Columnist brings attention to white-run Times, media’s racial double-standard.
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Perhaps White Mo takes the time to ponder these problems while secluded in the upscale white enclave of a city that the last census figures reported was 61% black. White Mo’s white Georgetown precincts, according to census data from 2000, were a Klavernesque 3.8% black. Heaven forbid that she’d have her house parties in the ‘hood over in Anacostia (97% black) or even Capitol Hill, which was 46% black in the same year all those hated Bushies began flooding the neighborhoods to get down with the even more despised Reaganites still there from the 1980s. Reaganites living side-by-side with African-Americans? Stop the white liberal presses! Call the stereotype police!
In fairness it really isn’t fair to single out White Mo on matters racial, even though she has led us there. White Mo’s white woes are in fact emblematic of the mainstream media in general, a place where judging people by skin color is a cherished value as long as it’s New Haven firemen under the microscope. But not so much — actually not much at all — if it’s their white media job, their white paper, their white television network or their white Internet site that is to be subjected to this scrutiny.
What do you see on your television or computer screen when you watch some of the prime-time news and commentary shows?
Here’s a test. Think of these faces as promoted on the liberal cable networks MSNBC and CNN: Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Dylan Ratigan, Joe Scarbrough, Mika Brzezinski, Chris Matthews, Anderson Cooper, Larry King. Wolf Blitzer. John King. Lou Dobbs. Think of the faces reading you the news on the broadcast networks — Charlie Gibson at ABC, Katie Couric at CBS and Brian Williams at NBC. A PBS fan? That would be the estimable Jim Lehrer. Sunday news shows? George Stephanopoulos at ABC, Bob Schieffer at CBS and David Gregory at NBC. Quick: what color are the faces attached to these names?
Ahhhhhhhh…right on white. You got it.
Seventeen mainstream media news shows — hosted by eighteen very white faces. To do the percentages, that’s 100% of these shows being hosted by whites. For that matter , the next time you catch a live feed of the white White House press secretary’s daily briefing, count the non-white faces in the White House press corps staring back at the white man on the podium. You have one hand, don’t you? Fox is not included in this line-up because of the obvious: as its liberal enemies love to point out, Fox is not liberal. Whether you believe Fox to be “conservative” or “fair and balanced” — in either case, racial quotas are neither. Fox is the place where Latino Geraldo Rivera stars in his own prime time show. Shockingly there are lots of people out there in the Fox audience who think of Geraldo as — brace yourselves — Geraldo. Just Geraldo. Not Geraldo Hispanic. Not Geraldo Latino. Just Geraldo Rivera, journalist. Imagine that.
If the rest of these white media stars mentioned above were treated the way Sonia Sotomayor treated the white firemen in New Haven, they would have spent the last few years suing just to keep their jobs. And losing.
Which brings us back to White Mo Dowd. White Mo, the white girl who won the white prize for writing for the white paper with the white owner, the white editorial board and the white columnists. White Mo, who parties in a white neighborhood of a black city with white movie stars, white journalists and lots and lots of white guys .
Why, this white boy wonders, is this very white woman still writing this very white column for the very white Times in the first place? Why isn’t her column given to some hot young aspiring-to-be-wise and very liberal Latina instead of White Mo? Why do white guy columnists get most of the column inches at the white run Times? Why not replace all of them — maybe all but one, just to be quota-ish — with black guys and dolls, Latinas/Latinos and an Asian or two to liven things up for poor Black Bob? If the Times were really up to its own imaginary standards, it would hire a gay black or Latina/Latino to replace the Frankly White Rich, he who tries hiding his whiteness by writing volumes on gays. Heck, why not just throw anti-gay bigotry under the bus and give Frankly White’s white column to the straight-forwardly gay if unfortunately white Andrew Sullivan, he who brought Tone to White Mo’s? Wouldn’t that be Rich!
Why is the idea of ceding her column to a young Latina presumably a “no go” with White Mo? Why no gay Sullivan for straight Rich? The answer is the same as it has always been from — white liberals: do as I say, not as I do.
White Mo will be staying at the New York Times because there is not the slightest intention to quota her out of her job in the same way White Mo and her white buds at the Times wanted to quota white fireman Frank Ricci and his white colleagues out of theirs. If one is to adopt White Mo’s standard of judging by race, there is at the Times precisely what White Mo professes to see elsewhere but curiously not in her own work place: a white “code” and a white “club.” The white guy owning the paper will hold on because his white family, the white heirs and heiresses of Adolph the White, want it that way. The white guy running the white editorial board will not be running a less than majority white board, the list of columnists will never be all non-white, and the blindingly white Bill Keller and Jill Abramson will still be two things: white and in charge. Forever and ever, ‘til death do them part, white yesterday, white today and white through all of white earthly eternity as long as the Times shall live. (Which may be less than eternity, but that’s another story — sort of.) To adopt White Mo’s take on life, it’s the New York Times rendering of the white code of the white club. And White Mo not only knows that white code — as with a lot of pretty white girls who know that code — she’s captain of the white club’s cheerleaders.
Put this way, all this sounds crazy, no? While I may not agree with White Mo and her white pals, they are experienced journalists. You’d have to be crazy to just sweep in and deny all these white people in the Times and the wider media their jobs just because of the color of their skin.
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