Accuracy in Media

j capehart on msnbc

The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart, who earlier this week admitted that the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” narrative was built on a lie, said that he wasn’t going to back down just because some people decided to racially abuse him on social media.

Capehart was filling in for Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball last night and closed the program with comments about the online abuse that actress Ashley Judd received this week, as well as his own:

Let me finish with this: Ashley Judd is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

The actress and avid college basketball fan told our colleague Thomas Roberts the other day that she would seek legal action against those who use Twitter to threaten her.  The survivor of rape and incest has been catching hell ever since she sent out a tart tweet during an NCAA championship match on Sunday.  A tweet she almost immediately deleted.  But that didn’t stop the avalanche of vile hate and threats directed at her.

In a blunt piece penned today for “Identities.Mic,” Judd writes, “Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood.  My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually.  I know this experience is universal, though I’ll describe specifically what happened to me.”

I know of what Judd speaks.  But I get abused on the issue of race.  The rage towards anyone who dares to enter that arena and say something that defies the conventional wisdom also “lurks perpetually.”

After my piece – ‘“Hands up, dont shoot” was built on a lie – folks used Twitter and Facebook to dismember my personhood.  Fellow African Americans called me a “sell-out” or “House Negro.” Others said I did it because I wanted “white people to like me” or that I “did it for the money.”

No, I did it because it was the right thing to do.  Like Judd, such taunts won’t keep me from speaking my mind.

Don’t worry. I’m not going to sue anyone. But if Ashley Judd follows through on her litigious threat against her online tormentors I’ll be 100% behind her.

Although I rarely agree with Capehart, in this case he is right. He shouldn’t let the Facebook and Twitter trolls—who often live in anonymity—to bully him with their vile comments for having the courage to admit his mistake.





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