Because the conspiracy of silence is deafening.
One week ago, I published an article about the role of Big Tech Media in the Diversity Debate. The crux of the post could be summarized thus:
- Big Tech Media has rightfully played an influential role in holding Big Tech companies and Venture Capitalists accountable for their lack of racial diversity;
- However, although Big Tech Media has an oversized impact in influencing diversity in tech, Big Tech Media itself is anything but racially diverse.
I released the first diversity report of 5 Big Tech Media organizations to back up my claim.
You should read it if you haven’t
The Conspiracy of Silence
I completed my post on June 19th, and for over 2 weeks, I couldn’t get any of the 22 media companies I contacted (see Appendix) to publish it. Understandably so: you don’t expect one to give you their platform to criticize themselves or friends.
On Monday, July 6th, I published the post, and the response from the public was bonkers. Thousands of tweets, replies and spending quite sometime on the front page of Hackernews. I had experienced nothing like it (although I prepared by setting up CloudFlare). Left and right, people from Lagos to London to Silicon Valley were engaging on Twitter. It felt good, and I thought to myself “thankfully, this won’t end up like my similar post of 2015 which sunk haplessly like the Bloomberg Presidential Campaign”.
I waited for responses from tech media publications… 1, 2, 3 …7 hours and nothing. I went to bed as it was long past midnight here in Lagos, Nigeria.
The next day, the report got its first Big Tech Media acknowledgement from Jessica Lessin of The Information:
Then almost 24 hours after my post Matthew Panzarino of Techcrunch replied:
Later, I heard from Kara Swisher:
Do you notice anything?
Well, they follow the same template: disparage my data then mumble something about “we can do better”.
Is there a WhatsApp or Signal group where they coordinated their responses? Are they colluding against accountability? I don’t know. What I do know is this:
“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action”Auric Goldfinger (in Ian Fleming’s novel, Goldfinger)
Until now (over ONE WEEK later), I am yet to receive any correction of data or an appropriate response to the points my post raised. I trust my data on the Diversity of Big Tech Media, which is why I linked to the source.
Allyson Shontell of Business Insider and David Pierce of Protocol are yet to even acknowledge the post.
When these journalists and publications publish their own Diversity Reports of various companies and sectors, those reports are acknowledged. Why is this different?
When these accomplished journalists try to hold those they deem powerful to account, like Facebook’s Zuckerberg, Twitter’s Dorsey, Amazon’s Bezos, Tesla’s Musk, Google, Apple, etc., would they accept a response of coordinated silence from them? I don’t think so. Neither would I, as I keep trying to hold them to account.
Where Are the Other Media Houses and Journalists?
Even though I reached out to other media houses, I still have not seen them make any comment, or report on what surely, is newsworthy. Interestingly, Axios published a diversity report on sports media on the same day as mine. However, the response to that report hasn’t been silence.
From the New York Times to Washington Post, Wired to Bloomberg, etc. There has been total silence. This is unusual, as even routine diversity reports and social media memes are deemed newsworthy by these institutions. So I don’t get the total silence about a report on the Media.
What is going on?!
Speaking truth to the Power, that Speaks Truth to Power
Ironically, the protests from the George Floyd execution that led to this round of diversity debate were about holding the police who are an institution that holds the society to account, to account.
To my naïve mind, the media are the police force of conscience. The journalists, the police. Here are my questions:
- Who holds the media and journalists to account?
- Are the media and journalists above reproach?
- Are the media and journalists exempt from accountability?
- If no one, is this right?
I expect full coverage of the points I raised in my previous post, and I am available to be contacted and to speak on the record ([email protected] / @OoTheNigerian).
I know how it may seem to these powerful media companies: “Who does this unknown African living in Nigeria think he is, to believe we should be accountable to him?” Well, it is not about me, it is about the truth.
We rely on the media; they are very critical to our freedom everywhere. It is why they have special protection, have certain privileges and recognition globally. But like my dad tells me, every right implies a responsibility.
The media should live up to their responsibility and shine the torch of accountability on everyone, even if they have to shine it on themselves.
I contacted the following media companies for the 2 weeks before and after I published my previous post, and will do so again after I publish this.