You can count on at least one CNN employee to embarrass themselves on a daily basis, but it’s fairly rare that we get a blunder like this one (and usually the culprit is Jim Acosta). On her radio show Tuesday, CNN legal analyst Areva Martin brought her white privilege spiel to bear on the wrong guest – conservative Fox Nation host David Webb.
In their conversation, Webb insisted that it was more important for an employer to consider an applicant’s experience than their race. Martin took exception to that (obvious) point, insisting that there was more to employment than mere qualifications. What about muh affirmative action?!
“I’ve chosen to cross different parts of the media world, done the work so that I’m qualified to be in each one,” Webb explained. “I never considered my color the issue. I considered my qualifications the issue.”
“That’s a whole ‘nother long conversation about white privilege, the things that you have the privilege of doing, that people of color don’t have the privilege of,” said Martin.
Taken aback, Webb replied: “How do I have the privilege of white privilege?”
“David, by virtue of being a white male you have white privilege,” she responded, haughtily.
“Areva, I hate to break it to you, but you should’ve been better prepped. I’m black,” Webb said.
“I stand corrected,” Martin said, realizing that she had just thrown herself into SNL-level absurdity.
Webb chastised Martin for not doing her better research. “That’s actually insulting.”
“It is and I apologize,” Martin said, scrambling. “I was given wrong information.”
There you go, throw your people under the bus. We’re sure they gave you a handout saying that Webb was a white man suffering from all the privileges that go along with that. We’re sure you didn’t simply assume that, given that you were talking to a conservative Fox News contributor.
No doubt, Martin ripped her staff a collective new one after the show was over. Instead of taking her embarrassment out on her employees, though, she should have taken her shame home with her. She should have wallowed in it for a while and used it for some self-reflection. If she’d done so, she might have seen that this exchange was the perfect example of why identity politics is such a toxic, ridiculous stew of idiocy, and why it is a dead-end when it comes to political ideas. Whether Webb was black or white had no substantial impact on his IDEAS, and that’s the point Martin should have come away from the conversation realizing.
We doubt she did, but maybe some of her listeners had a wake-up call of their own.