Accuracy in Media

Washington Post reporter Matt Viser relied on shadowy, anonymous robocalls and language from a Republican congressman who has been denounced by Republican leadership to paint a wide picture of the entire GOP’s messaging to racial minorities.

In his article “Midterms test whether Republicans not named Trump can win by stoking racial animosity,” Viser also failed to report on polls showing rising approval among Latinos and African-Americans for President Trump’s job performance as their economic lives improve.

“By running so overtly on racially tinged messages, the GOP is putting that explosive form of politics on the ballot,” Viser, a reporter, wrote.

“If Republicans maintain control of the House, the notion of running a campaign built on blunt, race-based attacks on immigrants and minorities will have been validated. A loss, on the other hand, might prompt a number of Republicans to call for a rethinking of the party’s direction — but that would collide with a sitting president who, if anything, relishes over-the-edge rhetoric. The stakes for the party’s future are immense. Republicans now are an overwhelmingly white party, whereas Democrats represent a multiethnic coalition. The problem for Republicans is that the nation is moving swiftly in the direction of Democratic demographics.”

Yet in his reporting, Viser fails to mention that the poverty rate for African-Americans reached its lowest level on record in 2017, and an executive order by Trump moved the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the White House from the Department of Education. This was the earliest Executive Order on HBCUs signed by any president, and earlier this year, Trump signed legislation that increased Federal funding to HBCU programs by more than 14 percent. Trump also signed legislation that forgave $332 million in Hurricane Katrina related debt that threatened New Orleans, Louisiana, area HBCUs.

Instead of providing more balance about Republican policies benefiting minorities, Viser reports about despicable, racist, shadowy robocalls against black Democratic candidates in Florida and Georgia without disclosing who was behind the calls, a failure to provide context to his readers about why it’s appropriate for Viser to then tie those calls officially to the Republican Party rather than racist, rogue actors. Viser also failed to mention that under Republican leadership, economic opportunity is rising and unemployment is dropping for African-Americans; this year, African-American unemployment fell to a record low of 5.9 percent, and total African-American employment has increased by 976,000 since Trump’s election and stands at a record high.

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