Sunday, June 9, 2013

Media Fail: Obama "Diversity Problem" Edition

Back in December, the media was up in arms about a photograph taken in the White House of the President with a clutch of advisors. [1] Ordinarily, such a photo would be unexceptional, but because there were no women in the picture (the leg of longtime female advisor Valerie Jarrett was the closest the photo came to revealing a female figure) and the natural transition of first term Cabinet members seemed to include a lot of women and minority leaders with some of their replacements either unselected or being white men; suddenly, the President had a "diversity" problem. [2]

The story had a few days life and then, the media, as is their wont, moved on - the fiscal cliff, Sandy Hook, the Inauguration and on and on caused this story to fall into the memory hole of faux outrage and opprobrium quickly forgotten. Funny thing though. The story ended up being complete and utter bullshit, but few journalists circled back to follow up or admit their reporting was lazy and bogus. 

Since this tempest in a teapot sprang to life, the President has nominated women to lead the Departments of Commerce (Penny Pritzker) and Interior (Sally Jewell), appointed the first woman to lead the Office of Management and Budget (Sylvia Matthews-Burwell), named a woman as his National Security Advisor (Susan Rice), appointed a woman to replace Ms. Rice as U.N. Ambassador (Samantha Power) and picked a woman to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (Gina McCarthy). On top of these cabinet appointments, the President just nominated two women (Patricia Millett and Nina Pillard) to serve on the highly influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and two others (Patty Shwartz and Jane Louise Kelly) were recently confirmed to appellate court seats on the 3rd and 8th Circuits, respectively. 

In addition to these selections, the President selected a Latino male to lead the Department of Labor (Tom Perez), an African-American male to lead the Department of Transportation (Anthony Foxx) and appointed a Republican to lead the Department of Defense (Chuck Hagel). At the same time the President selected Ms. Millett and Ms. Pillars to serve on the D.C. Circuit, he also tapped Robert Wilkins, an African-American, to serve as well and if they are confirmed, they will join that court's first Indian-American jurist, Sri Srinivasan, who, incidentally, cut his teeth in government serving in the George W. Bush Justice Department. 

If you are scoring at home, that's a whole heaping helping of "diversity" that the media has largely ignored. Worse than failing to acknowledge its failure, few journalists, now that Obama has made these selections, have focused on the unprecedented level of obstruction some have seen in the U.S. Senate. Ms. McCarthy was sent a questionnaire by Senator David Vitter (yes, THAT Senator Vitter. Google his name along with the word "prostitute" if you need to learn more about him) that asked her to respond to nearly 1,100 queries. [3] Hagel was filibustered (the first time that ever happened to a DoD nominee) and Susan Rice's name was smeared in the wake of an attack on our consulate in Benghazi for appearing on talk shows and echoing talking points provided to her about something she had nothing to do with. The appropriateness of the President selecting all three D.C. Circuit nominees has been questioned by Republicans, with some threatening to block their appointments [4] and a similar threat has been levied against Mr. Perez. [5] 

That the collective media reaction to all of the obstruction has largely been a collective yawn is to be expected, GOP obstruction is so de rigueur at this point that few bigfoot media types spill any ink focusing on it, but it would at least be nice if they admitted the fallaciousness of their reporting on a lack of diversity in Obama's second term. Of course, to do so would require that they admit fault, so I am not holding my breath for a mea culpa. 


2. Representative examples include:,, Suffice to say, one could go on and on thanks to the magic of the Internet. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this...but I wonder what you think about the fact (okay, my opinion) that NEITHER party seems to care about the BIG issues that torment our world?