The Double Standard on Race at The New York Times

This is probably not news for anyone who regularly looks at reporting standards at the New York Times, but Manhattan Institute Scholar Heather MacDonald puts the paper’s double standard regarding its coverage of crime and crime related stories in stark relief.  Her piece in the City Journal notes the way the Times reported last month’s police crackdown of the riot-like rampage of mostly black spring breakers at Miami Beach was to characterize the shootings, street brawls and property damage as “by and large, nonviolent.”  The Times went on to report that the only reason the police were confiscating guns and arresting the revelers is because most of them were black.  It was racial bias.  Responding to this claim, Miami’s Mayor, a Democrat, told the Times “we do not target race, we targeted conduct.”

The newspaper of record featured a response from the head of the Miami-Dade Black Affairs Advisory Board who pointed out that “similar partying by white tourists ” on South Padre Island in Texas had not brought a similar police crackdown, so it had to be racism.  But as a local news source reported, the Texas partyers “were drinking, dancing, playing volleyball and just having a good time on the beach.”   There was no gunplay, rampages, thefts or assaults.

The most serious crime during the mayhem at Miami Beach involved the death of 24-year-old white woman from Pennsylvania  who was raped by two men in a hotel room while she was passed out.  When finished, the two left the girl unconscious while they took her phone and wallet.  Both of the young men were black.  The woman was later found dead by hotel staff.  Before the assailants were arrested, they made purchases around the city with the victim’s credit card.

MacDondald continues:   “The most striking aspect of the Times’s coverage, however, was its treatment of the drug-induced hotel rape and subsequent death. This is the same paper that put nearly every allegation of unwanted sexual innuendo on the part of New York governor Andrew Cuomo on the front page; that pioneered the media #MeToo beat; that staffs a gender desk to cover misogyny, sexism, and violence against females; and that treats the drunken college hook-ups that women later regret as rape. Yet when confronted by an actual rape of someone too mentally incapacitated to consent, and who actually dies afterward, the Times buries the incident as a minor detail in what it characterizes as a largely peaceful gathering.

In the fourth paragraph of the story, the Times acknowledges that “there has been some violence; in perhaps the most serious case, two male visitors are accused of drugging and raping a woman who later died.” But we hear no more about the incident until much later in the story: “In the case of the woman who died, the police have arrested two North Carolina men on charges of drugging and raping her and stealing her credit cards. The woman, a 24-year-old from Pennsylvania, was later found dead in her Miami Beach hotel room.”

And that is all. No outrage. No calls for protests and legislation against male violence. If the perpetrators had been white, this incident would be a front-page story about the lethal misogyny of spring break partyers. If the perpetrators had been white and the victim black, the incident would be a front-page story about lethal white supremacist misogyny, followed by widespread protests. But since the alleged perpetrators are black and the victim was white, the incident can by definition contain no racial element and is barely worth mentioning.”

This is a fairly strong indicator of how the Times, and most other major media will cover the expected riots in Minneapolis if the jury acquits the officer on trial for putting his knee on George Floyd’s neck.   Frankly, I think that any verdict which does not hold the officer accountable for intentional murder, which is not among the charges, will result in rioting.


2 Responses

  1. Douglas Berman says:

    Your last sentence is an ominous prediction, Michael, given that the state changes now being tried again defendant Derek Chauvin are only second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

  2. Point well taken Douglas. I clarified my ominous prediction.