John Leo

Ingrained assumptions about the awfulness of the "dominant" (i.e., white male) culture began to flow into coverage. Standard narrative lines for coverage emerged. Assimilation and integration are bad. Opposition to abortion is inexcusable. Open immigration and bilingual programs are good. Religion is dangerous, except when the churches accept diversity ideology. The script on gays and feminists, McGowan writes, "tends to depict any objections to their causes -- however well grounded in constitutional, moral or institutional traditions -- as outright bigotry, worthy of cartoonish portrayal."

Worst of all, the mostly white male bosses raised no objections as the various minority journalist associations became more and more political, taking explicit stands on issues and holding workshops on how to spin coverage of those issues back in the newsroom. Presumably if a Christian fundamentalist caucus should appear in a newsroom (consider this unlikely) and openly work to turn news coverage against abortion and in favor of school prayer, their editors might think of objecting. But not to a racial version of the same thing.

A couple of years ago at the annual conference of the PC-afflicted American Society of Newspaper Editors, the society's "credibility project" showed a film to help explain why readers increasingly don't believe what they read in newspapers. The film dealt at length with a mother's complaint that her son had scored two touchdowns in a high school football game, but the local paper wrongly attributed the touchdowns to a teammate. And I thought: Is it possible to be more out of touch with reality?

Newspapers' dramatic loss of credibility has little to do with faulty football reporting or other minor carelessness. As surveys show, readers are stampeding away because they are alienated by diversity-skewed reporting. Speaking about the newsroom's "disconnect from the rest of mainstream society," McGowan writes: "Much of the American public has the sense that news organizations have a view of reality at odds with their own and that reporting and commentary come from some kind of parallel universe."

The diversity revolution was supposed to increase readership and enhance credibility. Just the opposite has resulted. How long will it take the business to figure this out?

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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