(Update: Reuters quietly improves statement by eliminating the word 'often'. Thank you Reuters, for being forthright in the error, er, slipping this in, in the hopes that your readers won't notice. We're certain that all of the Tea Party Patriots being wrongfully portrayed as racist appreciate the effort.)
Reuters recently ran a piece that analyzed persistent race issues amidst the Obama presidency, and managed to take a racial swipe at the Tea Party in the process.
As always, the piece diverts attention away from the President and toward conservatives. Any controversy involving the administration is portrayed as a mere distraction for the President in his alleged post-racial presidency. The analysis draws a conclusion that the ‘right-wing noise machine', conservative groups, conservative media, and the Tea Party/NAACP debate are all implicit in creating this racial distraction - and ultimately taking the spotlight off of Obama and his ‘biggest achievements'. (Is consistently usurping the will of the American people an achievement?)
But what stands out in the article (h/t NewsBuster reader Texndoc) is an obvious misstatement of facts. An implication that racist imagery at Tea Party rallies is prevalent, has been presented as truth. Patricia Zengerle, the White House correspondent at Reuters, writes (emphasis mine), "Images such as Obama with a bone through his nose and the White House with a lawn full of watermelons are often displayed at Tea Party rallies."
Reuters and Zengerle were contacted via e-mail several times for clarification on the statement, but the only response thus far has been ... ... an automated response and the sound of chirping crickets.
Therefore, I am outlining the inquiry below, in the hopes that a public forum will encourage Reuters to take a second look at the statement. It follows:
I was hoping you could clarify a statement made in your article titled, Race Issues Beset Obama's 'Post-Racial' Presidency.
Particularly, one statement stands out to many of your readers: 'Images such as Obama with a bone through his nose and the White House with a lawn full of watermelons are often displayed at Tea Party rallies.'
What exactly constitutes 'often' in this sentence? To most, it implies that these images are seen frequently at a majority of the rallies. However, this has never been shown to be the case. That would make it a false statement and should be retracted.
That said, perhaps you can correct me, as you may have evidence of these wide-ranging images at Tea Party rallies. But in order to be labeled as they have been, the image database should probably be extensive so it can be held in context with the hundreds of thousands who have attended Tea Party events in the past year or so.
Also, I would imagine the photographic evidence of something being done 'often' would far outweigh the number of times our previous President was shown as a Hitler Nazi - which was, um, often.
I encourage you to retract the statement, or at the very least, alter the verbiage to give it some factual basis.
- Rusty welcomes comments/feedback at Weiss.Rusty@gmail.com.