Samantha Bee tackled the lack of diversity in journalism on the latest episode of Full Frontal, where the host was joined by a trio of journalists — including Rolling Stone Senior Politics Writer Jamil Smith — to discuss the issue.
“Unfortunately, like most things, there’s a race problem in journalism, and journalists are taking to Twitter to chronicle their experiences,” Bee said.
For the segment, Bee was joined via video chat by Smith, journalist Patrice Peck and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Wesley Lowery.
“This is a moment, a national moment, when black voices are being prioritized and we don’t know, given this country’s history, how long that’s going to last,” Smith told Bee. “I know it sounds a bit cynical, but just look at the history of what black people had to do to get their voices out, creating things that speak to our communities in ways that the traditional press just doesn’t.”
Lowery added, “I think the biggest thing that journalism can do is to hire some black people.”
The segment next looked at how just hiring minority journalists isn’t enough; there need to be hires at the management level as well. “When you don’t have enough women working for you, when you don’t have enough black people or other people of color working for you, you are going to miss a lot during an administration like this,” Smith added.
Bee and her guests then played a game where the journalists had to guess the correct word to replace the euphemisms and “bothsidesism” in major media headlines.
“White newsrooms produce white news and this whiteness manifests itself in many white ways. One way: Euphemisms that make some white people comfortable and people of color not happy,” Bee said before quizzing her guests on the true meaning of the term “racially charged.”
“Whiteness in media is super toxic,” Bee added. “Addressing it is not brain surgery. If you’re spending money on news, try to seek out the work of black and brown journalists, and, for the love of God, stop getting your news from Chuck Todd’s goatee.”