- Accuracy in Media - https://www.aim.org -

Media ignores history when talking about minorities

We have heard it before. Trump is racist and the Joe Biden and Kamala Harris ticket is a beacon of hope for minorities.  The Atlantic reported on “Trump’s History of Racism [1],” and BBC speculated about what black voters think about the “historic pick [2]” of Harris for vice president.

According to the media, it seems pretty simple whom the pick for minorities should be. Vox wrote that Trump has a “long history of racism [3]” while the Guardian reported how Harris’ presence in the race “sends a strong signal [4] to the minority communities.”

Looking at current media coverage, the articles do not compare the two tickets on policies affecting minority communities. One of the largest policy conversations concerns the criminal justice system. [5]

Media is quick to forget the Democrat primary debate during which candidate Tulsi Gabbard brought Harris’ criminal justice record [4] to the public’s attention.

While these realities were allegedly the beginning of the end [6] for Harris’ presidential bid, they are media memories of the past now she is on the ticket to defeat Trump.

The media has reported on Biden’s 1994 crime bill [7] in the past, but there is no denying that the last few months they have adjusted their coverage course. MSNBC recently covered Al Sharpton’s campaign [8] to “explain the complicated history of the crime bill.” Vox published a lengthy article [9] explaining the nuances of the bill.

Compare this with the media’s coverage of Trump’s policies surrounding the issue. The Trump administration’s First Step Act [10]was one of his first major policy priorities, bringing bi-partisan support for criminal justice reform. While this policy has resulted in the lowest federal minority incarceration [11] in decades, media outlets have a more critical approach to covering the results.

NBC reported on the First Step Act,  but questioned if the “bi-partisan alliance was sustainable [12].” The Washington Post covered the policy reform, but also added that Trump hasn’t done much else for criminal justice. [12] The New Yorker discussed the “improbable” success [12] of a criminal justice reform under Trump, while listing a couple of negative anecdotes at the beginning of the article.