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Coloring the News at CNN: An e-mail reveals disturbing example of the way CNN views race in America
Weekly Standard ^ | 4/19/02 | Stephen F. Hayes

Posted on 04/19/2002 9:10:20 PM PDT by Jean S

Coloring the News at CNN: An e-mail reveals a disturbing example of the way CNN views race in America

EARLIER THIS YEAR, William McGowan published an important book on how the media covers race in America. Coloring the News received a surprising number of favorable reviews. Even those who disagreed with his conclusions gave McGowan credit for his thorough reporting and his willingness to address a media taboo. The book sold well, too, considering that it examines just one part of a broader topic--media bias--that some view as settled and others dismiss as banal.

With optimism that perhaps shows our naivete, some of us hoped that sales were brisk because network executives and local news directors bought dozens of copies to hand out to reporters, producers, editors, and other news decision-makers. For too long, as McGowan convincingly demonstrates, many in this crowd have conceived and developed stories that reflect one specific worldview. The most controversial manifestation of this groupthink is race-norming--the practice of requiring reporters and editors to count sources and photo subjects by skin color. In some cases, news organizations even based promotions on the "success" rate.

It's probably too early to judge, but an e-mail I received last week demonstrates that there are still people who could learn from McGowan's study. It came from a journalism e-mail list to which I subscribe. Other subscribers use the list to share story ideas, to keep in touch, and occasionally, to request help on stories.

Here is the e-mail in its entirety:

"Hi everyone! I hope someone out there can help me. I'm looking for a young black entrepreneur--under 40, tech savvy, who has started his own dot-com or company--to profile for CNN NewsNight. Since this will be part of a series about race in America, the ideal candidate is someone who struggled or encountered discrimination while looking for jobs or working in the tech sector (also could be someone who became frustrated by the predominantly white male culture) and subsequently decided to strike out on his/her own. Or something along those lines. Could be anywhere in the U.S. If anyone knows of such a person or knows someone who does, please get in touch. Many thanks!"

There is no question that the person this journalist describes exists, somewhere. It's quite possible that the show will highlight a real problem. And I write this without knowing what other questions this CNN series will raise about race in America.

Still, aren't viewers and readers better served when reporters investigate an issue and then report on their findings? It is in that spirit of inquiry that I invite someone from "NewsNight"--the author of the e-mail or anyone else involved with the show--to elucidate the purpose of the series and the reporting that goes into it. We'll post the response here.

Stephen F. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: mediabias

1 posted on 04/19/2002 9:10:20 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: JeanS
Hi everyone, I hope theres someone out there that can help me. Im doing a general story for CNN on race in America. Im looking for a im looking for a young black male from a small southern town that was tortured by a group of white males(each with no more than 7 teeth) driveing a 50's model pickup truck with some sort of Confederate emblem on it. Also the Sheriff in the town has to be overweight and he has to have a tall thin deputy with reflective sunglasses and a straw in his mouth. Dont worry, if we cant find such a person, well just make one up.
2 posted on 04/19/2002 9:26:17 PM PDT by Husker24
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To: JeanS
Pretty scary. Talk about your racial profiling.
3 posted on 04/19/2002 9:26:46 PM PDT by Orblivion
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To: JeanS
"...the ideal candidate is someone who struggled or encountered discrimination while looking for jobs or working in the tech sector (also could be someone who became frustrated by the predominantly white male culture)"

Wonder how CNN would respond if some other network sent out a query looking for

"...a young black entrepreneur--under 40, tech savvy, who has started his own dot-com or company--to profile for CNN NewsNight. Since this will be part of a series about black success in America, the ideal candidate is someone who struggled and made it on his own, without benefit of affirmative action (also could be someone who became frustrated by a lack of opportunity for individual initiative on the predominantly white liberal plantation) and subsequently decided to strike out on his/her own. Or something along those lines. Could be anywhere in the U.S. If anyone knows of such a person or knows someone who does, please get in touch. Many thanks!"

4 posted on 04/19/2002 9:27:17 PM PDT by okie01
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To: okie01
CNN is just flat out sickening!!
5 posted on 04/19/2002 9:29:38 PM PDT by timestax
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To: JeanS
bump
6 posted on 04/19/2002 9:30:04 PM PDT by foreverfree
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To: JeanS
CNN's motto - Scripting the news stories just the way we want them to have happened.

Their not looking for a story just someone to act a part.

7 posted on 04/19/2002 9:54:12 PM PDT by eggman
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To: eggman
Their => They're
8 posted on 04/19/2002 9:55:10 PM PDT by eggman
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To: eggman
You're correcto eggman. They write the news in the morning and ensures it happens that way by the end of the day.
9 posted on 04/19/2002 10:01:37 PM PDT by Archie Bunker on steroids
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To: JeanS
In the last 10 years down here in Silicon Valley, I have had only one (that I know of) African-decendent-American apply for a job with any IT dept that I've managed. I was about to hire him, but my new boss would not let me. I knew that the reason was that he was black, but I could not prove it. I quit the company with that as one of my many reasons....they are dot.gone now.

I would like to see more blacks learning tech and applying for jobs down here - when the market comes back of course. On the other side, I do know some very successful black businessmen and consultants. As far as discrimination that they have faced....I am sure that it exists, just as there is discrimination against any of us for whatever we are or are not. I'll ask next time, I may be shocked by what I hear...or not.

My brother faced discrimination for not being gay when he consulted over at the GAP in SF. He was treated differently (thankfully) and the environment was very sexually harassive with lewd comments and dialog all of the time. Will CNN do a story about that?

10 posted on 04/20/2002 2:44:23 AM PDT by thunderdome
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: matamoros
They're majoring in black studies which they then take to those "celebrate diversity" management positions at the big companies. After they're comfortably in place in their nice offices they can network with the other oppressed africanhyphenamerican brothermans in the company that got there by the same means and cocommiserate about how awful its been living in white land. Of course, they will have a talented staff which includes some talented old white boys to get the job done and make them look good.

Oops I'm retired now and shouldn't be getting my blood pressure up when I think of the incompetent that was my last "boss".

12 posted on 04/20/2002 3:29:29 AM PDT by RushLake
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To: matamoros
" I would hire one in a New York second if I could find one. Must all be majoring in "Black Studies"."

Just curious about your statement.

Aren't qualifications the basis for hiring anymore?? Why would it be important to you to 'find one'?

13 posted on 04/20/2002 7:44:36 AM PDT by LADY J
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To: LADY J
Um, I think he meant if I find one as in "If I came across one".
14 posted on 04/20/2002 7:50:39 AM PDT by SoCal Pubbie
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To: LADY J
>Aren't qualifications the basis for hiring anymore??

[laughs] It sounds like it's been a while since you've been in the Fortune 1000.

Most jobs -- even executive jobs -- have become so routine, so defined by

procedure, precedence and policy, that qualifications are not only unnecessary, but could tend to make an employee think for him/her self, ignore the three P's, and become a dangerous loose cannon. (When companies need qualifications, they contract a consultant for a short, fixed time, for a one-time, fixed cost...)

Mark W.

15 posted on 04/20/2002 8:05:37 AM PDT by MarkWar
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To: thunderdome
In the last 10 years down here in Silicon Valley, I have had only one (that I know of) African-decendent-American apply for a job with any IT dept that I've managed. I was about to hire him, but my new boss would not let me. I knew that the reason was that he was black, but I could not prove it. I quit the company with that as one of my many reasons....they are dot.gone now.

It might be that your boss had a thing against Blacks. Or it might have been that he was leery of hiring someone who he would have difficulty firing if he didn't work out, or who might be a source of lawsuits if he didn't get promoted as fast as he thought he should be, or if somebody in the office made a remark that he thought was racist.

Too many business decisions are made these days on the basis of "how can we best preclude future lawsuits". That's what's behind these stupid "zero-tolerance" policies that school systems get laughed-at over -- you can be used for exercising judgement, but it's harder if you're just blindly applying policy

16 posted on 04/20/2002 12:06:02 PM PDT by SauronOfMordor
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To: matamoros
I'm in IT and have yet to come across a brilliant black programmer.

I've met a couple (as in "two") over the course of a twenty-five year consulting career where I've worked in over a dozen companies. In the last place I worked for, there were just three Blacks in an IT staff of around 150, in a company located in the heart of a Black-majority city

Blacks don't seem to gravitate into IT that much. In "The End of Racism", Dinesh D'Sousa went over how many Blacks in a particular year had gotten PhD's in various fields. In Computer Science: one Black PhD that year in the whole US.

17 posted on 04/20/2002 12:17:05 PM PDT by SauronOfMordor
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To: JeanS
A typical left-wing, liberal racist. These clowns live to create racism and bigotry. These are the ones who are against term limits, and school vouchers.
18 posted on 04/22/2002 11:44:09 AM PDT by Temple Owl
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To: JeanS
This should be pamphletized and dropped on inner cities everywhere.
Slavery lives.
19 posted on 04/22/2002 11:49:04 AM PDT by PRND21
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To: SauronOfMordor
"Blacks don't seem to gravitate into IT that much. In "The End of Racism", Dinesh D'Sousa went over how many Blacks in a particular year had gotten PhD's in various fields. In Computer Science: one Black PhD that year in the whole US."

It's more a matter of INTEREST. Perhaps fewer blacks WANT to be in IT. Perhaps they prefer other professions, and succeed in THEM, rather than IT.

Remember the story which accompanied a survey showing that a smaller percentage of blacks had personal computers in the home than non-blacks. This was, the study leaders felt, a prime indication of some sort of discrimination. It never must have occurred to them that perhaps a lot of those blacks surveyed just DIDN'T WANT a PC in their house. It's certainly not an economic phenom. Just about anyone can afford a PC of some sort - so if you don't have one by now, I'd say it's because you just don't WANT one.

There have been some other interesting articles lately about how the various TV newsmagazines select those people who take part in their stories. They want the people in the stories to be of a certain "appearance," someone to whom the viewer could "relate." So, they tend to pick fairly attractive white people whose stories are apropos to the mag's subject matter. The magazines feel, rightly or wrongly, that a story about some misjustice featuring an utterly unattractive person/couple, etc., will be tuned out by potential viewers.

The problemo the CNN reporter has is that viewer fatigue is setting in HARD on stories about blacks-as-victims. Most people just aren't interested - only the reporter and "his community" are.

Michael

20 posted on 04/22/2002 12:07:19 PM PDT by Wright is right!
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To: JeanS
Well, I'm pretty sure that the 'journalist' that composed that e-mail was a white female just dripping with liberal guilt based on the 'white male culture' comment and the cute 'Hi Everyone' intro.
21 posted on 04/22/2002 12:21:34 PM PDT by Looking4Truth
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To: JeanS
The Communist News Network has no agenda. Just the facts, maam, just the facts.
22 posted on 04/22/2002 12:32:16 PM PDT by Faraday
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To: RushLake
They're majoring in black studies...

They're majoring in 'Ethno-Urbanology' with a minor in 'Public Administration'.

23 posted on 04/22/2002 12:43:51 PM PDT by martin gibson
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