Dylan Byers Defends Politico For 'Diversity' That Barely Exists, and Is Shrinking

August 20th, 2014 11:08 AM

Just to be clear, the racial makeup of a news organization should be irrelevant to its ability to cover current events. The answers to who, what, where, when, why, and how are colorblind. The practice of assigning reporters to stories based on the ethnicities or races of stories' subjects is offensive, and should be seen as insulting.

But the fact is that news organizations and so-called progressives are obsessed with "diversity" — in everything but viewpoint, of course. So it's especially delicious that Politico's Dylan Byers claim that Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery's tweet that "black ppl don't work for @politico" was "offensive and factually inaccurate" has caused the truth about the insufferably self-righteous web site's track record to gain wide exposure.

Here is Lowery's original tweet, Byers's response, and Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel's ill-advised attempt to pile on:


(Aside: Lowery had plenty of characters left in his tweet to spell "people" correctly. How about using complete words when possible, Wesley?)



Byers and Vogel really should have kept their traps shut, as Tracie Powell at All Digitocracy demonstrated (links are in original; bolds are mine):

... Rather than engage in a Twitter fight, Vogel and Byers should stop acting like there isn’t a diversity problem inside their newsroom.  In fact, it’s worse than it was two years ago in that the number of black journalists working at Politico has dropped by half.

Politico isn’t the only digital news operation lacking in terms of diversity. But the others aren’t as publicly offended by the truth as Byers and Vogel appeared to be on Friday.

... When (Politico Editor-in-chief John) Harris and I talked in 2012, six black journalists worked in his newsroom. Now, that number is down to three in a staff of nearly 200. They include: copy editor Robin Turner as well as Darius Dixon and LaRonda Peterson, who both work for Politico Pro, the organization’s premium policy news service. This means there are no black reporters working for the country’s paywall-free premier news service covering Beltway policy and politics.

... clearly something is wrong, like maybe Politico’s newsroom culture does not have the metabolism for black journalists. This isn’t the first time Politico has been called out about it either.

... Rather than getting defensive on Twitter, Politico veterans should focus on ... figuring out ways to hire more experienced black journalists, particularly those who can be added to the newsroom’s executive ranks. But most important, Politico needs to figure out how to retain the black journalists it already has.

Google has recently been criticized for having a workforce which is 2 percent black. Politico, at 1.5 percent, has a lower figure. At the current rate of attrition, that percentage will be zero within a couple of years. Yet Byers's and Vogel's tweets seem to indicate a belief that they had the higher ground.

They would be well-advised to crawl back into their holes and write on topics they can competently cover — bravely assuming they exist.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.