Accuracy in Media

In an interview with CBS News Tuesday, New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones gave cover to rioters who have been looting and destroying stores in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd when she stated that property destruction — because property can be replaced — “is not violence.”

Hannah-Jones, who won a Pulitzer Prize for the Times’s heavily criticized 1619 Project on slavery, was reacting to the widespread property destruction by those protesting police brutality following Floyd’s death while in police custody.

“I think we need to be really careful with our language. Yes, it is disturbing to see property being destroyed. It is disturbing to see people taking property from stores, but these are things,” Hannah-Jones said. “Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.”

“To use the exact same language to describe those two things … it’s not moral to do that,” she added.

Even though she thought property destruction, in general, was wrong, Hannah-Jones said that citizens shouldn’t have to play by the rules if law enforcement doesn’t.

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