Accuracy in Media

Former President Barack Obama continues to chime in on the presidency of his successor, President Donald Trump. It is an unusual departure for most former presidents, who typically do not publicly interfere with subsequent presidents.

In light of the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Obama released a statement on Twitter condemning divisive racial politics, which ABC News covered in an article written by Bobby Gehlen and Elizabeth Thomas. Obama’s statement declared, “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as subhuman or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people.” His full statement is below:

To some, the former president’s statement was a direct criticism of Trump, the latter whom the mainstream media has consistently claimed is a “racist” president. ABC highlighted Trump’s response to Obama’s statement, “A day after former President Barack Obama sharply criticized divisive language on race and hate from “our leaders” — but not mentioning President Donald Trump by name — Trump on Tuesday hit back at the rebuke from the first African American president.” The article’s opening paragraph could implicitly refer to Trump as a racist for rebuking the first African American president.

The article continued, quoting Trump’s tweets on Obama’s legacy:

After Trump’s tweet, the ABC News article defended Obama’s legacy and said the following: “During his presidency, Obama addressed the nation following 14 mass shootings, which included the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.” ABC News continued, “Throughout his eight-year tenure, the former president called for “common-sense gun laws” but did not make significant progress, with major pieces of gun control legislation failing to pass in the Senate in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.”

Overall, the article did not misquote Obama or Trump, which is admirable. However, the article did not present neutrality on the claim that Trump is a “racist,” multiple mainstream media pundits claimed over the past month. Instead, ABC News left those claims unsaid and unchallenged.

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