As part of the National Association of Black Journalists media watchdog committee, I was given the task of coming up with nominees for this year’s Thumbs Down award for statements from the mainstream media that reflected a lack of racial sensitivity, bias, racism and just plain ignorance.
It wasn’t hard to come up with candidates and especially since the Trayvon Martin case has sent so many conservatives into full-blown ranting and raving mode. Here are my four nominees for the Worst of the Worst and what they said that earned them a spot on my list. Only one of my choices were submitted to the NABJ board for consideration, but then there’s no shortage of journalists committing high crimes against racial diversity and the profession every day.
Geraldo Rivera: FOX News host: “I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly not to let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as much as George Zimmerman was. Trayvon Martin, God bless him, an innocent kid, a wonderful kid, a box of Skittles in his hands. He didn’t deserve to die. But I bet you money, if he didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way,”
Phil Griffin, MSNBC President: “I’m sorry, I don’t care about journalists. … I want fair-minded, smart people who understand the world and can interpret it,” he said. “If they’re journalists, great. This notion that you somehow you have to have done something to earn so-called journalists’ credentials? Stop.”
Liz Trotta, FOX News Contributor: “my favorite anchorman of all time” Lester Holt to cover the story with Tamron Hall, where they “had to agree to telling their experiences as a black person, how the cops would follow them, how security and police would follow them.” “Why do you involve your black reporters and anchors in this kind of framework that can only hurt their credibility?”
New York magazine: “Obama’s Gay Marriage Evolution Watch: Day 468” (02/27/12)
Editor’s Note: This post originally used a variation on an iconic illustration of the evolution of man, known as the ‘March of Progress’, which concluded with an image of President Obama holding a rainbow flag. The illustration was intended simply as a symbolic representation of the President’s self-described “evolution” on gay rights, but has been criticized for its similarity to various racist depictions of the President and African-Americans in general. While that was not the context of the image (in fact, Daily Intel has criticized such representations before), we recognize that images of this nature do carry troubling associations, and so it’s been removed from the post. We apologize for the offense it has caused.
- Liz Trotta: Black Anchors Covering Trayvon Martin ‘Can Only Hurt Their Credibility’ With Personal Stories (mediaite.com)
- Fox’s Geraldo Rivera Blames Hoodie For Trayvon Martin’s Death (thinkprogress.org)
- Geraldo Rivera Apologizes to Trayvon Martin’s Parents Over Hoodie Remark (themoderatevoice.com)
- Liz Trotta Attacks MSNBC and ‘Liberal Media’ for Coverage of Trayvon Martin Shooting (crooksandliars.com)