: Jay Rosen has a followup to his excellent commentary on the Unity Kerry-ovation hooha.
The whole logic of diversity hiring assumes that minority journalists will exert and express themselves within the councils of the profession, and–for example–at daily meetings in newsrooms. Freedom of speech in public settings is not a trivial issue for people who band together to make their voices heard in journalism.
There are two issues at work here: diversity (of ethnicity or opinion?) and free speech (do journalists have it?). Below, I called for redefining diversity around opinions that are openly held.
The ironies are foghorn-loud. Here is an organization of ethnic journalists that forms to rally around their special interests as ethnic journalists. If they didn’t have special interests — if they didn’t have an agenda — they wouldn’t be coming together. So we should be surprised that they have opinions when Kerry or Bush come to talk?
This only throws a spotlight on the essential hypocrisy of journalistic objectivity and rules of alleged ethics that put a gag on journalists when it comes to expressing their opinions openly.
I think it is unethical to withhold those opinions in public, to act as if you don’t have them, to lie by omission.
I also think that Unity should be pushing for diversity of different definitions — diversity of viewpoint and opinion and new source and not just hiring. This whole thing is a bit too insular to the journalism community. It’s an echo chamber, damnit.
The bottom line of all this is that journalism should be the town square at which we, the people, come together to find facts and explore problems and try to find solutions and share our diverse viewpoints in an effort to discern the wisdom of the crowd — of the democracy. That is diversity at work.