Fusion senior editor Felix Salmon wrote Thursday that only white men can be impartial, and since Fusion chooses to embrace “diversity,” it eschews impartiality.
“Every media company claims to value diversity in its newsroom; most of them also lay claim to some kind of impartiality. Well, I’m sorry, but: This is one of those things where you have to choose. You can have one or the other, but you can’t have both,” Salmon, a former Reuters writer, wrote in the opening of his piece, “Impartiality or diversity. Pick one.”
He said that Fusion, which is owned by Univision, is “defined” by its diversity and that “impartiality, meanwhile, is an ideal whose time has gone.” Salmon then imagined a journalist covering a debate in the British Parliament years ago and writing simply reporting the “facts of the debate” in his article.
“That is not the world we live in,” Salmon wrote. “Today, the personal is political; identity politics is politics. Political stances aren’t just something that we choose to express when we open our mouths in a certain way; they’re a way of living in the world.”
He then described very specific demographics, such as a “Muslim trans man who’s a survivor of sexual assault,” and said that people like this can’t be impartial in political debates of the time. Salmon bemoaned the recent firing of Marketplace’s Lewis Wallace, a transgender man, who was fired after he said that he can’t be neutral.
The Fusion editor said that this policy sends a message to any “genuinely diverse workforce,” that your ideas matter more than your identity, and that that is a bad thing. Salmon said that for non-transgender men “sliding behind a veil of journalistic impartiality is no great hardship for us–in fact, it’s something we have a tendency to quietly congratulate ourselves on.”
“We are safe in our unthreatened identity. For us, being self-effacing is a little bit of a humblebrag: we get to bask in our privilege without calling any particular attention to it,” Salmon said. “For our colleagues who are female, of color, and LGBTQ, however, the calculus is very different. For them, being self-effacing is to deny the fact that their own faces, their own bodies, are politically valent. Impartiality, for anybody but a white man, is literally self-defeating.”
He added, “A news outlet like Fusion, then, can never be impartial. We are proud to be the voice of the resistance, the marginalized, the underrepresented.”
A quick look at Fusion’s site shows that indeed they are not impartial. They refer to Trump’s temporary immigration ban as a “Muslim ban,” and one writer describes President Trump on first reference as “lauded by white nationalists and neo-Nazis.”