Tucker Carlson interviewed BuzzFeed’s editor-in-chief Wednesday night. The Fox News host began with the obvious questions regarding the salacious but unverified dossier that BuzzFeed decided to publish.
After a brief back-and-forth, Carlson shifted to BuzzFeed’s racist hiring practices, perhaps something that Smith wasn’t expecting. Carlson pointed to BuzzFeed’s journalistic standards, one of which dealt with activism. Carlson quoted the first sentence, which read, “We firmly believe that for a number of issues, including civil rights, women’s rights, anti-racism, and LGBT equality, there are not two sides.”
Yet Carlson pointed to something BuzzFeed had done fairly recently that seemed to be the “textbook” definition of racism. They wanted to hire a writer, but they didn’t want to hear from you if you were a white male.
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Oh, but that’s not racism. How can it be, since it was barring whites from the job? That’s not racism. According to Ben Smith, he was only trying to be “diverse.” If he were to have barred blacks, that would be racism. Because he was barring people with white skin, that’s called “promoting diversity.” Here’s how that part of the interview went:
Carlson: Recently, a year or so ago, you had an open position for a journalism fellowship. Before you understood that your practices were barred by employment law, you opened it only to journalists of color. You barred people from that job on the basis of the color of their skin. Now, if that’s not the textbook definition of racism, then maybe you can reeducate me as to what racism means.
Smith: We had a journalism fellowship that was aimed at people of color, I think that many…
Carlson: No, but it excluded people who were the wrong color
Smith: Many media companies….
Carlson: I’m asking you about you, not many media companies, you.
Smith: I think that there’s a, and obviously lots of companie try to recruit a diverse workforce, and certainly including News Corp, and BuzzFeed, and many others. There are also very clear legal restrictions around how exactly you can go about recruiting that diverse workforce.
Calrson: You bumped up against those in the end, but you advertised it as… You learned all that. The law stopped you from doing what you tried to do, which was exclude people from the job on the basis of their skin color. I’m asking you a straightforward question – I’m sorry if I’m being humorless about – why is that not textbook racism? I grew up learning that if you exclude people from a job because of the way they look, their skin color, something over which they have no control; racism. Why is that not racist what you did?
Smith: I mean, I understand that there’s like a broad debate over affirmative action, and that conservatives in some cases view it as racism, and I think, I guess I don’t think that recruiting, trying to recruit, bring out a diverse workforce is that. And I don’t really think you think that, either.
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