February 22, 2016

The Tribune-Review's Eric Heyl Fails To Disclose Scaife Connections. What A Surprise!

Even after his passing, the Trib is failing to disclose the financial connections between what they report on and their former owner, Richard Mellon Scaife.

Case in point, this interview from this past weekend.  Eric Heyl begins:
Roger Clegg is president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a Virginia think tank devoted to issues of race and ethnicity.
And so on.

What's this "Center for Equal Opportunity" then?

From to their mission statement:
We work to promote a colorblind society, one within which race and skin color are no longer an issue and so accordingly we oppose admission, hiring, and contracting policies that discriminate, sort, or prefer on the basis of race or ethnicity. We oppose racial gerrymandering. We oppose bilingual education, because it segregates students by national origin, encourages identity politics, and fails to teach children English –the single most important skill they can learn and the most important social glue holding our country together. And, whatever one believes to be an acceptable level of immigration, all should agree that those coming to America must become Americans, and this means that assimilation is not a dirty word, but a national necessity.
Let me know how many conservative dog whistles you heard in there.

In any event, wanna know how much the various Scaife foundations (in this case, Sarah Scaife and Allegheny) have given to the organization whose president and general counsel is being interviewed by the Trib's Eric Heyl?

A little over a million dollars, according to the Bridge Project.
  • $995,000 from Sarah Scaife Foundation
  • $75,000 from Allegheny Foundation
Heck the Center for Media and Democracy has this to say about the Center for Equal Opportunity:
Founded by commentator and former Reagan Administration Civil Rights Director Linda Chavez in 1995, the Center's small staff of five employees includes two of Chavez's adult children. Initially and primarily funded with a founding grant from the Olin Foundation, the Center exists largely on grants from the Bradley Foundation, and the Sarah Scaife Foundation.
If you think this isn't a big deal, simply ask yourself, "Would the Center even exist without all that Scaife largess?  And if so, what would it look like?"  Once you plow through those questions, you'll see that Scaife's money was part of the story all along.

And yet Eric Heyl utterly fails to mention this connection in his interview.

Speaking of connections, in this media market there always seems to be a "Pittsburgh connection" to every story in the news.  Take a look at something else Roger Clegg wrote.  This was in the National Review Online:
The National Football League is considering the expansion of the “Rooney Rule” to the hiring of general managers. The rule, now limited to head coaches, requires at least one minority to be interviewed by a team filling a vacancy.

But this is clearly illegal. Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits racial discrimination in private employment, and that’s what this is. The statute covers hiring, of course, and also makes it illegal for an employer to “classify his . . . applicants for employment” in a way that denies equal treatment on the basis of race.

It might be objected that there’s no harm here, since it’s only requiring an additional interview. But suppose the shoe were on the other foot, and the requirement was that at least one white candidate always be interviewed. Would that fly?

And there will be harm. Suppose that a team normally narrows the field to four candidates and then interviews them. If it keeps this rule, then if you’re white candidate number four, you’re out of luck, because now you have to make way for the minority interviewee. Suppose the team decides to interview a fifth candidate instead. Well, the minority coach who was the tenth choice now leapfrogs over white candidates six, seven, eight, and nine — all out of luck because they are the wrong color. And, of course, if the minority candidate is hired, then one of the white finalists — the one who would have gotten the job otherwise — is out of luck, too.
You know what the "Rooney rule" is, don't you?  And where it came from?  ESPN has a good summary:
As the NFL celebrates its ascendant African-American head coaches, somewhere Johnnie Cochran Jr. is smiling.

With the passing of the millennium, O.J. Simpson's defense attorney wondered why there weren't more minority coaches in the league. He and labor law attorney Cyrus Mehri commissioned a comprehensive report that was published in 2002 and detailed a "dismal record of minority hiring."

Although 70 percent of the NFL's players were black, only 28 percent of the assistant coaches and 6 percent of the head coaches were African-Americans.

In 2003, Steelers owner Dan Rooney chaired a committee to study the issue. The result was "The Rooney Rule." Teams were required to interview at least one minority candidate when filling a head coaching position -- or be fined.

"There were some people who said, 'I want to hire whoever I want to hire. You can't be telling us who to hire.' That is your decision," Rooney said. "But we say you must give an opportunity to an African-American or a minority. [Emphasis added.]
I wonder if Eric Heyl asked about that.  And if so, what did that champion of equal opportunity that protector of racial diversity, Roger Clegg, have to say about it?  And if Eric Heyl didn't ask about the Pittsburgh Steeler connection to his interviewee, why the heck not?

On the other hand, considering the Trib and Heyl's interviewee, I can think of about a million reasons why not.

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