Categories
Media

“We refuse to be tainted as activists”

Soledad O’Brien’s op-ed in the New York Times is an attempt to expose an uncomfortable truth: news media needs a #MeToo movement.

I left CNN more than seven years ago. But I watch its coverage, and that of other news networks — the panel-driven journalism that sometimes gives voice to liars and white supremacists; the excuse of “balance” to embolden and normalize bigots and bigotry by posing them as the “other side.” When I criticize CNN (as I do frequently on social media), the company attacks me as “more of a liberal activist than a journalist,” a common dig against journalists of color who criticize newsroom management.

…The thin ranks of people of color in American newsrooms have often meant us-and-them reporting, where everyone from architecture critics to real estate writers, from entertainment reporters to sports anchors, talk about the world as if the people listening or reading their work are exclusively white.

There are simply not enough of us in the newsroom to object effectively — not in TV, print or online, certainly not in management. So our only option is to mimic the protester’s strategy: Talk directly to the public and just talk loud.

…We refuse to be benched or tainted as activists or deemed incapable of objectivity, while white reporters are hailed for their “perspective” on stories.