Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Paula Zahn Redux

Last night, Paula Zahn of CNN revisited the topic of Chinese adoption due the tremendous hue and cry over her deplorable show last Friday. Here’s how she opened the segment:

[ZAHN:]We have been flooded with your e-mails, thousands of them since our segment on Friday about China's plan to tighten restrictions on foreigners adopting children. It's a controversial subject. And we brought it out in the open because of the potentially intolerant rules on who can adopt, only prospective parents who are thin enough, rich enough, and attractive enough.
First of all, I want to say kudos to all who wrote, called and e-mailed CNN after last Friday’s show aired. Our collective voice was heard and Paula had no choice but to do a follow-up. The fact that she acknowledged the tremendous amount of e-mails they received speaks volumes.

I didn’t watch the episode, but I have read the transcript. She invited back Roland Martin and Cenk Uygur from Friday’s show as well as introducing David Youtz, president of Families With Children From China of Greater New York and Ginny Gong, president of the Organization of Chinese Americans. Mr. Youtz and Ms. Gong offered some much needed balance and really should have been part of Friday’s show.

To his credit, Mr. Uygur sounded somewhat contrite in explaining his remarks from Friday night:

UYGUR: On the other hand, was I overbroad in saying that [race] -- implying, in my one sentence, that that was the sole factor? Absolutely.

I was overbroad -- I think overbroad, to the point of being wrong. I think there are a lot of factors involved. I think there are a lot of great people who do adoption for many good reasons. And God bless them for it.
Mr. Martin, on the other hand, still doesn’t get it. Responding to the charge that some of his comments might be construed as racist, here’s what he had to say:

MARTIN: Well, first and foremost, anybody who knows that definition of what being a racist means, having power over someone, that wouldn't apply.
By conveniently using a narrow definition of “racism”, that only those who hold power over another can be racist, Mr. Martin absolves himself of any wrongdoing and gives himself carte blanche to make any statements he wants, no matter how preposterous.

In addressing the so-called “preference” Americans have for Chinese children, here’s what he had to say:

MARTIN: I raised that question because, again, I asked, OK, if there is such demand in America for Chinese children, then what about American children? Now, the guest that you had on the air [Mr. Youtz], you asked him the question about whites adopting African-American children. What did he say? He said, well, that's a personal preference as to how people want to put together their family.
Once again, Mr. Martin fails to grasp the vast differences that exist between international and domestic adoption, as well as failing to address the policy of the National Association of Black Social Workers, who still maintain that black children should only be placed in black families.

Overall, I’m glad Paula Zahn did a follow-up show and on such short notice. I think that’s testimony to the amount of correspondence received in regards to Friday’s show. I can see her need in trying to bring diverse points of view to the table but the bottom line is some of those views are just plain wrong and deserve to be challenged.


Blogger Joanne said...

Very well said. I am also glad that they responded so quickly to our uproar of emails! How could we stay quiet and let Fridays show just "go"!!

9:49 AM  

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