I believe in the importance of neutral reporting, which is why I'm so concerned about your recent characterization of Stephen Bannon as "[hardcore conservative/ other inaccurate category]." To call Bannon, the president-elect's current choice for White House Chief Strategist a [inaccurate category] is not neutrality. The principle of journalistic neutrality is served when the facts are reported objectively, without bias or partisan judgement. It is not served by euphemisms that hide a subject's disreputable beliefs from your readers, and it is certainly not served by soft-peddling bigotry.And if you're conservatively inclined... well, maybe you should consider sending a letter like this, anyway. I mean, do you really want "conservative" to become a euphemism for Steve Bannon's sort of bigotry? That's as much a smear against you, as it is a normalization of hate against me.
Now, I'm not asking you to call Stephen Bannon a bigot. I'm asking that, instead of the sanitized, normalizing, and comforting characterization from your [date] article entitled [title], you provide quotations and context which will allow your readers to decide the matter for themselves. After all, if you are not providing enough information for your readers to make their own judgement, then what is your purpose as journalists?
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
Something else you can do
If you're liberally inclined, and looking for another way to take action, feel free to use or adapt the following letter I'll be sending to any media outlets who try to normalize Stephen Bannon's antisemitic, homophobic, racist, misogynist, and bigoted beliefs. When you see a newspaper, news program, or news site calling him a "hardcore conservative," or a "nationalist," or otherwise disguising his attitudes for the sake of false balance, you can just fill in the blanks and send it off. Newspapers, in particular, really do seem to weigh these sorts of letters when deciding the tone of future reporting, if they receive enough of them.
Posted by Robyn