Accuracy in Media

Vox writer German Lopez created  a misleading narrative against William Barr, President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, failing to provide important context about Democratic support, including among the Congressional Black Caucus, for many of the policies that Barr worked on in the 1990s.

“William Barr helped establish mass incarceration. Now Trump wants him as attorney general,” the article headline states. “As attorney general for George H.W. Bush, Barr was an architect of America’s punitive criminal justice system.”

Lopez takes issue with Barr’s work in the George H.W. Bush administration without mentioning the bipartisan nature of the criminal justice changes enacted nationwide.

“As deputy attorney general from 1990 to 1991 and attorney general from 1991 to 1993, Barr pushed for and helped implement more punitive criminal justice policies, including a 1990 crime law that, among other things, escalated the war on drugs,” writes Lopez, failing to mention that in 1990 both the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate were in Democratic hands.

“In 1992, asked about racial disparities in prisons by Los Angeles Times reporter Ronald Ostrow, Barr argued that ‘our system is fair and does not treat people differently,’ He went on to defend laws that made prison sentences for crack cocaine much harsher than prison sentences for powder cocaine,” Vox writes.” The disparity between the two was reduced by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, in part because there’s little justification for it based on the drugs’ effects, but the higher sentence for crack has a disproportionate racial impact since crack was more commonly used in black communities and powder cocaine was more commonly used in white communities.”

In this section, Vox fails to mention that the Congressional Black Caucus lobbied to implement this disparity because of the devastation that crack cocaine was having on black communities.

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