Given the fundamental dishonesty of almost any discussion of workplace "diversity" and "inclusion" in the leftist media, it was inevitable that someone would grossly mischaracterize the critique written by now ex-Google employee James Damore as an ode to male chauvinism.
CNN has done just that, hysterically and falsely claiming that Damore argued that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons." He did no such thing — and on Twitter, CNNMoney.com writer Jackie Wattles essentially admitted it.
As if to prove that this was Damore's argument, Wattles put one word — "biological" — in quotes. Here are the headline and larger-font opening sentence from her dispatch (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Storm at Google over engineer's anti-diversity manifesto
Google executives have responded to a 3,300-word manifesto written by one of its male engineers that argues women aren't suited for tech jobs for "biological" reasons.
This is a deliberate, irresponsible, and cowardly smear.
There is nothing in the manifesto which supports CNN's claim that Damore believes that "(all) women aren't suited for tech jobs."
Damore's claim is about how "the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women ... may explain" why women and men aren't represented equally "in tech and leadership," and that "biological causes" play a role. Damore specifically refuted CNN's after-the-fact characterization when he wrote that "Many of these differences are small and there’s significant overlap between men and women, so you can’t say anything about an individual given these population level distributions." Heaven forbid that we start treating people as individuals instead of as member of supposedly aggrieved groups.
Damore could hardly have stated matters more plainly (or correctly, as will be seen later in this post).
When confronted on Twitter to back up her contention that Damore wrote that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons," Wattles had no credible response.
When called out for her lack of evidence, Wattles couldn't find any. Instead of admitting to that failure and apologizing, she took the despicable, cowardly route and claimed to be able to read Damore's supposedly evil mind:
So it's "not a direct quote" after all. Her reported contention, as if it's an undisputable fact, that Damore believes that "women aren't suited for tech jobs for 'biological' reasons," is really only "implicit."
Then why did the CNN reporter put "biological" in quotes in her opening sentence?
The default answer would appear to be: To deliberately and irresponsibly smear Damore.
One Twitter user summed things up perfectly: "You're writing front and center front page blurbs based on what you *think* this person is saying? Let me tell you directly: You are wrong."
Wattles is indeed wrong. In separate opinions, four authorities in the related sciences predominantly weighed in on Damore's side at Quillette.com (HT Instapundit; internal links are to their respective faculty pages or bios):
Lee Jussim, professor of social psychology at Rutgers University —
"I cannot speak to the atmosphere at Google, but ... Give(n) that the author gets everything else right, I am pretty confident he is right about that too."
David P. Schmitt, founder and director of the International Sexuality Description Project (ISDP) —
"... should Google use various practices (affirmative action is not just one thing) to especially encourage capable women of joining (and enjoying) the Google workplace? I vote yes. At the same time, should we be able to openly discuss and be informed by some of the real psychological sex differences that might account for variation in men’s and women’s workplace performance? In the right context, I vote yes to that, too." Damore was attempting to "openly discuss ... real psychological sex differences," in a civil tone, and got fired for it.
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychology professor at University of New Mexico —
"For what it’s worth, I think that almost all of the Google memo’s empirical claims are scientifically accurate. Moreover, they are stated quite carefully and dispassionately. Its key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, cultures, and history."
Deborah W. Soh, a Toronto based science writer who has a PhD in sexual neuroscience from the University of York —
"As a woman who’s worked in academia and within STEM, I didn’t find the memo offensive or sexist in the least. I found it to be a well thought out document, asking for greater tolerance for differences in opinion, and treating people as individuals instead of based on group membership. Within the field of neuroscience, sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong. This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at."
Unfortunately, laughing at Jackie Wattles and CNN doesn't suffice in the circumstances. Her article, and the outrageous "How dare he?" CNN video seen at her story's link, demand apologies accompanied by retractions, neither of which we'll likely see in this century.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.