The Magical World Of Liberal Equity
One is shocked, shocked by this news, surely:
An analysis of comprehensive data for roughly 1,000 The New York Times employees conducted by members of the union that represents its newsroom found that Black and Latino staffers are far less likely than their white peers to receive strong job ratings.
There are financial consequences to job ratings because they influence the size of employee bonuses, the NewsGuild union says. But staffers tell NPR the differential is even more important because it indicates an underlying systemic problem that the paper is failing to address. It is demoralizing, they say, and contributes to the premature departure of some colleagues.
The guild's study, released today, comes amidst uneasy negotiations over the newspaper's contract with the NewsGuild. The paper is still operating under the terms of the last one, which expired in 2021.
"Being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by about 60%, and being Black cut the chances of high scores by nearly 50%," says the report from the NewsGuild chapter representing employees of The New York Times. The study, shared before its release with NPR News, reflects data stretching back to 2018, when a new rating system was put in place.
While there were some fluctuation — on average, the performance of Black employees rose over the intervening years, while it declined for Latinos at the organization — white workers were consistently assessed as outperforming their peers.
Well, gosh, let's see. If you hire people on the basis of anything other than competence, you should not be surprised by this result. That is to say, if a middling performer who happened to be a Person Of Color got the job over a Person Of Paleness who was more qualified, you should not be surprised to find that the diverse employee can't do the job as well as those who were hired on the basis of competence alone.
Think about it: if white people with blue eyes had a significant hiring advantage over all other white people, because the newspaper decided that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion required increasing the number of blue-eyed white employees in the newsroom, it stands to reason that the blue-eyed would not rate as highly on performance as the other whites, overall, because they were selected for an attribute that had nothing to do with their ability to do the job.
Seriously, does anybody really think that The New York Times is racist? I guess those who believe that the only possible explanation for racial disparities in job performance is racism must believe it. The report I linked to above, from NPR (naturally), doesn't even mention this as a possible explanation for the disparity. It is inconceivable to the liberal/progressive mind that this could be true.
Therefore, the evaluation system at the Times will have to change to reflect DEI priorities. Newsroom managers will have to figure out another way to determine who among their workers can actually get the job done.
I don't feel a bit sorry for the Times, or any newspaper that has promoted the DEI ideology. I spent years working for a variety of newspapers, and it was common knowledge that people were hired and promoted beyond their ability to do a job because they filled a diversity quota. I remember arguing with a (white) newsroom manager over this, back when it was still safe to say such things in newsrooms, and pointed out that you can either follow an ethic of "diversity," or you can put out a top-quality newspaper, but you couldn't do both. This manager, who had totally bought into the DEI ideology, said that, and I quote, "Diversity is a component of quality."
No, it actually isn't. Newsroom managers are liberals -- often disproportionately white -- who are desperate to be morally clean. I once had a conversation with a white liberal second-tier editor who took a step down and went back to reporting, because he said he was afraid he was going to be named in a libel lawsuit someday. Why? Part of his job was to rewrite and re-report news stories that had been badly done by diversity hires -- stories that routinely had factual errors. He told me that he was constantly anxious that he was going to miss something in his rewrites, and was going to open his newspaper up to a lawsuit. But the higher-ups at his paper were unwilling to listen to his complaints about the risk they were taking, to say nothing of the fact that he was expected to do extra work to compensate for the sense of moral righteousness the senior editorial hierarchy enjoyed for hiring diversely.
He felt safe telling me this because I was a conservative. He was adamantly not a conservative, but he was fed up with the official lying that the newsroom had to do to justify its racist hiring practices.
It was not, of course, that minorities were necessarily worse reporters. The fact was that in my time as a newspaper journalist (1989-2010), and maybe still today (I don't know), there were far, far fewer black and Latino journalists than there was demand for them by white newspaper executives who agonized over the lack of "diversity" on their staffs. (Believe me, I never, ever, ever saw even a fraction of the same agonizing over how to put out a better-quality newspaper.) If you were even a minimally competent POC journalist, you could write your own ticket in the industry, no matter what your skill set. In one case, I watched a young POC journalist promoted far beyond their ability to write and report, and publicly humiliate themselves with their embarrassingly bad writing. Eventually this person left daily journalism, no doubt because they knew exactly why they had been hired and promoted. They could have become a decent journalist with time and experience, but this person's status as a POC was the golden ticket to a plum position that white people with more experience, insight, and talent on the newspaper's staff couldn't possibly hope to achieve.
I have a bee in my bonnet about this stuff because in 1997, a section editor at a newspaper I really wanted to work for told me I was the perfect candidate for an opening, and that my clips (writing samples) were first-rate. He said that the job interview was just a formality at that point. Fantastic! I thought. But then the man stopped taking my calls. Finally I was able to pin him down, and he sheepishly said that he had been informed by the (white) editor-in-chief that he could not interview me until the newspaper had undertaken a national search for a woman or POC for that position. I could tell that this editor knew he was behaving shamefully towards me, telling me that I could not have a shot at that job, despite my qualifications, because of my sex and skin color.
I eventually got the editor-in-chief on the phone, and told him I would pay for my own plane ticket to fly in to interview, just please give me a chance. Nope.
Months went by with no word from them. Meanwhile, I got a job interview at a much better paper. On the very day I was offered and accepted that job, the other paper called, said they had not found a female or POC job prospect who was as talented as I, and they would like to fly me in for an interview. It felt great to tell them forget it, that I found a better job.
But what if I had not found a better job? There were serious non-journalism reasons I wanted that job at the other paper. To be told that I was fully qualified for it, but then to be told subsequently that I had to go to the back of the line to make room for a woman or a POC, was humiliating. It was humiliating when women and POCs were disadvantaged in the past in newsroom hiring, but the way to make up for past discrimination on the basis of sex and race is to stop discriminating on the basis of sex and race!
Do I even need to point out that no newspaper management ever worries about the lack of viewpoint diversity among its staff?
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So, journalism is going to get even worse under these equity regimes, and the people responsible for ensuring the integrity of the workplace and the quality of the work will not be able to meet that responsibility. They will keep lying, either to themselves or to others, because DEI ideology is dogmatic, and in more and more places, you cannot dissent from it without harming your career. The Times, recall, is a newspaper that fired its highly regarded medical correspondent Donald G. McNeil because some spoiled brats on a Times-sponsored learning vacation complained that he used the n-word while trying to answer a kid's question about whether the n-word is ever appropriate to use. They can all go hang.
Like academia, journalism in America has been deeply damaged by ideology. A liberal democracy needs a healthy journalism industry to get reliable information to voters and decision makers. But ideology has corrupted the industry, such that it becomes harder and harder to trust that the information you get is reliable. This is the world that liberal journalists have made for themselves. Again, I would like to point out to you that nowhere in that NPR report about this is there any recognition that there could be an explanation for the findings of the Times employees' union that runs counter to DEI theory. These journalists have trained themselves not to think about it.
It is interesting to consider that the one field of professional endeavor where nobody hires on the basis of DEI is athletics. Winning is more important than anything else. You want the best team, period, no matter what the color of the players. This is as it should be. Why is sports more important to us than journalism, academia, or anything else?
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