COLORING THE NEWS: How Crusading for Diversity Has Corrupted American Journalism
Release date: 12/01/2001
In a book likely to spark controversy, and with the relentlessness of a prosecutor, McGowan (Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka), a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, presents case after case in which, he contends, reporters and editors got stories wrong or ignored topics worthy of coverage because of their liberal ideologies and their fear of offending African-Americans, gays or feminists. (In many cases, he says, the journalists later admitted their own timidity.) Both in hiring practices and story coverage, multicultural journalism is "oversimplifying complicated issues" and "undermining the spirit of public cooperation and trust," McGowan writes. On race, he points to what he calls "soft" coverage of Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry and Rev. Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. But some of his arguments are inflammatory. Lumping "Gay and Feminist Issues" together in one chapter, he compares the coverage of the Matthew Shepard murder and that of another murder by two gay pedophiles in light of what he calls "the sanctity of the gays-as-victims script." McGowan also cites biases in reporting on the abortion issue, attributing them to the fact that over 80% of journalists surveyed say they are pro-choice. Detractors will note that journalists rarely cover issues without biases, and that it's unlikely that journalists of the past covered most causes—including the 1960s struggle for civil rights that McGowan holds up as a model for race relations in the United States—with the objectivity he trumpets. Skeptics of multiculturalism will love this book, and lefties will love to hate it. (Nov. 15)
Forecast:Encounter Books knows how to reach its conservative audience. More generally, this will generate controversy among media mavens.