Ernest Sotomayor is an editor of Long Island Newsday newspaper. But he is also the president of UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc., and that is why he is in trouble. His group made a mockery of professionalism in journalism when it gave a standing ovation and broke out in strong applause 50 times when John Kerry recently spoke to the group.
Sotomayor has an interesting explanation of what happened. The journalists in the room were professional journalists, he says, but they were “not on assignment at the time.” They responded to Kerry “as voters,” not journalists. But rest assured, he says. They will “return to their jobs, and as they did before gathering in Washington, [and] fulfill their duties as professionals.”
Does he honestly think the public will believe that? Well, he has to come up with something, because he admits that “media experts, ethicists and observers” of all political persuasions had “ranted” about the fact that Kerry got such a warm reception and President Bush was treated only politely. Sotomayor said that, “University journalism school deans, journalism purists, conservative and liberal commentators and others have called the convention a sham, a discredit to our profession, a questionable alliance that will erode the credibility of the news media.”
In addition to making the claim that the journalists cheering Kerry at the convention were somehow off-duty at the time, Sotomayor has come up with another excuse?”the downslide in the credibility of the media began long before this convention was held,” he says, “and it began when nearly every publisher, nearly every executive editor and nearly every TV and radio news director and station manager in the business was a white male.” He adds, “The charge that the news media is soundly liberal and dismissive of conservative viewpoints was levied long before our convention, and it was levied against a media workforce that still today is overwhelmingly white, and has been for more than two centuries.”
Sotomayor is trying to play the race card. Why is it, he wants to know, did the issue of media bias surface when minority journalists were caught expressing their liberal pro-Kerry sentiments? Isn’t this an old story? His criticism in this case seems to be directed at those elsewhere in the liberal media who were shocked by the display of partisan political bias at a convention of journalists. Sotomayor ignores the fact that groups like AIM have been drawing attention to this bias for decades. It’s liberal bias whether the liberals are black, white, Hispanic or anything else.
White liberals may have been shocked by the display because it was so overt. They may not understand why the minority journalists at the convention were so open about their political bias. Sotomayor’s answer appears to be that the white liberals are just as biased but only conceal it better. And he may be correct. That is why they are embarrassed. Their code of conduct seems to be: don’t flaunt it. The minority journalists did so. Liberal media bias has been an open secret for decades. Sotomayor’s group only put it on display where more people could see it.