Recently, the University of Missouri’s Reynolds Journalism Institute conducted a relatively large survey seeking to quantitatively determine which news organizations Americans trust. Unsurprisingly, CNN fell squarely within the “Least Trusted” category of outcomes. Even more recently, CNN exemplified why.
First, the brief background context.
In July, a Google employee named James Damore drafted a memorandum titled “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber: How Bias Clouds Our Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion.” In it, he argued (accurately, I might add) that Google’s (and others’) extreme views and policies on diversity for its own sake ignore unethical and perhaps illegal discrimination, relevant factors of consideration when making decisions, practical realities, and potentially retards organizational progress through de facto censorship. He argued that intolerance of differing ideologies – particularly political ones – are discriminatory in their own right and ultimately suppresses ideas, innovation, and creativity (and good diversity policies) by excluding potentially relevant and meaningful arguments and information exchange from policy decision-making. He corrected warned of the perils of rejecting individualism in favor of furthering stereotypes inherently associate with collectivism.
Swiftly following the memo’s splashdown on the internet and as if on cue, Google terminated his employment, affectively proving that the company is in fact a discriminatory organization that is afraid of meaningful diversity: that of ideas.
But where CNN’s untrustworthiness comes into play is thus: its Twitter headline on the matter reads “The Google engineer who wrote a memo that argued women aren’t biologically fit for tech jobs is out at the company” (emphasis added). This is factually inaccurate. I have read the memo in its entirety, something CNN apparently didn’t bother to do (or is just lying about, with respect to what it actually says). Nowhere in the memo did Damore say any such thing. Indeed, he went well out of his way to state that he was making no such case, no doubt understanding he would receive at least some predictable strawmanning. (The New York Times constructed a similar strawman as well: “Google Fires Engineer Who Wrote Memo Questioning Women in Tech“ (emphasis added). Again, he wrote no such thing.)
Either CNN (and Google) did not actually read his work, understand it at all, and/or are very clearly proving his point that diversity of thought, evidence, and reason are not welcome in certain political circles. Although this is not a First Amendment issue and I support any employer’s right to terminate an employee at their own discretion, I also question the practical sustainability of such an organizational practice in these circumstances.
At any rate, he may have a defamation lawsuit case against these mainstream media outlets which are clearly trashing his character all over the national news – either due to outright malice or woeful negligence of their reasonable duty as journalists. Both qualify as liability in a civil case.
If you do not want to be dismissed as “fake news,” hot tip: stop making up the news and start reporting it.
UPDATE (8 August 2017): It seems some are starting to (finally) take note of just how badly CNN, among others, has completely strawmanned Damore’s thesis. CNN has even started modifying some of its inaccurate headlines, but of course they always this too late and with little public attention to the matter. They know full-well that in this day of the hour-to-hour news cycle, no one will catch wise to the corrections they make – that their initial “mistaken” headlines ultimately satisfy the narrative point they strive for. Some reports even indicate that certain entities had edited the original memorandum prior to circulating it, by removing some of its charts, hyperlinks, and other source citations. I am sure this was all just innocent oversight, however.