Make way for the wingnuts!

Fabulous politi-feminist blogger Echidne of the Snakes reported today about a memo posted by Bill Keller, New York Times' executive editor, on NYTimes.com.

In the memo, Keller articulates his plan to "diversify" the paper -- not in the usual, helpful ways, like hiring more women or people of color. Nope -- Keller wants to diversify the political viewpoints of the newspaper's staff, as well as those they cover.

Keller writes that his aim is "to stretch beyond our predominantly urban, culturally liberal orientation, to cover the full range of our national conversation... It is part of our professional code that we keep our political views out of the paper....We want a range of experience...We will make an extra effort to focus on diversity of religious upbringing and military experience, of region and class."

Wait. Huh? "Religious upbringing and military experience?" What the hell does that have to do with diversity?

If the Grey Lady is really oh-so-serious about branching out, how about -- as Echidne suggests -- hiring a few women columnists? How about actively seeking out female op-eds? And what about female cartoonists, of which there are frighteningly few?

I thought the Times was a newspaper -- y'know, one of those things that covers, um, NEWS. I doubt if most of its readers give a rat's bum about which Times reporters have served in the military, or who's from Kansas vs. Connecticut.

If Keller honestly thinks the NY Times needs to remedy its reputation as some sort of bastion of liberal thought, he's gone off the deep end. Boycott? Anyone?

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