Special to WorldTribune.com, August 2, 2021
Commentary by Joe Schaeffer
In the latest display of ridiculousness among our progressive establishment would-be ruling apparatus, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio has announced a new “ethics policy” that will allow its “journalists” to openly conduct themselves as the flagrant activists they have long been.
From a July 29 NPR article:
The new NPR policy reads, “NPR editorial staff may express support for democratic, civic values that are core to NPR’s work, such as, but not limited to: the freedom and dignity of human beings, the rights of a free and independent press, the right to thrive in society without facing discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, disability, or religion.”
“There are things in the world where we are not torn about where we stand,” said [NPR chief diversity officer Keith Woods (who is also former dean of faculty and my former boss at The Poynter Institute). “We are against bigotry, we are against discrimination and unfairness.”
The Poynter Institute connection is telling. Hilariously, both the diversity commissar who helped craft this new policy and the NPR “journalist” who is “reporting” on it are alumni of a George Soros-funded organization committed to furthering the development of a blatantly-biased dominant media machine.
But it is a closer look at Keith Woods that truly reveals just how utterly corrosive a path NPR is now tumbling headlong down. Woods is not only a committed ideologue who has loosely draped himself in the trappings of journalism but an individual who has shown a disturbingly vociferous anti-white hostility over the course of his career.
Woods was a major player in what can only be described as a Maoist racial re-education program at the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the largest newspaper in Louisiana, in the 1990s.
The 2000 book “Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media” by Pamela Newkirk provides vivid details on a seven-part series produced by the Times-Picayune in 1993 titled “Together Apart: The Myth of Race.” Newkirk writes that the series “brazenly tackled racism in society and in the news media.”
Behind the scenes at the newspaper, an intense regimen of racial re-engineering was being put into place:
[One] article disclosed that the paper had set up a support group for black and female journalists to address the hostility and exclusion they felt in the newsroom. The paper had also hired a diversity trainer to help the staff cope with racial intolerance. When one meeting dissolved into bitterness and harsh language, Jim Amoss, the editor, called a meeting in which he told white employees they “had to change their attitudes” toward black co-workers.
Spearheading all of this hypercharged racial divisiveness was Woods (bold added throughout this article):
Keith Woods, the black city editor who had proposed the series, was among the blacks on the team who insisted that whites come clean about their own racial baggage. All were asked to say if they believed blacks were inferior.
Keith Woods insisted that no story go into the paper until an African American editor or reporter had reviewed it. While the mandate caused friction, [Times-Picayune editor] Amoss conceded that it often resulted in articles with a sharper perspective.
The book does not shy away from the fact that things got very, very ugly within the walls of the Times-Picayune:
Jim O’Byrne, a white reporter, said members of the staff “damn near came to blows” during racial debates. “You know: ‘I hate you. You’re the devil.’ ‘What? I thought we were friends?’ ‘Well, we are friends but you’re the devil.’ When you really cut through all the crap, that’s what you’re dealing with, that kind of mistrust.’ “
This is the handiwork of the man helping to create journalism ethics policy at NPR today.
Woods has not moderated his feverish notions in the least. In a 2019 article for NPR, he flat-out declares:
I am not a journalism purist. I came into the profession 40 years ago to tear down the spurious notion of objectivity used to protect a legacy of sexism, xenophobia and white supremacy. The better ideals of truth telling, accountability, fairness, etc. are what give journalism its power, while the notion of “objectivity” has been used to obscure and excuse the insidious biases we do battle with today.
The July 29 article on the new ethics policy references another NPR “journalist”:
Leah Donnella, a supervising editor at Code Switch, was one of the committee members who walked away dissatisfied. She’s been at NPR since 2015 and she went into the conversations last year accepting as a truism that journalists must sacrifice some political speech in order to do their jobs. But after a year of parsing words, she wonders if she and her colleagues missed the opportunity to go deeper.
Here’s what Donnella has in mind. She was a featured voice at a 2020 “What would antiracist journalism look like?” symposium that also included Robert Samuels of the Washington Post. From a description of the event:
‘Words either heal or they harm’: How to practice antiracist journalism daily
When do objectivity and neutrality mask inequity? How do journalists tell stories that root out racism in society?
The speakers began by acknowledging the work of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, a leading scholar on antiracism and author of “How to Be an Antiracist,” then led into a series of practical approaches to antiracist reporting.
Donnella had no problem articulating her racial grievances:
Donnella: This country is run by white men, right? We have to talk to them, we have to hear from them. But that can’t be the whole story, we have to then hear, who are the people that are going to be affected by these decisions? Who disagrees? What are the other perspectives? And I think that’s the exciting part, is to get to continue the reporting.
Kendi is currently the driving force behind a Boston Globe-Boston University campaign to launch a new publication called The Emancipator, “an independent antiracist multimedia platform.” The venture was announced March 16.
Bina Venkataraman, current Editorial Page Editor at the Globe, forthrightly admitted (in comments to NPR) the pure activist nature of the collaboration with Kendi:
And I think that’s the sort of lens that journalists who are part of this effort will one day be able to look at it through to say I was part of a journalistic effort that deals with one of the most profound problems of our time, which is racism, which deals with really the foundational ideals of this country, the unfinished business of achieving liberty and justice for all. For journalists to be part of helping America live up to its highest ideals I think is among the most profound things a journalist could do with his or her career.
The anti-white animus seethes barely below the surface throughout all of this. But not for much longer. The white cosmopolitan liberals who have dutifully supported NPR throughout the decades are now beginning to be targeted by the racial revolution they helped nurture.
It is nothing short of savage.
NPR is now conducting its own Maoist struggle sessions similar to those advanced by Keith Woods in New Orleans three decades ago. A 2019 session with a “Cultural Competency Trainer” at WHYY, a Philadelphia NPR affiliate, stands out for the sheer honesty of its racial loathing.
The thoroughly leftist Columbia Journalism Review provided an exhaustive account of the forum, which of course was mandatory for employees. It is well worth quoting at length:
Staff members sat in rows of chairs facing a powerpoint display, sipping coffee as they waited for the mandatory training to begin….
Here is a key point: Giving fair time to the labeled-as-racist conservative point of view is itself racist, according to this view of journalism:
[S]everal staff members, all white, took the conversation in a different direction by focusing on their concern that the reporter in one of the examples would be perceived to be biased because she drew attention to the problematic and inaccurate statements of white conservatives in the story.
One person said, “this is why people don’t trust us.” Another complained that stories about bigotry spotlighted the fringe as if to say, “look at these people. Look how terrible they are.” The staff in the workshop focused on trust exclusively among white conservatives, rather than trust among communities of color. And this was not the only instance where concerns over perceived political bias were raised. One staffer raised concerns that efforts to cover progressive perspectives and to include “the ostracized” may have the effect of alienating “the majority.”
And even the head of the station expressed concern that the station was perceived as sounding “too politically liberal.” Again, during this particular training, the focus of the module was intended to be on addressing racism and bigotry directed against people of color. But by shifting the focus of the conversation to the political sensitivities of potential conservative white listeners, the participants in effect re-centered whiteness.
But the most fascinating revelation is that NPR truly hates its own listeners, regarding the older white liberals who make up its core audience as aged, obsolete relics who thankfully will soon be dead:
Several people said that one barrier to institutionalizing cultural competency was the way management had traditionally centered the white audience when thinking about membership. While a number of recent efforts have highlighted the democratizing potential of membership models to encourage greater public investment and participation in journalism, at WHYY several pointed out that this model could also reinforce the whiteness of public radio. One staff member called it the “white dinosaur” problem. Several people worried that membership strategists continued to chase an aging white elite. While these “dinosaurs” would eventually die out, in a majority-minority city like Philadelphia, there was a much greater opportunity to pursue members of color who were more plentiful, and who would be around after the dinosaurs went extinct. But so long as membership devoted its resources (and its pricey special events) to courting the dinosaurs, the rest of the public would have little incentive to connect or feel a sense of belonging.
This soft-genocide attitude makes perfect sense within the ethos of the new “objectivity” in antiracist journalism today, which states that colorblindness, like even time for differing points of view, is also racism:
The ideology of colorblindness suggests that race no longer matters and should play no role in legal, social, or cultural decision-making. As scholars such as Eduardo Bonilla-Silva have pointed out, the rhetoric of colorblindness can be used to minimize racism or racist microaggressions. Examples range from the more overt “All Lives Matter” phenomenon, to the more subtle and increasingly common practice of referring to non-white individuals as “diverse” in a way that centers whiteness. By failing to recognize difference and racial power hierarchies, narratives of colorblindness can obscure structural racism, even when they carry an idealistic intent.
Welcome to 2021 America. When the fashionably comfortable elderly white progressives of tony Rittenhouse Square walk around proudly carrying their WHYY tote bags, they are showing their support for people who are eagerly relishing the day they die. Leftist insanity continues to reach new heights of repulsiveness.
Joe Schaeffer is the former Managing Editor of The Washington Times National Weekly Edition. His columns appear at WorldTribune.com and FreePressInternational.org.