New reporting standards are needed to expose “fake history.” Here are resources to help make it happen.
By: Michael Bugeja
At an Oct. 8 rally for Nevada Republicans, Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville said this about Democrats: “They’re pro-crime. They want crime. They want crime because they want to take over what you got. They want to control what you have. They want reparations because they think the people that do the crime are owed that.”
News organizations denounced Tuberville’s comments but did relatively little to define reparations, reference the historical record or cite legislation about it. They might not have grasped the gravity of his comments, which conjure “fake history.”
Following the rally, I searched Tuberville’s statement on Google news and accessed 14 reports and analyses by these media: Associated Press, BuzzFeed, CBS News, Daily Beast, The Hill, Mother Jones, NBC News, Newsweek, NPR, Rolling Stone, USA Today, Vanity Fair, Washington Examiner and Washington Post. I did not cherrypick outlets; simply, their stories came up within the first 50 entries.
I explored whether the posts defined reparations, linked to any source about its history, or mentioned legislation (namely H.R. 40, “Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act,” first introduced in 1989). The bill died in committee in every congress until the current 117th where it reported out of committee but stalled with no plans to bring it to the floor for a vote.
I am not advocating for or against reparations but am presenting an ethical standard on how journalists should cover this issue with more impartiality so as to guide the national debate.
For the rest of the post, click here or visit: https://www.poynter.org/commentary/2022/media-had-a-subpar-response-to-tubervilles-racist-remarks-about-reparations/