Cover image for Coloring the news : how crusading for diversity has corrupted American journalism
Coloring the news : how crusading for diversity has corrupted American journalism
McGowan, William, 1956-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Francisco : Encounter Books, [2001]

Physical Description:
278 pages ; 24 cm
Overview -- Race issues -- Gay and feminist issues -- Reporting by the numbers -- Immigration -- Reasons why -- Consequences.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN4888.M56 M39 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Reveals how good intentions have constricted journalism within a narrow multicultural orthodoxy.

Author Notes

William McGowan has reported for Newsweek and the BBC and has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Columbia Journalism Review and other national publications. A regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal, he has been a fellow at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center and is currently a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He lives in New York City

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Diversity seemed like a good idea originally, but media critic McGowan says the campaign to ensure minority access and participation in the institutions of a democratic society, hasn't worked out well for American journalism. McGowan presents specific cases from leading newspapers and TV network news coverage to argue that major media stories on race issues, gay and feminist issues, and immigration, as well as stories interpreting statistics, are written to reinforce the so-called politically correct ideology of writers, editors, and presenters. Not only is bias written into such reportage, it is characteristic that when conflicting facts come to light, falsifying or complicating the original stories, the contradicted newspaper "buries" the new information on an inside page, reports it cursorily, or ignores it. The worst damage done by this bias, McGowan maintains, is to the media themselves, as news readers and viewers, failing to recognize the world the media present as true, stop reading and watching and turn to such alternatives as conservative talk radio--"arguably the Frankenstein monster created by the PC press," McGowan says. Particular media McGowan critiques include ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS/NPR, and among newspapers, especially the Los Angeles Times (scarily negligent on illegal immigration problems), the Washington Post, and, above all, the New York Times. This cogent, nonrhetorical, nonpartisan book should be required reading for anyone concerned about media bias. --Ray Olson

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a book likely to spark controversy, and with the relentlessness of a prosecutor, McGowan (Only Man Is Vile: The Tragedy of Sri Lanka), a fellow at the conservative Manhattan Institute, presents case after case in which, he contends, reporters and editors got stories wrong or ignored topics worthy of coverage because of their liberal ideologies and their fear of offending African-Americans, gays or feminists. (In many cases, he says, the journalists later admitted their own timidity.) Both in hiring practices and story coverage, multicultural journalism is "oversimplifying complicated issues" and "undermining the spirit of public cooperation and trust," McGowan writes. On race, he points to what he calls "soft" coverage of Washington, D.C., mayor Marion Barry and Rev. Louis Farrakhan's Million Man March. But some of his arguments are inflammatory. Lumping "Gay and Feminist Issues" together in one chapter, he compares the coverage of the Matthew Shepard murder and that of another murder by two gay pedophiles in light of what he calls "the sanctity of the gays-as-victims script." McGowan also cites biases in reporting on the abortion issue, attributing them to the fact that over 80% of journalists surveyed say they are pro-choice. Detractors will note that journalists rarely cover issues without biases, and that it's unlikely that journalists of the past covered most causes including the 1960s struggle for civil rights that McGowan holds up as a model for race relations in the United States with the objectivity he trumpets. Skeptics of multiculturalism will love this book, and lefties will love to hate it. (Nov. 15) Forecast: Encounter Books knows how to reach its conservative audience. More generally, this will generate controversy among media mavens. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

McGowan, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contends that the drive for diversity in the newsroom has resulted in shoddy journalism. He has compiled an impressive array of anecdotal evidence, but his litany of journalistic negligence includes such questionable examples as the promotion of safe sex for everyone (not just gay males) and use of the term anti-abortion instead of pro-life. Claiming that news outlets are so out of touch with mainstream thought as to have alienated most people (he blames pro-diversity reporting for the rise of talk radio), McGowan betrays his own ideology when he refers to the "outdated paradigm of white oppression" and repeatedly uses the value-laden term illegitimacy for out-of-wedlock births. News reporting has always reflected the opinions of those who produce it; a more illuminating study would have delved deeper into the reasons for the predominance of liberal views. Still, the points raised about the dangers of ethnic and cultural cheerleading in the newsroom make this an important book for journalism collections. Susan M. Colowick, North Olympic Lib. Syst., Port Angeles, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. 1
1 Overviewp. 9
2 Race Issuesp. 36
3 Gay and Feminist Issuesp. 95
4 Reporting by the Numbersp. 144
5 Immigrationp. 179
6 Reasons Whyp. 218
7 Consequencesp. 239
Acknowledgmentsp. 250
Notesp. 251
Indexp. 269