We’re all aware this has been happening but over the past week two different pieces have been published about wokeness infiltrating media outlets. First up is this Substack piece from a Canadian reporter named Tara Henley who spent nearly a decade working at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).
When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press…
It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change…
To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others. It is, in my newsroom, to fill out racial profile forms for every guest you book; to actively book more people of some races and less of others.
To work at the CBC is to submit to job interviews that are not about qualifications or experience — but instead demand the parroting of orthodoxies, the demonstration of fealty to dogma.
That’s just a sample but you get the idea. Wokeness has taken over the newsroom to the point where people who are legitimately pretty far left in their politics are left shaking their heads at how quickly the new dogma makes them sound like hardened conservatives. For instance Henley notes that, “pop culture radio show’s coverage of the Dave Chappelle Netflix special failed to include any of the legions of fans, or comics, that did not find it offensive.” Like other heterodox writers who don’t fit in, she has has moved to Substack to be an independent voice.
Also this week, Christopher Rufo wrote about a former Reuters data scientist who was fired after he criticized some of the company’s Black Lives Matter boosterism. Zac Kriegman has a degree in economics and a law degree from Harvard. He worked for Reuters for six years before becoming the Director of Data Science in early 2020. It was only a few months later that things began to change dramatically.
Like many corporations in the United States in 2020, Reuters went through a quiet revolution in human resources and “diversity and inclusion.” The company launched a series of lectures and training programs, ranging from a study of Kimberlé Crenshaw’s intersectionality theory to an interactive panel called “Let’s Talk About Race” to a keynote presentation on “unlocking the power of diversity.” In honor of Floyd, the company asked employees to participate in a “21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge,” which promoted race-based reparations payments, academic articles on critical race theory, and instructions on “how to be a better white person.”…
Kriegman came to believe that the company’s “blue bubble” had created a significant bias in the company’s news reporting. “Reuters is not having the internal discussions about the facts and the research, and they’re not letting that shape how they present the news to people. I think they’ve adopted a perspective and they’re unwilling to examine that perspective, even internally, and that’s shaping everything that they write,” Kriegman said. Consequently, Reuters adopted a narrative that promotes a naïve, left-wing narrative about Black Lives Matter and fails to provide accurate context—which is particularly egregious because, unlike obviously left-leaning outlets such as the New York Times, Reuters has a reputation as a source of objective news reporting.
Kriegman decided to take a two month leave of absence and during that time he wrote a 12,000 word essay which directly implicated BLM in the deaths of thousands of people. His essay is a response to various claims about crime statistics. Here’s just a tiny bit of it:
I know many BLM supporters, and I fully believe their sincerity when they profess to be against racism. Nevertheless, to someone familiar with the facts, it seems like it would take an almost willful blindness not to see the dangers that BLM’s fraudulent villainization of police poses to violence plagued communities. Fatal police shootings of unarmed blacks account for approximately 0.18% of black homicides each year—less than one fifth of one percent of the black people murdered each year by neighborhood criminals. The communities where those murders are occuring are being crushed by violence, but not from the police. How could anyone who actually cares about the black people living in those communities not at least suspect that the radical decreases in proactive policing, and policing in general, called for by the BLM movement would have deadly consequences for those communities?
The best explanation I can come up with for why a person (white, black or any other race) would support the BLM movement, is ignorance of even the most rudimentary facts. For example, support for BLM correlates very highly with being more liberal, and a recent survey found that among those who describe themselves as “Very Liberal”, more than 50% believe law enforcement killed 1,000 or more unarmed black men in 2019. Nearly 8% believed they killed more than 10,000! According to the Washington Post, the real number of unarmed black men shot and killed by police in 2019 was 11. That’s a difference of 3 orders of magnitude. It’s impossible to reason intelligently when your beliefs about the relevant facts are so completely divorced from reality.
Kriegman intended for his essay to prompt a debate about how Reuters could be less dogmatic in its coverage of these issues. When he posted on the company’s internal message board, moderators immediately took it down. He fought with HR for two weeks and they eventually allowed it to go back up.
On May 28, after incorporating some of the feedback on tone from human resources, Kriegman reposted his essay under a new title: “BLM Spreads Falsehoods That Have Led to the Murders of Thousands of Black People in the Most Disadvantaged Communities.” This time, the moderators at The Hub let it stay up. Kriegman considered this a victory—and then the comments started flooding in. They began politely, but soon descended into open hostility.
After five days of this the essay was pulled down again. Kriegman complained to higher ups and was fired. There’s no doubt his essay was provocative but the response in a professional organization shouldn’t be to shout him down and then fire him. This sounds more like the sort of thing you’d expect to happen in China.
Kriegman says he and his family are financially secure and that’s one reason he was able to take this risk. But many people aren’t in a position to object to the woke infiltration of their newsrooms. “It’s absolutely clear that in our major news organizations, people are not discussing these issues openly. They can’t afford to. They’ll be fired,” he said.