John Leo

Since the "diversity" juggernaut has swept through the newsroom, other groups have acquired the power to monitor their own coverage. This is, of course, a deadly threat to the news media's honesty and credibility. Here's a current example of how this system works. For years, Tammy Bruce was a familiar political figure and talk-show host in Los Angeles, with all the right tickets for easy newsroom acceptance. In fact, she was three of the newsroom's favorite lobbies rolled into one person -- she was a pro-abortion-rights lesbian activist and head of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women. (She was pro-gun-ownership too, but nobody's perfect.)

Then Bruce made two fateful deviations from the party line: She charged that NOW was muting its criticism of O.J. Simpson to keep on the good side of the NAACP, and she wrote an op-ed piece defending Dr. Laura Schlessinger from the gay McCarthyites who eventually drove her off TV for saying that homosexual sex is "deviant." (Bruce mentions that Dr. Laura has been personally kind to her, and to PFLAG, the organization of parents and friends of lesbians and gays.)

Her op-ed piece was mainly a defense of free speech. Instead of printing her article right away, as it usually did, the Los Angeles Times delayed and said there were problems, so Bruce sent it to The New York Times, which sat on it for two weeks and then said it could run if Bruce accepted a heavy edit that "bore little resemblance to what I had originally submitted" and seemed "arguably anti-Laura." She withdrew the piece. It finally ran in the L.A. Times, tucked away in the poorly read Calendar section, and very late in the quickly unfolding debate over Dr. Laura.

Bruce found that her status had changed. She had become uninterviewable in the L.A. Times. She said: "I've found out what it's like trying to get your message out when you are on the wrong side of an issue."

Now she has a strong book out: "The New Thought Police: Inside the Left's Assault on Free Speech and Free Minds." A few conservative outlets plugged it, but in five months she has not received a single book review in any mainstream newspaper or magazine, which sort of proves the book's point about the power of the censoring left. If Norah Vincent, a brave L.A. Times columnist, had not written about this newsroom-unapproved book, few people in Bruce's hometown would even know she had written it. She is a non-person in the L.A. Times and her book apparently never happened. Now she knows: Bernie Goldberg is right.

John Leo

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

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