Why our media lies to us: Data analyst at Reuters fired for telling truth

Why our media lies to us: Data analyst at Reuters fired for telling truth. By Zac Kreigman.

I had been at Thomson Reuters for over six years — most recently, leading a team of data scientists applying new machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to our legal, tax and news data. … My total annual compensation package exceeded $350,000.

In 2020, I started to witness the spread of a new ideology inside the company. On our internal collaboration platform, the Hub, people would post about “the self-indulgent tears of white women” and the danger of “White Privilege glasses.” They’d share articles with titles like “Seeing White,” “Habits of Whiteness” and “How to Be a Better White Person.” There was fervent and vocal support for Black Lives Matter at every level of the company. No one challenged the racial essentialism or the groupthink.

This concerned me. I had been following the academic research on BLM for years, and I had come to the conclusion that the claim upon which the whole movement rested — that police more readily shoot black people — was false.

The data was unequivocal. It showed that, if anything, police were slightly less likely to use lethal force against black suspects than white ones. ...

Unfortunately, because the BLM narrative was now conventional wisdom, police departments, under intense scrutiny from left-wing politicians and activists, scaled back patrols in dangerous neighborhoods filled with vulnerable black residents. This led to soaring violence in many communities and thousands of needless deaths — otherwise known as the Ferguson Effect.

For many months I stayed silent. I continued to read Reuters’ reporting on the movement, and started to see how the company’s misguided worldview about policing and racism was distorting the way we were reporting news stories to the public.

Reuters went from lying by omission to lying outright:

A pattern was starting to emerge: Reporters and editors would omit key details that undermined the BLM narrative. More important than reporting accurately was upholding — nurturing — that storyline.

At some point, the organization went from ignoring key facts to just reporting lies. When Donald Trump declared, in July 2020, that the police kill more white than black people—this is true—Reuters, in its dispatch, repeated the false claim that blacks “are shot at a disproportionate rate.” …

What’s an honest lefty to do?

All this left me deeply unsettled: It was bad for Reuters, which was supposed to be objective and withhold judgment. It was bad for our readers, who were being misinformed. And it was bad for black people in rough neighborhoods, where local officials, prompted to take action by reporting like ours and the public outcry it triggered, were doing things like defunding the police. …

I started writing a post about the disconnect between what we thought was true and what was actually happening. …

I noted that a growing number of criminologists … now believed that the false rhetoric around police bias had played a key role in the recent spike in violent crime. This suggested that the BLM lie had led to the murder of thousands of black people.

To drive home my point, I included this striking statistic: On an average year, 18 unarmed black people and 26 unarmed white people are shot by police. By contrast, roughly 10,000 black people are murdered annually by criminals in their own neighborhoods. …

Ha ha ha. This is so like climate change, and probably every other left wing fantasy. Been there, done that.

Within an hour or two, the moderators had taken down my post. ...

The next week, there was another meeting — this time with H.R. and Diversity and Inclusion. I wanted to know what I had to change in my post to make it acceptable. They suggested scrubbing all instances of the term “systemic racism,” to start.

So I did that, and the piece was reinstated. I was relieved. Such discussion about facts and statistics had to be permitted. It was impossible to report the news accurately if employees were not allowed to have internal, sometimes heated discussions about pretty much anything.

Then the comments started rolling in. A handful of BLM supporters, all of them white, said that, as a white person, I had no place criticizing BLM. They called my review of the academic literature “whitesplaining” (failing to note that many of the academics I cited were black). I was publicly derided as a “troll,” “confused,” “laughable,” and “not worth engaging with or even attempting to have an intelligent conversation” with. One colleague said: “I do not believe that there is any point in trying to engage in a blow-by-blow refutation of your argument, and I will not do so. My unwillingness to do so doesn’t signal the strength of your argument. If someone says, ‘The KKK did lots of good things for the community — prove me wrong,’ I’m not obligated to do so.”

Notably absent from the attacks directed at me was even a single substantive challenge to the facts I was citing.

It was insulting and painful. Not a single executive, no one in H.R., no one in Diversity and Inclusion, condemned any of the public attacks on me. They were silent. I’m not surprised no one came to my defense. Who would take that kind of a risk? It became very clear very fast that my public takedown was intended to ensure that there would be no discussion around BLM or the question of police brutality and race.

After enduring waves of abuse, I emailed H.R. to express my concern about these attacks on me and their chilling effect. They responded by removing my post — and shutting down the conversation. I was told that, if I discussed my experience on any internal company communications channel, I would be fired.

You don’t belong on that ship of liars:

I was distraught.  Here I was trying to bring the company’s attention to how we were spreading lies that were contributing to the murders of thousands of black people, and I was compared to a Klansman sympathizer, and forbidden by the company to discuss any of it.

I had little doubt about the sincerity of H.R.’s threat to fire me. But I still had a faint hope that the company’s senior leadership would right the ship if I could only make them aware of the matter. Regardless, given the way the internal conversation had ended, I didn’t see a tenable way to continue working at the company without some sort of resolution.

So, I sent an email to colleagues and company leadership, again expressing concern about how the attacks against me had successfully shut down any productive conversation and left my reputation in tatters.

So they kicked you off:

The next day, H.R. called me to say that my access to all company computer and communications systems had been revoked.

Three days later, on June 8, 2021, I was fired.

Red pilled, too late:

A decade ago, my experience at Thomson Reuters would have been unthinkable. Most Americans probably think it’s still unthinkable. That’s what makes it so dangerous.

Most of us don’t understand how deeply compromised our news sources have become. Most of us have no idea that we are suffused with fictions and half-truths that sound sort of believable and are shielded from scrutiny by people whose job is to challenge them. This is true, above all, of my fellow liberals, who assume that only Republicans complain about the mainstream media. …

Reuters’ lefty lies kill:

Thousands of black Americans are dead, in part because too many people are still unaware of basic facts about policing since their trusted news sources meticulously obscure the truth.

I wonder if he realizes yet that the 2020 US election wasn’t on the up-and-up yet?