Fox host Alisyn Camerota made a deliberate point of linking firefighter flunkies to race when she reported that “as many as 30” New York City firefighter recruits are too obese for the job. Without bothering to point out that obesity rates among firefighters are causing concerns all over the country or that women are also part of the FDNY recruitment efforts, Camerota highlighted increased minority recruitment as the only factor to consider:
Well, they sued for the right to become New York City firefighters but now they’re flunking out. As many as 30 trainees have already dropped out because they’re too overweight to meet the physical demands of the job. And more are expected to go. The first recruited class since 2008 was formed after a judge ordered the department to become more racially diverse. But now veteran firefighters are fuming, saying the candidates are oversized and underperforming and need to be cut breaks to pass their tests.
Do you think anyone in the Fox audience failed to connect the dots?
Apparently, this “news” was based on a similar report from sister company NY Post that also linked the problem to minorities. However, the Post pointed out what Camerota didn’t: the class was not made up of applicants from the general population:
FDNY Commissioner Salvatore Cassano excluded applicants from the general population for this Academy class, limiting the pool to medics, whose ranks include a higher percentage of minorities than is found in firehouses.
…But they were rated only on a written exam. In years past, applicants had to score high on both a written and a physical test.
… The department’s own EMS Academy head, Lt. David Russell, admitted in a 2011 report that even when FDNY recruits from EMS got extra help, “the overall fitness of these recruits is still poor.”
In other words, it's quite likely that the population of medics, whose work, as the article also pointed out, is mostly sedentary, has a lower fitness rate than the general population. But Camerota misleadingly gave the impression that the same people who sued (a black fraternal firefighters organization) are the same people now flunking out.
By the way, those “fuming” “veteran firefighters” Camerota cited in her report seem to be anonymous ranters on a bulletin board not associated with the FDNY. The Post also wrote that “Veteran firefighters are fuming over the quality of the new recruits” and backed that up with comments from a few posters on a site called FDNY Rant.