Accuracy in Media

Tom Brokaw’s recent program on affirmative action, “A Question of Fairness,” looked at a University of Michigan admissions policy that discriminates against whites. Brokaw should have taken a look at NBC News, which, in the name of promoting “diversity,” is engaged in the same kind of discrimination now under scrutiny at the Supreme Court. The NBC News Associates Program identifies outstanding aspiring journalists “who bring diverse backgrounds to news production and news coverage.” NBC News explains, “The program represents NBC’s strong commitment to develop a diverse editorial staff within NBC News. The News Associates program is designed to attract candidates of racial, ethnic, economic and geographical diversity, as well as candidates with disabilities.” The NBC television network also negotiated a “diversity deal” with NAACP President Kweisi Mfume designed to diversify its hiring practices. The network has a vice president in charge of diversity, Michael Jack, who “is charged with leading the network’s efforts to continue to increase, integrate, and promote diversity.”

Josephine Holz, the Vice President for Research at the Children’s Television Workshop who was formerly Director of News Audience Research at NBC, has written an article noting that General Electric, NBC’s owner, “has instituted mandatory diversity training programs in all its companies, including NBC.” She says that program led to the establishment of a Women and Minorities Task Force at NBC News, “which set up a series of meetings and workshops for all news staff and produced a training videotape to sensitize the staff to issues relating to news coverage of women and minorities.”

As a result of this effort, she says NBC News has “established a database of African-American experts to be consulted for news stories about various issues, so that reporters will not always turn to white male experts. And a similar database of Hispanic experts is being developed. At the same time, she says that NBC journalists “have been making a concerted effort not to always use stock footage of minorities when reporting on crime, welfare, drug abuse, and other social problems.”

As far back as 1998, NBC News was also emphasizing diversity for the purpose of promoting homosexuals. Barbara Raab, then a producer for the NBC Nightly News, gave a talk at Ithaca College on the subject of “News Coverage of Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights.” She was a member of the NBC News Diversity Advisory Council, described as a body “which advises news executives on diversity issues in coverage and staff.” Raab has served on the board of directors of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, and authored its “Report on Gay and Lesbian Issues in Electronic Journalism.”

NBC News was a major sponsor of last year’s homosexual journalists convention. Other sponsors included AOL Time Warner, CNN, CBS, the Washington Post and Newsweek. The featured speaker at this year’s upcoming convention is Les Moonves, CBS chairman and chief executive officer.

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