Mainstream media outlets covered the 2017 Women’s March on Washington, and other affiliated Women’s March events across the United States, interviewing attendees and heralding the movement as a budding, anti-Trump movement. Now, over two years later, the Women’s March board is shuffling and changing as three board members are leaving amid charges of anti-Semitism.
Tamika Mallory, Bob Bland and Linda Sarsour were three founding members of the organization and agreed to leave the board. The media used a variety of phrases to describe their departure.
NBC News said that their departure came after “anti-Semitism accusations.” The outlet added that the focus of anti-Semitism accusations was their “association with Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has been denounced for making anti-Semitic and homophobic comments. The women have repeatedly denied the claims and denounced anti-Semitism, but some critics have said its response did not come fast enough or was not strong enough.”
Salon said, “Both Mallory and Sarsour were accused of using the Women’s March — an organization which exists to promote women’s rights — as a platform for statements critics claimed were hostile to Jews. It is unclear whether those accusations played a role in their departures from the organization.” It added that Mallory “has been criticized for her ties to the Nation of Islam and its anti-Semitic leader Louis Farrakhan, including an occasion when she attended an event where Farrakhan made anti-Semitic remarks.”
The New York Times said that they stepped down “after controversies” and The Week noted “anti-Semitism, other missteps” as the reason behind the board’s shake-up.
The mainstream media acknowledged the anti-Semitic comments and actions taken by some of the outgoing board members, which is a positive development in accurate and ethical reporting and journalism. However, it is important to note that it took at least a year for the board to push these particular members out after anti-Semitism accusations were levied against them. The delay in changing the board’s make-up validated many critics who said the Women’s March (and by extension, the mainstream media) was too slow to condemn anti-Semitism and too slow to take action to rectify these offenses.