Liberals and Democrats in the “mainstream media” spend most of their time criticizing Republican President Donald Trump, but that doesn’t mean they won’t hammer away at each other if they feel they’ve been slighted, even at an event aimed at the political left.
That was the case on Thursday when New York Times reporter Sopan Deb tweeted a complaint that almost all of the 61 speakers at Politico's Pro Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., that day contained “a pretty startling lack of minorities.”
“From my count,” he continued, “only one person of color. It's possible I missed some, so feel free to correct me.”
As proof of his assertion, Deb linked to a page featuring information and pictures of every speaker at what Politico called “the most important policy event of the year,” ranging from Dmitri Alperovitch -- co-founder of CrowdStrike, Inc. -- to George Whitesides -- chief executive officer of Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company.
Meanwhile, one person responded to Deb’s post by stating: “They did manage to book about 84% of the shades of white.”
Paul Richard turned up the heat a bit further by posting: “When I'm looking for people with smart, worthwhile political opinions, the first criteria I check is the melanin content of their skin.”
“Unlike you,” Willing to Discuss asserted, “I assume that those qualities exist in folks that also have melanin.”
“How much melanin is acceptable?” asked Katye Branch Hanley, who apparently didn’t understand that Richard’s comment was meant to be taken sarcastically.
“There is no acceptable/unacceptable amount,” Richard responded. “A lot. A little. I don't care. It has nothing to do with the value of that person's opinions.”
Hanley replied: “I agree. Thank you for putting my mind at ease.”
“I just don't think that the people who organized this event should feel obligated to represent all levels,” Richard noted further.
“It's not the melanin content of the skin, it's the perspective that living in that skin provides,” a poster named Alathena stated. “That perspective is smart and worthwhile.”
Richard replied: “This a valid point worth discussing. Thanks for the reasonable reply, I was not expecting any."
According to the event’s website:
Navigating Washington in a moment of high-stakes change demands the best intelligence. … The Politico Pro Policy Summit will bring together key players from the executive branch, federal agencies and Congress -- as well as key innovators whose technologies are driving large-scale policy shifts.
Through a series of large sessions and intimate conversations, attendees will hear directly from decision-makers who are transforming the way Washington works.
“This all-day program includes deep-dive conversations on key policy topics -- and incisive interviews that explore the big trends that are driving long-term strategies -- both inside and outside of government,” the site added.
“Our Politico Pro journalists are the best-sourced and most wired policy journalists in Washington,” the website continued. “Understanding the complex interplay between politics and policy is at the forefront of Politico Pro’s mission.”
“With one of the largest rosters of policy reporters in the country, Politico Pro is well-positioned to keep organizations who are driving the future of policy making up to date as priorities change,” the text asserted.
“This event is exclusive to Pro subscribers across our 16 policy coverage areas who will have multiple opportunities to hear from and network with newsmakers, journalists and other policy influencers,” the site continued.
Next, the website claimed the summit is “an extension of Politico’s journalism; every session is carefully curated by our journalists to help policy professionals map the shifting forces affecting key policy verticals as they navigate the road ahead.”
Politico didn’t have to look far to find several speakers since many of them were from the company’s staff, including White House reporter Nancy Cook, Editor Carrie Budoff-Brown and Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder John Harris.
Among the event’s sponsors were the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Prudential Financial and the Pfizer company.
Over the next few hours, other posters chimed in on the issue.
Jugger Knot claimed the problem “sort of fits with Politico’s reputation, no?” while Magdalene17 added fuel to the fire by noting: "Not only that ... but really really white ... check the names ... starkly European.”
Finally, Patrick Matthews gave the event “big thumbs down on the lack of PoC (Political Cprrectness) among speakers” although they “did do a pretty good job of getting female speakers,’ and Rick Woollams summed up the problem by claiming that the event’s lack of diversity was “mighty white of them.”