During Monday's edition of Wolf, CNN took a break from its wall-to-wall coverage on the Stormy Daniels saga to report that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke feels that "diversity is not important," instead preferring to put "the right person in the right job so that he can get the best people."
Host Wolf Blitzer talked to CNN Reporter Sara Ganim, who conducted this hard-hitting journalism by speaking to “a lot of people” who believe that “the Department of the Interior has long suffered from a lack of diversity, both in race and in gender, and that these kinds of comments are only making women and minorities who work there feel less welcome.”
Blitzer then jumped in: “This isn’t the first time he’s been accused of something along these lines. Coming up with the wrong tone when it comes to these kinds of sensitive issues. Tell us about that.” For Exhibit B in the case against Zinke, Ganim referred to an exchange he had on Capitol Hill with Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI), where he greeted her with “Konichiwa”, Japanese for “good afternoon.” “So, all of this goes back to the same theme that the folks who I spoke to said that this comes across to them as an insensitivity, as a lack of understanding for why diversity is important, because of the different perspectives that it brings.”
The media are the last group of people who should be lecturing anyone on the importance of diversity. Numerous studies of the political preferences of journalists highlight the overwhelming lack of diversity in the national news media, diversity of opinion, that is. One such study found that in the 2004 Presidential Election, “journalists from outside the beltway picked Mr. Kerry 3 to 1, and the ones from Washington favored him 12 to 1.” That’s not very diverse.
While the media and the left love to obsess over diversity when it comes to race and gender, if they really valued diversity and “the different perspectives that it brings,” they would certainly make room for dissenting opinions in their newsrooms. But they don’t. Considering the fact that the overwhelming majority of the media supports the Democratic Party, it should not come as a surprise when nearly everyone in the media parrots the same talking points when it comes to the major issues shaping our national political discourse, including health care, abortion, and immigration.
Academia, held up as another beacon of progressivism, also suffers from a lack of diversity. Professors such as Evergreen State College’s Bret Weinstein, a self-described liberal, and the University of Toronto’s Jordan Peterson have suffered the consequences for expressing “diverse” opinions on race and gender. Professor Weinstein received death threats for daring to oppose “A Day Without White People” on his campus, which asked all white students and faculty to stay home while non-whites could attend events on campus related to race and social justice. Dr. Peterson has faced censorship from YouTube for his views on gender and gender identity.
Blitzer closed the segment by pointing out that Zinke spent part of his Navy SEAL training in Japan and that “he was trying to underscore that when he uttered those words during that congressional testimony, certainly meant no harm as a result.” Blitzer advised Ganim to "continue to work your sources", indicating that the media has quite an appetite for a second helping of this nothing burger.
A transcript is below. Click "expand" to read more:
WOLF BLITZER: There's other news developing over at the U.S. Department of the Interior. I want to go quickly to Sara Ganim, who is getting new information exclusively for CNN. Sara, tell us what you're learning about the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke.
SARA GANIM: Hey there, Wolf. Well, three different high-ranking people inside of three different departments have told CNN essentially the same story, and that’s this, that Secretary Zinke, one of his talking points has been over the last year that diversity is not important, and rather, that he wants the right person in the right job so that he can get the best people. Now, this has upset many people who have heard him say this over the last 12 months or so. A lot of people believe that the Department of the Interior has long suffered from a lack of diversity, both in race and in gender, and that these kinds of comments are only making women and minorities who work there feel less welcome. Now, what the department has said in response to this is that they flat- out deny that he has said it. They're calling it anonymous claims and saying that they're just flat-out untrue. One of the spokeswomen who I spoke to, I think it's important and fair to note she is a woman herself who has worked with Zinke for a number of years going back to his days in Congress. She told me, quote, “I am hopeful that these are the results of a misunderstanding and not a deliberate mistruth”, Wolf.
BLITZER: This isn't the first time he's been accused of something along these lines. Coming up with the wrong tone when it comes to these kinds of sensitive issues. Tell us about that.
GANIM: That's right, it's not the first time he's been accused of something like this. Just about a week ago, he came under quite a bit of fire for greeting a congresswoman, Colleen Hanabusa, from Hawaii, with the greeting Konichiwa, that’s a Japanese greeting and it came after she asked him during a hearing about funding to preserve sites that were once Japanese internment camps during World War II. So, all of this goes back to the same theme that the folks who I spoke to said that this comes across to them as an insensitivity, as a lack of understanding for why diversity is important, because of the different perspectives that it brings. A number of people -- it's become known to us that a number of people have made complaints along these lines to several different departments who are now investigating, and the result of those investigations we may see in the coming weeks -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Yeah. He's made the point that, as a Navy SEAL, he was trained at least in part in Japan and he had a very close relationship with the Japanese. He was trying to underscore that when he uttered those words during that congressional testimony, certainly meant no harm as a result. But I'm sure you're going to continue to work your sources, get more on all of this. Sara, thanks so much for that report.