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Byline Inequality Matters


Byline Inequality Matters

Emily Schwartz Greco

Anna Quindlen relayed an eye-opening and hair-raising experience to her readers in 1990.

“A newspaper editor said to me not long ago, with no hint of self-consciousness, ‘I’d love to run your column, but we already run Ellen Goodman,’” the New York Times columnist wrote. “Not only was there a quota; there was a quota of one.”


“Even the most well-meaning white men can’t speak for the rest of us.”

And a big “Hello!!!” goes out to the WE-brigade who insist that the idiom of the white male speaks for one and all universally. As friggin if!

What Ms. Greco defines as: “Because byline inequality matters…” goes MUCH further than the byline itself. It’s about genuine diversity, a society that reflects a wide pool of interests rather than those of paternalistic patriarchs who insist that what they decree is the rule that all others must conform to, agree with, and follow.

It is precisely the limited emphasis that the white male dominant group brings to every current event that forecloses on necessary shifts to the paradigm itself. When the same voices dominate, call the shots, turn their views into mass culture’s collateral, then what Einstein sought to get across becomes moot:

“No problem can be solved from the thinking (or same thinkers) that brought it about.”


Thanks to Ms. Schwartz Greco for bringing this issue to topic here.
During my journalism career I did not experience much gender discrimination, though my opportunities were limited due to the fact I couldn’t afford to finish college for that prerequisite degree,
However, when I was doing songwriting and composition, I found it very difficult to break into the music business because it is male-dominated and they don’t take women seriously - they think of us as only groupies. In the journalism business, especially broadcasting, it hinges a lot on sex appeal. Broadcasting in mainstream media does have a penchant for hiring an inordinate number of women possessing Western attributes. For instance, the on-air duo which often consists of a male of any race, and a sexy blonde.

When I wrote my first-ever editorial for a major city daily, in the reaction it caused, I realized that editors will often include liberal editorials for the purpose of selling more papers due to the overwhelming reactions by conservatives. It brings readership up and it’s good for the ad revenue. They thrive on controversy.
“Liberal” has been made such a pejorative, that mainstream newspapers fear losing readership, especially in the wake of the reactionary onslaught. That’s why I think they don’t want to be identified as a “liberal” outfit if they publish more left-leaning scribes. Right-wing reactionaries are very adept at harnessing the bully pulpit. They have no qualms about smearing, hate campaigns and blacklisting. They are not afraid to get ugly, and it makes them money. That’s why pundits on Fox news and Rush Limbaugh, and their ilk are still in business. I wish this weren’t so.
Personally, I don’t like what I perceive as outright fascism and censorship taking place in this country. Were I strong, healthy and wealthy enough I would leave the United States altogether and practice my trade as a journalist elsewhere.