The New York Times took on the cause of an upcoming Supreme Court ruling by framing the new conservative majority as hostile territory for two school systems that are defending their use of skin color as a determining factor in public school admissions.
The article, Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans, is just what you’d expect from hacktivist reporters who spend just as much time furthering an agenda as they do in reporting out of context and sparsely connected facts. The end result is an article that has little to do with being correct let alone honest.
There are so many conceptual errors in the Times report that a good fix would require a complete rewrite, minus any quotes.
The first item I should point out is the hostility the reporter has toward the “conservative” Supreme Court. This begins at paragraph number two after the intro.
There seemed little prospect that either the Louisville, Ky., or Seattle plans would survive the hostile scrutiny of the court’s new majority. In each system, students are offered a choice of schools but can be denied admission based on their race if enrolling at a particular school would upset the racial balance.
At its most profound, the debate among the justices was over whether measures designed to maintain or achieve integration should be subjected to the same harsh scrutiny to which Brown v. Board of Education subjected the regime of official segregation. In the view of the conservative majority, the answer was yes.
Does anybody expect the rest of this report to be objective after this initial missive? This should be a red flag to everyone that the reporter can’t help but inject personal beliefs into her work. One can only wonder if she felt that the scrutiny was hostile when the court decided the Hamdan case. My guess is no – that sort of scrutiny is fine.
I don’t even know where the reporter is going with the second statement. Am I to believe that cases of alleged discrimination against white families should not be subject to the same harsh scrutiny of segregators in Brown v. Board of Education? Is this purely a conservative concern only to be defended by a conservative court?
Let’s be realistic here. Perhaps I should remind the New York Times that democrats resisted implementing the reforms called for in Brown. It was republicans who repeatedly moved to enforce desegregation efforts when they were blocked by dems. (see social implications, Wikipedia)
Further, Brown has some precedent in this case. The Supreme Court is using Brown for legal precedent whereas the New York Times is using Brown in the very narrow scope of its polarizing affect on those who believe that discrimination is a one way street.
But it is convenient for the New York Times reporters to zero in on the black versus white elements of the case – even when little exists. To frame it any other way, say with facts or with some breath of honest objectivity would be less thought provoking. The New York Times has a stake in framing this case in the manner in which they do because race baiting sells in the narrow minds of liberals who view every test and every rule as one designed to favor whites over blacks.
Yet the Seattle case is one where all non-whites are lumped in one category and whites are lumped in another. In fact the racial makeup is one of which Asian Americans and Latino’s make up a significant portion of the Seattle population; in some areas more so than African American. Thus this is not a simple black and white issue. (petitioner, Seattle)
Other aspects to the Times report are equally as troubling. For instance, framing the Seattle parents as being a corporation that is opposing the city’s 10 high schools.
The other was filed by parents in Seattle who organized as a corporation to oppose the plan there, which applies only to the city’s 10 high schools. A racial “tiebreaker,” used when a high school attracts more students than there are places, intends to keep the schools within 15 percent of the district’s overall makeup, which is 60 percent nonwhite.
This is irrelevant because the corporation is one in name only. They don’t do any business and they don’t make any profit. Yet the Times reporters never miss an opportunity to play the corporation card.
The report is equally troubling for what it leaves out as well as what it puts in. For instance, skin color need not be a determining factor when determining tiebreakers. The system is put together such that tie breakers make up a very small portion of the remaining students. It has been demonstrated that other means such as a lottery or even grades could be used without upsetting the racial breakdown of the schools. This is where Justice Kennedy is focusing. If other means exist and the school board still decided to use skin color then we have a case of discrimination.
The Times also left out the fact that the school board in Seattle rejected other recommendations from school superintendents and others such as those mentioned above. Thus the parents argue that being white is a means test that is discriminatory.
Whenever the Times reporters present news that has a progressive theme you usually can expect to find some hard luck case that supports the thesis of discrimination. Yet these stories are conveniently left out when the shoe is on the other foot. In this case they left out a very easy to find case where two white children would have to commute on city buses for over two hours each way, with three transfers in order to get to and from their destination. Not only is this ludicrous but is was used as one of the factors when the parents objected to the placement.
But you know the deal. Never a hard luck case when you aren’t looking for one.
The rest of the report is equally disturbing. If I were discussing penumbras this would be the place because most of this report focuses on the outer regions of the case and completely misses what is being argued in front of the court. To say this was unintentional would be forgiving. Perhaps we are just dealing with a lack of capacity when it comes to objective journalism.
Whatever the case may be we can see that the New York Times doesn’t appear to have any intention of reporting the news. Permanent status as an activist newsletter fits the bill.
This article is crossposted at Webloggin.