NYT Reporter Smears 'Racist/Sexist' Memos Like the Google One, Blames Trump

August 9th, 2017 8:53 PM

Google engineer James Damore was fired Monday for his now-famous internal memo questioning left-wing diversity schemes at the company. The New York Times’ Katie Benner, “a technology reporter covering venture capital and startups,” took to Twitter on Monday and called it one of many “racist/sexist” writings from the field, without bothering to point out exactly where the rather mild manifesto, backed by research, was offensive.

Revealingly, the Times liked those tweets so much the paper reprinted them on page 3 on Wednesday in its Spotlight section (not online), called “Additional Reportage and Repartee From Our Journalists.” (The paper’s actual news coverage of the controversy was somewhat calmer.)

The paper introduced the seven “lightly edited tweets” like this:

A Google engineer was fired on Monday for a memo he wrote that made the case that there were fewer women in technical positions because of biological differences, rather than discrimination. Katie Benner, a technology reporter covering venture capital and startups, reflected on discrimination in Silicon Valley on Twitter....

Below are Benner’s original tweets on Damore’s “sexist/racist writings,” in the order they were sent on Monday (highlights in bold):

When I moved to SF about 4 years ago, sexist/racist writings like the Google memo rarely broke through beyond tech into the wider world

So much has changed here in a short period of time re: consciousness about sexism and racism. There was gamergate, Kleiner Perkins, Uber

Each episode building on the next, a sense that systemic issues needed to be addressed. People spoke out on the record, too.

Part of it seems bc tech employees, relatively speaking, have the upperhand in the job market and thus more leverage to speak out.

But a large part of it is also Trump and the wider sense that the country is pushing back against gains made by women and minorities.

I've spoken with many entrepreneurs and employees who say that the election was galvanizing & made them realize they needed to take a stand

They are not able to influence DC, but they influence the ecosystem they inhabit here in the tech industry and startupland

Benner’s reporting is angry and activist in pursuit of sexual harassers in Silicon Valley:

The backlash, however, has quietly begun, with men and women saying the increased scrutiny of investors’ behavior has led to a witch hunt. Bolstered by [Silicon Valley investor Dave] McClure’s resignation and by new stories of harassment, The Times published a follow-up article yesterday, and I intend to continue following the story. I’m guessing my future reporting will continue to take the measure of what is more important in startupland: entrepreneurs and employees, or the reputations of a coterie of powerful men.