A spate of well-meaning initiatives is undermining the UK public broadcaster’s mandate to remain impartial.
Astier’s story about the BBC poses a bigger question: What are the costs (and benefits) to society when ‘empathy’ trumps ‘objectivity’ at our most important institutions? We need more debate on this, but for those attached to an ideology based on empathy, debate is off the table.
Thank you for stating this so clearly and fairly.
Here's the crux, it seems to me: "these tales increasingly boil down to simplistic morality tales of justice versus injustice. Their subjects are never pure individuals: stripped of group identity, their stories would lose their illustrative power."
I see this phenomenon in my hometown Massachusetts newspaper, where a recent story on redlining in a poor neighborhood, which seemed at the outset to have been the result of deep research, through which I might learn something new and important about our history and my neighbors, wound up just another shallow pointing out of the victims and their faceless, nameless oppressor.
But the thing is, I'm a reformer at heart. I served in the Peace Corps becuase I believed I could change the world. I learned there that the way to change the world is with only one person in your line of vision. What is her story? What do we have in common? Her group identity hasn't evaporated, but it's subsumed to her wholeness, her uniqueness.
I approach journalism this way, when I'm doing it right. I zero in with great specificity so that I, and then my reader, might feel empathy, might even change their behaviors and thoughts.
Cudgeled — or worse, condescended to — people don't change, they just shut up until Election Day.
I have problems with these Diversion and Inclusivity rules. Define what is a minority, what is a woman, who is disabled? Not long ago, there was a big row here in the States over inadequate representation of "minorities" in head coaching of Football. It turns out that the hired coach in question was actually half Black. When he held a press conference about the situation he said " I identify as someone of the Human race". Is a partial Black person a minority, how many drops of blood or how much DNA counts? What about Transgender people, are they considered as what they transformed into or what they were originally? Who defines what is disabled? Many people I know who would be classified as "disabled" actually detest that term. If someone can work in some position that doesn't affect their physical capabilities are they actually disabled? And what happens if you don't meet these goals? In California, there is a law being challenged requiring at least 50/50 (female, former female, current female?) to be on the board of directors of publicly run companies. What if not enough female applicants apply or are available? Does a company just grab any female available and say "Here's your seat on our board, have at it!"?
The point of equality of opportunity in hiring, education, politics, whatever it is, is to not reject perfectly qualified candidates because of their race, ethnicity, gender, religion, etc. It is not to set up some sort of Utopian process whereby a specific number or percentage of so-called "oppressed groups" are singled out for special treatment. I don't know about Britain, but I certainly don't think that's what the Constitution of the United States is about.
Wake me up when they start mandating that not only do they need 12% disabled, but the disabled need to represent the percentages of actual disabled people. Doesn't that mean there should be a certain percent of people with Down Syndrome, blind, deaf, paraplegic, quadriplegic, etc.? I mean, if what we're looking for is "representation" wouldn't that stand to reason? How can we pretend that a blind person understands what it's like to have Down Syndrome?
I suppose one could make similar arguments about "ethnic minorities" -- don't we need to represent different minorities fairly? I mean, the experience of someone emigrating from Iran vs. China vs. Uganda have very different experiences and viewpoints, right? Isn't it a bit flattening to simply lump them into "ethnic minorities"?
Diversity is a great strength. The strength of diversity is that it provides the opportunity for different ideas to rub against each other, where each is improved for being exposed to the other's differences. That's the strength of viewpoint diversity. At the core, the idea of percentage representation is bankrupt. You can get viewpoint diversity without any specific percentage of representation, and you can most definitely *fail* to get viewpoint diversity even though you have proportional representation. I wouldn't pretend that viewpoint diversity and identity diversity are uncorrelated, but they are not the same thing. The only way to guarantee viewpoint diversity is to seek it.
There's a fundamental problem of every organization being told that it needs to fix the world. Thus we have professional associations, newsrooms, car manufacturers, labor unions and schools all trying to fix racism, climate change and The Patriarchy.
Okay, for the most part it's just theater, although on occasion people will actually bestir themselves to ruin someone's life. But how can it not diminish the trust people have that their doctors -- as doctors -- are focused tightly on promoting their health; that their journalists -- as journalists -- are focused tightly on informing them of important facts and ideas; that their judges -- as judges -- are focused tightly on administering the law?
Nothing prevents these people from joining organizations -- or creating their own -- that are focused on fixing the world. They are wrong to warp their work to that end.
Just curious...are 12% of UK citizens disabled? Or does it also mean having cancer, etc.
The BBC skewing news to conform to ideology comes as no surprise to a Zionist.