President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday that four minority representatives—Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Ilhan Omar—”originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe.” He urged them to go back to their countries and repair situations there before critiquing the United States.
All four of the Congresswomen are American citizens. Three of the four were born in the United States.
While taking questions at the third annual Made in America summit on the White House Lawn, Trump insisted that his tweets were “not at all” racist.
Donald Trump’s tweets were racist.
His words sparked massive outcry, but in attempts to seem neutral in the face of constant claims of partiality from the president and his allies, many mainstream news outlets were hesitant to use the word “racist.” It’s a pattern that’s been occurring for years, despite numerous people calling it out.
Racially charged. Racially tinged. Racism-flecked. Marbled with racism. Racism adjacent.
— Emily Nussbaum (@emilynussbaum) July 14, 2019
But the president’s least favorite news network, CNN, didn’t hold back with its headline.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 15, 2019
The headline on CNN’s website reads:
“Trump denies racist tweets were racist”
It was a refreshing sight for many to see a news outlet call it what it is.
Okay, this is more like it. CNN is not playing with this headline. And, importantly, it's wholly journalistic. It states the facts plainly and accurately. https://t.co/BwsQ5x9CpM pic.twitter.com/MJtCmGNgmH
— Barry Malone (@malonebarry) July 15, 2019
Now that’s how you write a headline. https://t.co/8sW4n6seQS
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 15, 2019
It took like four years, but finally someone figured out how to write a headline in Trumpland.
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) July 15, 2019
The headline comes as many Republicans claim the term “racist” is used too flippantly by Democrats, yet few seem willing to question why overt racism appears to be more commonplace in the Trump era.
Many are calling on news outlets to stop being so hesitant to use the word where it applies.
A real problem is that politics in Trump’s era has taken on a moral dimension that news outlets either aren’t equipped to cover, or think it’s their duty to avoid. And if they avoid it, they avoid their job, which is to accurately represent to their audience what’s happening.
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) July 15, 2019
Any news outlet not describing the president’s tweets as racist — and instead relying on “critics” or euphemisms — should evaluate what it is about their internal structure that keeps them from proclaiming it with authority. https://t.co/ZLCU2vI8Dy
— Alexa Ura (@alexazura) July 15, 2019
Hi major news outlets: the correct language today is “racist.” The president of the United States, Donald Trump, is RACIST. Full stop.
— ghost dog. (@JeetoCheesus) July 14, 2019
More outlets would do well to take a page from CNN’s book.