A report from the watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting) points to a lack of diversity at The New York Times Book Review, at least where political books are concerned. After reviewing “politically themed” books reviewed between January 2009 and February 2010, FAIR found that:
In the Times, 95 percent of the U.S. authors of political books were non-Latino whites, a group that makes up 65 percent of the U.S. population. The non-white U.S. authors included three African-Americans, one Asian-American (Bush legal counsel John Yoo) and one Iranian-American. Of the 12 non-U.S. authors in the Times (10 percent of the total), 10 were white British, one was Israeli and one—Tariq Ali—was Pakistani-British.
In the Times Book Review, women made up just 13 percent of the authors of political books and 12 percent of the reviewers.
These figures suggest “an exceedingly narrow view of whose books deserve review—and who is fit to discuss them,” according to FAIR.
Yes, yes, all those white guys. But what about Michiko Kakutani’s stranglehold on Books of the Times? How come nobody’s complaining about that? Except noted white guys Norman Mailer and Jonathan Franzen, we mean.