Monday, November 13, 2017

Tyler Jordan

Diversity and the Lack of Representation


Journalist Bias

            The concept of Journalism being a form of reporting and disturbing news in an unbiased and factual manner seems to get skewed more as each month goes by. It seems almost like this notion the neutrality equals professionalism is impossible, especially when you consider the rhetoric used by our president and the laundry list of fake news permeating throughout journalism. If this notion is true in modern journalism, then journalists should feel some sort of relief in that they will be allowed to express their feelings on certain events without the burden of possibly damaging their career. Unfortunately, this sentiment has shown not be true, or at least it varies for different people.

Jemele Hill's suspension 

            Jemele Hill was suspended for two weeks after tweeting about Trump being “unqualified and unfit to be President” and “a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself with other white supremacists.” Where the problem lies isn’t in fact that she was punished for saying these things, but the fact that she made these claims on her personal twitter account. While some would say Hill was in the wrong for making these comments as a journalist, one could make the argument that Hill should be allowed to share her opinions in a space outside of work, especially when she is part of the group of people being affected by the Trump’s actions. This decision by ESPN, if anything, just highlights the lack of diverse representation within these journalist networks. This is particularly noticeable when you see how other networks have treated similar situations.

Geraldo Rivera and Fox News

            Take this for example, in 2015 Geraldo Rivera made this comment live on Fox News after seeing Kendrick Lamar’s BET performance of the song Alright. “This is why I say that hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years. This is exactly the wrong message,” Rivera said. Following this comment Rivera received a response for Lamar, but no reparation from Fox News. If we analyze his comment with Hill’s, in severity terms, both are generally equal. Rivera’s comment could easily be seen as an unfair generalization of hip-hop and an insensitive assumption about the racial bias that negatively effects an entire group of people. At the same, this comment was made live and could easily be perceived by viewers as the general attitude of the network. Looking at it from that stand point it would make sense for Fox News implement some sort of retribution against Rivera for making such a bold statement, but nothing came about. It could be assumed this happened because Rivera was represented by a staff that valued him or the people associated with him shared this opinion and regardless were willing to let risks slide

            Therefore, these should be more representation within these networks for journalists and their beliefs. If one network is willing to let a journalist’s opinion slide then, the other networks should react differently in similar situations. I’m not saying you should pick sides, but there should be enough representation to have set decision across the board of all networks.                 

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