Fox News is helping its readers understand terribly confusing tech terms like “social network,” “open source”… and “LGBT”?
While perusing this morning’s tech news, we came across a story in Fox News’ business section called, “Popular Tech Terms, Decoded ; -).” Equal parts intrigued and reviled by the use of such a creepy smiley face in a headline, we had to click the link. What we uncovered was, quite frankly, even more perplexing.
In the article, columnist Steve Tobak attempts to explain a series of tech jargon to Fox News readers.
“There are times when jargon or labels can obfuscate the real meaning behind the words,” he writes in his introduction. “We see that quite a bit these days, especially in technology circles. And while I wish to have no say in how, why, or when anyone uses these terms, I do think it will help if people actually understood what they really mean.”
Scrolling down Mr. Tobak’s list, we saw the kinds of words we’d expect to be in an article explaining the Internet to older, more conservative readers. “Selfie,” “user-generated content” and “Bitcoin” all made the list. Nothing new to see here, though we couldn’t help but notice the condescending, close-minded tone in Mr. Tobak’s definitions. He calls selfies “a desperate attempt to get attention” for a person with “a black hole where his self-esteem and self-confidence could be.” Okay, Gramps.
With our eyes glazed over, we kept scrolling — but the last term on the list made us do a double-take: LGBT.
Here’s how Mr. Tobak defines the term:
“The new M/F/H, except gender and disability equality have been replaced by more information on sexuality than any employer needs or wants to know. (When I graduated college in ‘79, all the job ads said ‘EOE M/F/H.’ I racked my brain for hours trying to figure out what ‘H’ stood for, but all I could come up with was “hermaphrodite.” My friends thought I was an idiot. Turns out, I was way ahead of my time. True story, NK.)”
It’s bad enough that he’s puzzled by employers’ practice of notifying minorities (M), females (F) and the handicapped (H) that they would feel accepted at the workplace. He also apparently finds his misinterpretation of the acronym to be hilarious, rather than mortifying. We bet we know how he feels about affirmative action, too.
Now, we get that Mr. Tobak isn’t actually defining the meaning of the acronym “LGBT” — and thank goodness for that, because it’s 2014 and NOBODY in America has an excuse for not knowing what “LGBT” means. Rather, he’s explaining the use of the term in the context of a job listing.
Still, it’s problematic. Mr. Tobak is essentially remarking on how c-c-craaaazy it is that employers are openly expressing their commitment to hiring people of all sexual orientations, as if it’s a bad thing. He’s reinforcing the damaging, close-minded mentality of, “I’m fine if you’re gay, I just don’t want you to rub it in my face.”
But that’s not all. He’s also implicitly saying to Fox News readers that it’s okay if they’re not up to speed with the “obfuscat[ing]” jargon of today’s liberal youths, who’re bent on upholding the tenets of political correctness, and that he’ll be right there holding his readers’ hands as they work through all these positively bizarre definitions together.
Listen, Mr. Tobak. If employers are writing “LGBT” on their job listings, it’s not necessarily because they want to seem cool, hip and progressive — it’s probably just because they’re normal humans who know that an employee’s sexual orientation has no bearing on how well they perform a job.
Finally, even if he is referring to “LGBT” in the context of a job listing, why is it included on a list of “Tech Terms”? Surely jobs in the restaurant, fashion or finance industries are also accepting of LGBT employees, are they not? We can’t help but feel that Mr. Tobak had a nagging bone to pick with the phrase “LGBT,” and just had to find a way to include it on his list.
Come on, Fox News. We wish we could say we were more surprised.