A CBS News whistleblower revealed that diversity and training officers told newsroom journalists to ignore objectivity and focus on racial issues in their coverage.
Brett Mauser, a former promotions producer at San Antonio’s CBS affiliate KENS 5, released leaked footage of diversity and training officers instructing journalists to brush objectivity aside to Project Veritas, Red State reported. Christina Karaoli Taylor of CKT Cultural Strategies said objective journalism “is not feasible.”
“Much of what we’re gonna talk about today is going to center around the main code of ethics of journalism. And a couple of things during this workshop and throughout your day, I challenge you to stop thinking in terms of objective journalism,” Taylor said. “We’ll discuss why that’s not really feasible anymore.”
“But [think] in terms of accuracy, fairness, and transparency-always striving for objectivity is not feasible,” she continued.
The station’s parent company, Tegna, owns 64 local CBS affiliates across the country, including in San Antonio and Houston, according to Red State. The company has created the new diversity and inclusion standards for its affiliate stations, despite vowing to “serve the greater good” through its “trustful” reporting on its website.
Tegna’s Chief Diversity Officer, Grady Tripp, said the company will judge employees based on their political ideology and will hold stations accountable if they disobey their rulings. He said the company will reflect and prioritize diversity and inclusion into the newsroom’s policies.
KHOU News Anchor Ron Trevino said that it does not matter whether the public trusts his outlet’s reporting. (RELATED: Joe Rogan Calls Brian Stelter A ‘Motherf*cker’ Who’s ‘Supposed To Be A Journalist’)
“I don’t really care if people trust us or not, you still got to do your job,” Trevino said in the footage.
Mauser argued that a journalist’s duty is to ensure that their reporting is trusted by the public. He said that a lack of objectivity turns journalism into “propaganda.”
“That’s always what journalism was, to be objective,” Mauser said. “And in my mind, if journalism is not objective, it’s not journalism, it’s propaganda.”
Mauser told Project Veritas that the company released a poll questioning the journalists to rank whether they consider race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or political affiliation to be the most important trait.
CBS told Project Veritas that the instructions are a “misunderstanding” about the diversity and inclusion training, the outlet reported. The news outlet defended the inclusivity program, saying it makes their employees “stronger.”
“A journalist’s job is to present the truth and report the facts, not cater to opinions. Our inclusivity program makes our journalism stronger, particularly for communities that have not been well-served by our industry,” CBS said in a statement. “We will continue this important work.”