Silencing of dissenting voices on campus has moved to social media giants, with profound implications
The controversy regarding Google (former) employee James Damore may have peaked, but it’s not going away.
Most of the mainstream and tech media coverage has been completely dishonest. As mentioned in my first post about the diversity memo Damore wrote, the media was describing the memo and Damore as being “anti-diversity.” That plainly was false, as I wrote in Google Senior Engineer commits diversity heresy:
A Google Senior Engineer circulated internally at the company a 10-page memo addressing diversity and why there might be an achievement gap between men and women for the tech skills valued by Google. He did not address diversity gaps generally, only in High Tech (which he defined as Software Engineering). So the gap at issue was in Software Engineering, and that’s what his memo addressed.
People went crazy, grossly exaggerating the nature of the memo….
While the memo is being regularly described as “anti-diversity,” a plain reading of the document shows that is not accurate. The Senior Engineer does not question diversity as a goal, but does question the explanations given as to why it is not being achieved in High Tech.
By falsely portraying the memo as anti-diversity, and Damore as anti-woman and anti-gender equality, the media poisons the discussion of the substantive points made by Damore.
The Federalist collected numerous examples of this dishonest media coverage, Here Are All The Media Outlets Blatantly Lying About The Google Memo.
Alexandra DeSanctis at National Review points out many examples
For example, Recode and Gizmodo — both of which republished the memo in full — removed every single one of Damore’s extensive links and graphs, which had provided rigorous data and research to substantiate his argument. There is absolutely no reason for a site to erase that context, other than to vilify the author and make his argument appear less credible.
Gizmodo also gave the memo the fair-and-balanced label “anti-diversity screed,” as did pieces in The Atlantic and HuffPost, Reuters, ABC News, New York magazine, CNBC, USA Today, and The Guardian referred to it as an “anti-diversity memo.” Vox, meanwhile,went a little further, calling it a “sexist screed . . . arguing for less emphasis on gender diversity in the workplace” and describing its publication as an act of “hostility.”
CNN classified the memo as an “anti-diversity manifesto” and tweeted, incorrectly, that it “argues women aren’t suited for tech jobs.” Such an argument didn’t appear once in the memo. Either CNN’s reporters decided to write about the memo without having read it, or they intentionally misrepresented its content.
Here is another example I noticed today, a thoroughly dishonest characterization at Wired:
Motherboard used the false “anti-diversity” language to report that Internal Reactions to Google Employee’s Manifesto Show Anti-Diversity Views Have Support:
“Honestly, more people have been agreeing with it than I would like,” a current Google employee who spoke to Motherboard on the condition of anonymity told us. Motherboard is granting Google employees anonymity because of the company’s notoriously strict confidentiality agreement. The employee said the comments they saw came in internal company email threads.
“From what I’ve seen it’s been a mix of women saying, ‘This is terrible and it’s been distracting me from my work and it shouldn’t be allowed;’ Men and women saying ‘this is horrible but we need to let him have a voice;’ and men saying ‘This is so brave, I agree,'” the employee said.
Meanwhile, there has been notable support for Damore’s analysis of the reasons why discrimination may not be the primary explanation for the gender gap in Software Engineering. Deborah Soh at The Globe and Mail writes, No, the Google manifesto isn’t sexist or anti-diversity. It’s science. Cathy Young at USA Today writes, Googler fired for diversity memo had legit points on gender.
But none of the reasoned discussion has much impact with screaming false headlines and story lines about the “anti-diversity” memo and the anti-equality Google guy.
Where is this going legally? The NY Times reported on Damore’s plan to protect his legal plans:
In a short email exchange on Monday after his firing, Mr. Damore, who was a senior software engineer in Google’s search division, said he had not expected this type of reaction when he shared his missive last week.
“As far as I know, I have a legal right to express my concerns about the terms and conditions of my working environment and to bring up potentially illegal behavior, which is what my document does,” he said. Mr. Damore said he would probably take legal action against the company.
Damore also has given interviews to non-mainstream media. Can you blame him considering how dishonest the mainstream and tech media has been?
This is an edited interview with Jordan Peterson (who has had his own run-ins with political correctness on campus). In the interview, Damore presents himself as speaking out and objecting to illegal racially discriminatory conduct at Google. He notes that his memo was presented to Google in that context because he hoped to improve Google’s conduct. This has all the hallmarks of someone who will claim some sort of protected status:
Tonight brings reports that Damore has filed an NRLB complaint. That’s a curious choice. I’m not familiar enough with NLRB protections, which normally pertain to union or collective bargaining activity, to offer much insight. Gizmodo has the complaint:
The complaint, as filed to NLRB, alleges that Alphabet violated the National Labor Relations Act in the following specific ways:
since on or about august 2, 2017, the above-named employer has interfered with, restrained, and coerced employees in the exercise of rights protected by Section 7 of the Act by threatening employees because of their protected concerted activities and by making threats of unspecified reprisals against employees because of their protected concerted activities,
According to the NLRB website, Section 7 mostly pertains to workers’ right to unionize, and guarantees “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.” A “concerted activity” is described as an activity related to the right workers have to “address work-related issues in many ways.”
I don’t know if this explanation by Gizmodo is correct or not, it just seems curious to me that Damore’s first move was to file with the NLRB. California’s notoriously pro-employee anti-discrimination laws, which protect the right of employees to complain about discrimination without retaliation, would seem to me a more logical legal path.
The media coverage and the legal wrangling involving Damore are important, but to me there’s a bigger point here.
Why do conservatives care about campus totalitarianism? Because it inevitably moves from the campus to corporate America.
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) August 8, 2017
The insanity of the campus long ago migrated to corporations. In part that was a legal strategy, in greater part it’s because a generation of social justice warriors now inhabit positions of power, or at least positions that allow them to demand action from people in positions of power.
That has profound implications for companies like Google, Facebook and others in Silicon Valley who control and have access to enormous amounts of our personal data and communications, and on which we depend to transmit ideas. Already we have numerous complaints about conservatives being silenced on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
Is it really that great a leap to expect that within a decade the people at Google demanding that James Damore be exiled from the company and rendered unhireable will use that power against non-employees?DONATE
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