August 9, 2017

CNN’s Baldwin Twice Falsely Claims Google Engineer Wants Women Away From Computers

The establishment press’s failure to properly describe James Damore’s 10-page “Echo Chamber” critique at Google was entirely predictable and pervasive. Brooke Baldwin took it to a new level Tuesday on CNN’s Newsroom show, as she falsely claimed — twice — that the now-fired software engineer doesn’t like women being around computers.

At TheFederalist.com yesterday, Bre Payton identified ten examples of “All The Media Outlets Blatantly Lying About The Google Memo.”

CNN was on Payton’s list for the item written up yesterday at NewsBusters, which involved CNN Money writer Jackie Wattles. Wattles wrote that Damore believes that “women aren’t suited for tech jobs for ‘biological’ reasons,” and refused to back down from that lie even when she couldn’t find any specific evidence to back up her contention. At that point, she held on by falsely claiming that Damore’s belief was “implicit.”

Baldwin kept the smear going at CNN on the network’s Newsroom show in the following clip. By making a comparison to the reportedly ugly situation at Uber, Liz Plank at Vox.com essentially claimed that a workplace environment hostile to women might have emboldened Damore to speak his mind, while Mary Katharine Ham took deep umbrage after Baldwin’s second false statement characterizing Damore’s thoughts about women and computers:

Transcript:

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN: So do you agree — like Mary Katharine, I think, was essentially saying, y’know, America is great for all these various opinions, diversification of thought. You know, that was maybe wrong for Google (to fire him), despite the fact that maybe we don’t all agree with what this guy said, he’s allowed to say it.

Do you think he was allowed to say that — where he’s essentially saying, “Well I don’t really like women anywhere near a computer” — and should he have been fired for it. Liz?

LIZ PLANK, VOX: I find it interesting that he felt comfortable sharing this with people at the company, in the way that I felt that it was interesting, y’know, when stuff came out of the culture at Uber that was, enabled systemic sexual harassment, and the sort of things that I think a lot of men felt like they could say and do were not appropriate.

I do wonder what kind of culture exists at Google that made a white man, who is in a senior position, an engineer at one of the most, one of the biggest tech companies in the world, feel threatened by a few diversity programs — and then want to share that with and write 10 pages about it, and then fear, have it leaked in the way that it had, and think that there would be no consequences.

BALDWIN: But isn’t a piece of this, isn’t a piece of this, Mary Katharine, this is directed to you, where this software engineer, you know, he had hiring power. I mean he could impact the empowerment of women. And again, I go back to paraphrasing, this is a guy who’s basically saying, “I don’t like women around computers” —

MARY KATHARINE HAM: See I totally, I actually, Brooke, I often disagree with you in like a very jovial way, and I just totally disagree with the characterization that that’s what he’s saying.

BALDWIN: Yeah.

HAM: He wasn’t saying that, and that’s why I disagree with the reaction to this. If it were what you were saying, I would be more on board with Liz’s point of view.

But look, I think, we’re saying, look, this is a valuable conversation to have, and I agree. One of the things this person was bringing to the table was that perhaps part of diversity is ideological diversity as well. And ironically, and no one seems to recognize the blinding irony of this, he was saying one of the problems with Google is that we are perhaps in this ideologically insular bubble that is so insular that people like me feel silenced and don’t want to bring our opinions to the forefront.

And then wait a second — in response to that, his dissenting opinion, it was leaked to punish him, and then he was fired for it having been leaked.

Liz Plank’s take that Damore feels “threatened” is valid, but it has nothing to do with her condescending reference to “a few diversity programs,” and everything to do, as noted in his introductory “Reply to public response and misrepresentation,” with how Google’s “culture of shaming and misrepresentation is disrespectful and unaccepting of anyone outside its echo chamber.”

Further, Damore contends, as would any classical economist, that “Discrimination to reach equal representation is unfair, divisive, and bad for business.” Expanding on that thought, and essentially speaking for Google shareholders whose obvious goal is to maximize their returns on investment:

Philosophically, I don’t think we should do arbitrary social engineering of tech just to make it appealing to equal portions of both men and women. For each of these changes, we need principled reasons for why it helps Google; that is, we should be optimizing for Google—with Google’s diversity being a component of that. For example, currently those willing to work extra hours or take extra stress will inevitably get ahead and if we try to change that too much, it may have disastrous consequences. Also, when considering the costs and benefits, we should keep in mind that Google’s funding is finite so its allocation is more zero-sum than is generally acknowledged.

The company appears to have placed “diversity” above “maximizing profits” or “maximizing shareholder value.” If that is indeed the case, it’s a fundamental betrayal of shareholders.

As to Brooke Baldwin, like Jackie Wattles in the NewsBusters post seen yesterday, she apparently won’t concede how wrong she was to smear Damore as she did, and twice. And why not? Apparently, there are no consequences for serial lying at CNN — which is why it so richly deserves to be called “fake news.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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