Marc Rosenwasser is a 40-year veteran journalist who has worked for The Associated Press, ABC News, NBC News, CBS News and PBS. Based from his vantage point, he sees the need for a form of affirmative action in America's newsrooms to help make reporting fair and balanced.
He explains at TVNewser just how this thought crept in his mind: by seeing the political musings of colleagues on social media. More specifically, their one-sidedness:
[T]hese days, I do regularly visit Facebook. And what I read there troubles me.
Because during this political season, a number of my FB friends regularly comment on the presidential election. And when they do, they routinely mock the Republican candidates, particularly Donald Trump. They portray him as a buffoon and all of his millions of supporters as ignorant yahoos, or, worse, haters.
Who really cares what my FB friends think? Nobody. Except for this: many of my pals are either former journalists, now free to publicly share their personal opinions, or still-practicing journalists, who aren’t free to do so (or shouldn’t be) but do anyway. And though the electorate is deeply divided, most of these journalists seem to come down on the same side of the political spectrum every time.
And what spectrum is that exactly? "Overwhelmingly progressive, politically and culturally," Rosenwasser writes. Much like The New York Times has admitted to, he adds.
Rosenwasser, who stressed he doesn't support Trump, claims to practice agnosticism in "practically all matters" but believes modern journalists are failing in this regard:
It seems to me that unless we are employed as op-ed columnists, our fundamental role as journalists is to investigate, to inform, to explain, to challenge everyone about everything without favor or bias — but not to opine about the news. I am uncomfortable about how comfortable my fellow journalists, active and retired, now seem to be posting their views. Their posts confirm the worst suspicions of those who believe journalists in the mainstream media have some sort of political agenda to advance when we show up for work.
Though Rosenwasser admits (despite the evidence to the contrary) that there is no "liberal conspiracy" in newsrooms, he has noticed they lack the concept of achieving "accuracy and fairness first."
"I’m sure newsrooms would become more ideologically diverse, if the major networks or major newspapers moved their headquarters from New York to Dallas or rural Kentucky or Salt Lake City," he states. "But until that happens, and as long as many young journalists are being hired out of the nation’s most elite (and liberal) colleges, chances are that the newsroom mix won’t change."
So what does he suggest? An affirmative action program, not unlike those purported to help blacks and Hispanics in the country. "Maybe we should also extend a helping hand to other underrepresented groups in the national media," Rosenwasser proposes.
Here are some of his suggestions:
Why not actively recruit evangelical Christian students?
Know many people in the national media who fit that description?
Or who hunt?
Let’s also extend affirmative action in the newsroom to white students from working class or poorer backgrounds, who might be attending community colleges or state schools rather than Ivy League institutions.
Having them around in our newsrooms might help sensitize us to their struggles and fears.
Roswenwasser concludes his argument:
The point is that too many of us come from similar backgrounds, have the same orientation, and hold similar world views. We need newsrooms where people of all backgrounds with every perspective are represented. That will help us understand — and better explain — the complexities of the nation and the world that we cover.