CREDO Action

Tell major media outlets: Just say "racist"

Sign the petition

Petition to traditional corporate media:

"Call Trump's white nationalist tirades what they are: racist. You have an obligation to report the truth instead of hiding behind euphemisms."

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    Tell major media outlets: Just say "racist"

    This weekend, Donald Trump told four progressive congresswomen of color to "go back where they came from." It was as shamelessly racist as anything he has ever said. But you wouldn't know it from traditional corporate media reporting.1,2

    Corporate media used euphemisms like "racially charged" or "usually considered a racist taunt" or hid behind critics and reported that Trump's tweets were "denounced as racist" by others.3 This pathetic failure to call Trump's racism what it is gives him political cover and normalizes his hatred.

    If the media can't label this tirade racist, what will ever qualify? We need to demand the traditional corporate media do better and finally start using the word racist.

    Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Just call Trump's racism "racist."

    Trump tweeted that Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar should "go back... [to the] crime infested places from which they came." It's one of the most common racist lines out there, and one that is sadly familiar to most people of color in America. All, except Rep. Omar, whose family fled Somalia as refugees when she was a teenager, were born in America. Facing criticism, Trump doubled down and accused the women themselves of being racist.4,5

    As one media critic put it, "His tweets were straight up racist."6 Yet the traditional corporate media largely avoided the term:7

    On the whole, however, the news desks of mainstream news organizations did not call the tweets racist, or at least did not do so consistently across their output… “Racist” often appeared in quote marks, which was a cop-out: “Reporters and anchors took the story seriously but largely leaned on ‘critics,’ primarily Democrats, and cited their accusations of racism,” CNN’s Brian Stelter notes.

    This is hardly the first time the traditional media failed. From the beginning of Trump's white supremacist political career, the corporate media abdicated their responsibility to report the truth. As The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan said, "Historians will look back on the US media’s refusal to use the L (lie) and R (racist) words in relation to Trump as one of the most inexcusable, cowardly and shameful features of this horrific political and media era."8 It's long past time for the media to report the truth and label Trump's tirades what they are: racist.

    Tell traditional corporate media outlets: Just call Trump's racism "racist."

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Brian Stelter, "Trump's racist tweetstorm," CNN's "Reliable Sources" Newsletter, July 14, 2019.
    2. Jon Allsop, "Just say ‘racist,’" Columbia Journalism Review, July 15, 2019.
    3. Ibid.
    4. Ibid.
    5. Julie Hirschfeld Davis, "After Trump Accuses Four Democratic Congresswomen of Hating U.S., They Fire Back," The New York Times, July 15, 2019.
    6. Stelter, "Trump's racist tweetstorm."
    7. Allsop, "Just say ‘racist.’"
    8. Ibid.