still clung to notions like a debate having two sides, and yet they’re the ones who will boast they are the most fervent believers in democracy.
Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Tim Graham and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.