Accuracy in Media

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing a tough re-election race and it was made much more difficult after brownface and blackface photos of him at parties emerged. Trudeau received glowing praise from international (U.S.-based and other nations) media after he won the election in 2015 but has stumbled while serving in office.

Trudeau had significant name recognition during his young political career, as his father Pierre was Canada’s prime minister in the 1980s, and orchestrated a significant election night victory to propel him into the nation’s highest political office.

All the accolades have since evaporated after the corruption scandal hit his administration, in addition to the recent revelations that he wore brownface and blackface at some parties in the past.

At a party in 2001, Trudeau wore brownface while dressed as Aladdin at an “‘Arabian Nights’-themed gala,” as NBC News reported.

Trudeau was not a young teenager or college student; he would have been 29 years old at the time. He also admitted that he wore blackface once before while in college, and CNN’s Canadian affiliate obtained and then published the photo after the news broke.

CNN’s write-up of the controversy did not mention how it came soon after the Trudeau administration was accused of corruption. NBC News mentioned the scandal in its article, where Trudeau was accused of breaching ethics rules in trying to influence a legal case after the watchdog report was published. Trudeau did not apologize for the corruption accusations, according to NBC News, and he said “many people’s jobs were at stake.”

CNN should have included more context about why the controversy is making a huge stir in Canadian politics, which is that the photos surfaced after Trudeau’s administration was accused of corruption. By contrast, NBC News did an adequate job in giving such context in their article.

Photo by BC Gov Photos

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