Have you ever noticed that the “diversity” question comes up only
with conservatives? A case-in-point: A recent ABC “Nightline” interview
by Ted Koppel of George W. Bush, his wife, Dick Cheney and his wife.
Koppel quotes, approvingly, a New York Times columnist who had noted,
critically, that the Bush-Cheney ticket was about “these two
conservative white guys from Yale.” He emphasizes the word “white.”
Koppel continues: “Is there any — when you think about the diversity
of this great country of ours, do the two of you represent any sense of
Veep candidate Cheney takes a stab at the question: “I suppose no two
individual candidates can encapsulate all of the experiences of America.
But, uh, we don’t do bad.” He praises Bush’s “fantastic” record in Texas
regarding the Hispanic and African-American communities. He denies their
ticket is “narrowly based.”
Well, now. For openers, with the exception of Walter Mondale running
with a female vice presidential candidate in 1984, every one of the
major party tickets for the entire history of our country has featured
“two white guys” — though they weren’t all conservatives.
So, obviously, what’s bugging Koppel (a white guy) and the New York
Times columnist he quotes (a white gal), is that Bush and Cheney are
(loosely defined) conservatives.
In addition, when you think about it seriously, Koppel’s question
lacks coherence. What, exactly, does it mean to ask a person, or
persons, if they represent “any sense of diversity”? What, precisely, is
a “sense of diversity”? Is it the same thing as “diversity”?
Are Ted Koppel, and/or his New York Times columnist friend, actually
implying that there is some way for two people, a presidential ticket —
any party’s ticket — to represent every race, creed, color or person of
national origin in our country and what they all believe? Perhaps. But,
if this is what they are suggesting, then they are idiots.
In fact, Koppel should realize the difficulty of trying to be all
things to all people since his own network has had “diversity” problems.
In mid-1987, a spokesman for an ad hoc group of about 40 minority
employees at ABC News said there was “little progress” in minority
status at the network with “all top management … still racially
segregated.” An ABC News vice president admitted there were no
minorities in senior management. To deal with this problem, the head of
ABC News at the time, Roone Arledge, agreed to meet with this minority
caucus and the executive producers of all news programs, including
Koppel’s “Nightline” program.
In the early 1990s, according to the Associated Press, a Federal
judge, Royce C. Lamberth, blasted ABC News in ruling in favor of two
graphic artist employees who claimed they were discriminated against by
the network. The two claimed they were subjected to a “nightmare” of
discrimination including the torching of graphic works in front of
co-workers and derogatory racial comments. These artists said in a
statement: “Racial and sexual discrimination are part of a pattern and
practice at the ABC News bureau in Washington.”
In his ruling, Judge Lamberth said ABC company officials
“deliberately embarked upon an improper activity” by sending a worker to
spy on a meeting of minority employees. Then, in defending against these
employees, ABC submitted conflicting testimony about the incident,
destroyed original copies of a key memorandum about the meeting, and
network attorneys harassed witnesses. He accused ABC of acting in “bad
faith and fraudulent conduct.”
But, as I say, Koppel’s questioning of Bush and Cheney is not really
about “diversity.” It’s about bashing conservatives and trying to show
that in some way these two are racists or sexists or worse because they
don’t, in every respect, represent “any sense of diversity” in this
great country of ours.
I may, however, be wrong here. Perhaps, some day, we’ll see Koppel
asking the head of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People why this group mentions only “colored people” in its
name. Perhaps, some day, we’ll see Koppel asking the head of the
Congressional Black Caucus why they have the words “black caucus” in
their name. To date, though, there have been no such questions.
Why, if Al Gore names a male of his own race as his running mate, we
might even see Ted Koppel badgering Gore regarding why there are two
“white guys” on his ticket. But, of course, this will not happen because
Gore and his “white guy” will be liberals.