I couldn’t attend—because I wasn’t invited—but this past Monday the New York Times held another session in its “Diversity Awareness Series,” which is a forum for its “employees and leaders to learn about the many facets of”—you guessed it—”diversity.”
This particular session featured Christine Quinn, the speaker of the New York City Council, “the first woman to hold this post,” reads the invitation, “and the first lesbian in conversation with Sewell Chan, the bureau chief of the Metro desk’s City Room.”
It would be utterly routine for the news staff of the Times to invite in a politician for a discussion of the issues he or she is confronting. But what is happening here is something else. The publisher of the family-owned newspaper, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., has unleashed a team of what he calls “Internal Consultants” to impose a politically correct regime of diversity on the paper—editorial and news side alike. As a woman and a lesbian, Quinn has been enlisted in that effort. Yet she happens to be an influential figure in city government whom the news staff will be continuing to cover.
This causes one to wonder: will the reporters and editors who have had their thinking about diversity reprogrammed in these sessions be fair and balanced in their coverage of this politician? Or, under the watchful eyes of the Internal Consultants, will they henceforth, first and foremost, celebrate Quinn as a lesbian pioneer?