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2 May, 2019 04:08

US mainstream media worships superficial 'diversity,' but diversity of thought is forbidden

US mainstream media worships superficial 'diversity,' but diversity of thought is forbidden

The mainstream media’s obsession with racial, ethnic, and gender diversity masks its virulent opposition to ideological diversity, which is clearer than ever in the establishment’s reporting on Venezuela.

For all that the left and right wings of the establishment media present themselves as bitter enemies of one another, there is very little diversity of thought in their coverage of American foreign policy. This ideological lockstep they cover up with vaudevillian antics – denouncing President Donald Trump as a racist, misogynist, and other social-justice “don’ts” on one end, while the other side declares Christianity to be under siege by the forces of LGBT, sharia law, and endless tides of migrants. This surface “diversity” – whether they’re for it or against it – is supposed to stand in for the real thing.

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Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) has called the establishment media’s coverage of Venezuela “a full-scale marketing campaign for regime change” after an analysis of every Venezuela story published or aired by the New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CBS, ABC, and PBS in the past three months found that not one journalist expressed support for President Nicolas Maduro’s government – or even opposition to US President Donald Trump’s regime-change intentions.

Cognitive dissonance may set in here – aren’t the Times and the Post Trump’s mortal enemies? Why are they cheering on his puppet, Juan Guaido, as he attempts a slow-motion coup in Caracas? Three of the outlets mentioned in the FAIR report actually gave space to Guaido to make the case for regime change himself, a courtesy that would be unthinkable if extended to Maduro. But this is hardly the first time the “liberal” media has fallen in line behind its sworn enemy.

A FAIR study of the top 100 US newspapers following Trump’s airstrikes on Syria in 2017 found not a single publication had stuck its neck out to suggest that maybe dropping millions of dollars’ worth of bombs as punishment for a “crime” whose culpability had not been established was a bad idea, or even that it contradicted Trump’s campaign promise to disengage from Syria. Indeed, the fawning responses from the mainstream media had only one precedent – 2017’s Syrian airstrikes, when CNN host Fareed Zakaria gushed that Trump “became president” when he lobbed 59 Tomahawks at the province of Homs.

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To distract from the oppressive sameness of all this military-industrial cheerleading, the news is dispensed by talking heads available in a multiplicity of races, ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations. From Rachel Maddow to Malcolm Nance, from Chris Hayes to Anderson Cooper, the same tune echoes from very different-looking mouths. This is harder to pull off in print, but the New York Times managed to earn its diversity merit badge by defending controversial hire Sarah Jeong after her detractors dredged up apparent evidence of her anti-white racism. The military-industrial complex may still be largely an old white men’s club, but its apologists have come to resemble a Benetton ad.

Neoliberal centrist guest-stars itching to weigh in on Venezuela in the past few months hailed from all over the political spectrum as well as the globe in the period FAIR studied, with Cuban-American Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) weighing to call for the Gaddafi treatment for Maduro even as white-bread South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg declared Maduro “illegitimate.” Some prefer sanctions to military intervention; others hesitate to use militaristic rhetoric, but decry the “humanitarian crisis” in the country; all are agreed that Maduro must go.

It’s telling that the media establishment, many of whom are Trump’s sworn enemies, give him a pass when he lies about Venezuela just as they did regarding Syria, even while inventing new permutations of Pinocchios to describe his falsehoods about immigration and other domestic issues. Trump can’t claim immigrants bring crime, but when Trump calls Maduro an “illegitimate dictator,” and Pence claims he “never won the presidency in a free and fair election,” no mainstream journalist is willing to step up with a simple fact-check to point out that the US was the only country that didn't recognize Maduro's 2013 victory.

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The American media establishment will praise diversity to the skies, as long as it’s only skin deep. Ideological diversity – especially concerning matters of war and peace – has become so taboo not a single mainstream American journalist is willing to question US intervention in a country that poses no threat. This is not what a free press looks like.

Helen Buyniski

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.