Media Flips Out About Google Memo as 'Breathtakingly Sexist,' 'Anti-Diversity'

August 9, 2017

An internal Google memo about the tech giant's diversity practices and the differences between men and women went viral this week and also unleashed a torrent of slanted coverage from prominent media figures.

Now-former Google engineer James Damore penned a memo that delved into Google's diversity practices, the biological differences between men and women, and why men tend to have more stressful jobs. Damore also criticized the "arbitrary social engineering of tech" in an effort to make it appealing to equal groups of men and women.

As The Atlantic noted, Damore's problem was not as much with diversity as with Google's pursuit of that goal.

"I hope it's clear that I'm not saying that diversity is bad, that Google or society is 100% fair, that we shouldn't try to correct for existing biases, or that minorities have the same experience of those in the majority," he wrote.

Yet the memo, which got Damore fired, was widely characterized in the press as a "controversial, anti-diversity memo," an "anti-diversity screed," and an "anti-diversity manifesto."

In one memorable clip on Tuesday, CNN's Brooke Baldwin twice paraphrased the memo as saying, "I don't really like women anywhere near a computer," leading to a bewildered look from conservative panelist Mary Katharine Ham and a swift rebuttal.

CNN anchors called it "sexist," "breathtakingly sexist," and said the author "slammed his female coworkers." CNN's Poppy Harlow was particularly displeased, as noted by The Daily Caller.

"The tech industry has been battling allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment for a long time and now a stunning, disturbing story about what a male engineer at Google wrote about jobs he apparently thinks women are not suited to do," Harlow said. "Why? Biology."

"Seriously," she added at one point in disbelief.

CNN's Erin Burnett could not believe Damore cast aspersions on the idea of the gender wage gap, and MSNBC's Katy Tur, after saying she did not want to "cherry pick," summarized the memo as him "essentially ... saying that there shouldn't be this big effort underway to make sure that the workplace is diverse because women and men just don't have the same set of skills."

Democratic strategist and MSNBC guest Tara Dowdell summarized it as saying, "Women are inferior, and that's why there are not as many women software engineers."

When guest Andrew Ross Sorkin said he disagreed with the memo "profoundly," MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle chimed in, "Heck yeah."