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Local opinion columnists

Bias shows in Ferguson, Silicon Valley reporting

By From page A11 | August 15, 2014

I’ve always resisted the notion that much of the media is so biased that their liberalism shows through.

Of course, I am ever-vigilant for stories, editorials, news reports or headlines that seem to give a pass to “victims’ groups” but not to the so-called power structure. I came across two recent examples, the first in the reporting about the “protests” in Ferguson, Missouri, and the other in commentary about Silicon Valley.

Let’s look at the past six nights in the St. Louis community. There were wild protests in mostly black Ferguson, which included smashing of store windows followed by outright theft of anything the looters could get their hands on.

My gripe is that the brazen criminal activity was supposedly carried out in protest of the killing of a black teenager, Michael Brown. The looters were simply motivated by decades of racism and police brutality, according to reports. Or the protests got out of hand and exploding into window smashing. There are now reports of police being fired upon from the area where the protestors had gathered.

I don’t doubt that some of those who live in the two-thirds black community of Ferguson have experienced perceived racism on the part of the police force, whose roster of 53 officers is 50 white and three “other.” But is it just possible that reporters and opinion writers are putting the cart before the horse? Maybe the killing of the young man was simply an excuse, an opportunity, for the looting.

Yes, fortunately, many other residents of Ferguson, both black and white, condemned what was taking place. But the formula which some politicians and some reporters and “opinionators,” to use a word that former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger might have coined, is injustice equals protests, protests lead to looting, looting is explained by injustice, which is purely circular reasoning.

Now, if you don’t mind this sleight of hand, let’s look at the hot topic of “diversity” in Silicon Valley hiring.

A recent San Francisco Chronicle article was headlined “Most Apple workers are men.” The men are either white or Asian and those not hired are women, blacks and Hispanics. The article does not mention that men, especially Asians, have a stronger academic background than the three “victims” groups.

I’m not overlooking the fact that, on balance, women graduate with better grades than men, but fewer of them have backgrounds in the subjects related to technology and engineering. How can it be that senior management in the tech world would deliberately pass over talented applicants just to keep the right “blend?” Is that what Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Marissa Meyers, current or former chief executives of Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo, two of the most important technology companies in the world, represent?

Then to quote the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the world’s greatest authority on technology, engineering and just about everything else, puts the frosting on the grievance cake.

When Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs created Apple from nothing, was their first obligation to make sure their work force had “diversity,” or to, in effect, change the world while making money for their investors? Technology companies, as with all publicly traded companies, have an obligation to their customers, their shareholders, and to their workforce – not to the artificial goal of having the right “mix” of men, women, whites, Asians, Hispanics and other minorities.

Of course, the makeup of their workforce should be approved by Jesse Jackson.

Bud Stevenson, a retired stockbroker, lives in Fairfield. Reach him at [email protected]

Bud Stevenson

Bud Stevenson


Discussion | 10 comments

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  • rlw895August 15, 2014 - 1:54 am

    As we know from experience here in the Bay Area, looting arising out of protests has to do with thieves gravitating to a place where police are likely to be preoccupied with civil disobedience. It's purely opportunistic criminal activity having nothing to do with the protest otherwise. This is not rocket science. The rioting and looting unfortunately becomes connected to the protest and therefore brings discredit to and diversion of public attention from the issue of the protest. I'm going to wager that the police office in Ferguson committed a crime, but I'm willing to let the investigations play out without protesting. I'd probably feel differently if I was a black person living in Ferguson.

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  • Tax PayerAugust 15, 2014 - 5:32 am

    thanks for stating the truth. If a white male was shot by a black officer would there be so much media attention? Would Obama get on TV to get a photo op on the situation? Asian males and females are highly educated. Their two parents set high standards while they are growing up. The media loves to exploit race as an excuse every time.

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  • UnabashedProgressiveAugust 15, 2014 - 8:19 am

    When a primarily black suburb's protests against the lame response to a tragedy are met with a lily-white police force equipped like a mechanized infantry company, it is not "media exploitation," it is the truth about racism in this faltering republic. Of course, you "Tax Payer" types don't see it that way; you bray on about liberty and governmental abuses unless it's those "other people"---then suddenly it's perfectly acceptable in the name of "law and order."

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  • Danny BuntinAugust 15, 2014 - 5:29 pm

    @UP: Thanks for bringing up the always present hypocrisy, by the life and liberty crew. There are never any civil rights violation by the police, unless it happens to them of course.

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  • CD BrooksAugust 15, 2014 - 6:55 am

    Enough of these BS excuses to burn and loot cities. This is a no-win situation and now they're going to name the officer. The Governor needs to step up and tell the rioters they will be brought to justice. Tell them go ahead, burn your city down so your family and friends have nowhere to go. Then we'll gladly escort you out of town and rebuild. This type of criminal behavior cannot go unpunished regardless of the out come of the investigation. Terrorism on our streets must not be permitted.

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  • rlw895August 15, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Who's making excuses? How about anti-draft riots during the 60s?

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  • JagAugust 15, 2014 - 9:57 am

    CD looks like you took a week off, welcome back sir!!

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  • CD BrooksAugust 15, 2014 - 6:38 pm

    Jag, went whale watching in WA. Thanks!

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  • UnabashedProgressiveAugust 15, 2014 - 8:13 am

    Only you, Stevenson, would take a tragedy like that in Missouri and serve it up in your typical nearsighted nuance. You know as well as anyone that the vast majority of protests were peaceful, and in response to that the heavily militarized police (something you probably yearn for) basically wadded up the Constitution and tossed it in the can. Looters in protest situations, unfortunately, will always be with us, but that's not an excuse for police brutality. Leave to you in your little Captain Whitebread utopia to take the lesser angels and make them the primary issue.

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  • The SugarJarAugust 15, 2014 - 9:27 am

    Bias in the column. I think it's called playing the race denial card.

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