Media Monitor

Newspaper Editors Endorse Diversity

By Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid

December 30, 1998


People in two states – California and Washington – have voted to outlaw the use of racial preferences in government hiring and college admissions practices. They believe, as Martin Luther King did, that people should be judged by the content of their character. But the nation’s top newspaper editors disagree. Through their organization, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, or ASNE, they have adopted a so-called "diversity mission statement" that smacks of reverse racism. Of course, it’s all being done in the name of a good cause.

The statement, adopted in October, demonstrates how these editors have strayed from the idea of having newspapers simply cover the news. In the words of ASNE president Edward Seaton of The Manhattan (Kansas) Mercury, the editors have a "commitment to having newsrooms that reflect the communities that we cover." He doesn’t explain what this has to do with covering the news fairly, accurately and objectively. In fact, the Boston Globe got burned when it hired a black columnist who got caught plagiarizing. One doesn’t have to be black to be a plagiarist, but in this case it seems clear that the rules were bent to hire and promote the woman because of her color.

ASNE wants editors to do four things to bring about this "diversity" – First, the numbers of Asians, blacks, Indians, Hispanics and women will be counted in the newsrooms, and more will be hired. Second, editors will be encouraged and assisted in recruiting, hiring and managing "diverse newsrooms." Third, these efforts to foster "diversity" will be expanded. And fourth, three-year benchmarks will be established for measuring progress. Nothing is said about maintaining the highest possible standards of excellence in hiring.

The purpose of counting people is to determine if their numbers reflect their percentages in the population. The intended result is to diminish the number of white males in the newsroom, unless, of course, they are some of the executives in charge of managing diversity. But the real problem is that none of these rules or regulation dictate philosophical diversity. There is absolutely no thought being given to having people of different political persuasions. Yet this is where the liberal media need some help. It’s clear that "diversity" to the nation’s newspaper editors means having more liberals of different colors and ethnic backgrounds.

It will be just a matter of time before "sexual orientation" becomes another factor in the mix. Indeed, the ASNE "diversity mission statement" specifically says, "The newsroom must be a place in which all employees contribute their full potential, regardless of race, ethnicity, color, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or other defining characteristic." Some newspapers have already started hiring homosexuals to cover their "community." Conservative- or Christian-oriented journalists will find such an environment extremely offensive and objectionable. They are likely to choose other professions.

This process will affect you – the news reader and consumer. ASNE has 860 members and represents the editors at many of the largest newspapers in the country. Your skepticism of media coverage will have to grow in the months and years ahead.


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