Journalistic Neutrality in Rhode Island


When a Black Lives Matter protester kicked the camera of the ABC6 news team in Providence, Shannon Hegy of WPRI (channel 12) tweeted:

Our job is to not be on anyone’s side.

Our job is to be neutral.

Our job is to give coverage to BOTH sides.

I’m so disgusted and disheartened by this.

The responses came in two waves.  The first was to downplay the protester’s action and to insist that the news media shouldn’t be neutral or, more Orwellian, that neutrality means being on the radicals’ side.  The second wave noted that the news media hasn’t been neutral, as evidenced (as I pointed out) by their silence about protesters’ much-more-intimidating behavior toward local talk radio host John DePetro, including an effort to blind him.

Hegy’s tweet brings to mind a recent Twitter proclamation from another Rhode Island television journalist, Lindsay Iadeluca:

Social justice isn’t a personal view. It’s human decency.

Iadeluca’s statement is in line with those who responded to Hegy by suggesting “neutrality” actually required agreement with their ideological side.  To them, this isn’t a question of competing beliefs about what human decency requires.  In their view, their side is decent, and the other side doesn’t count.  It’s not “a personal view.”  It’s just reality.

An immediate consequence of this view of the world can be found up-thread from Iadeluca’s tweet, where her NBC10 colleague, Connor Cyrus, shared a meme providing “examples of racial gaslighting” — i.e., statements meant to disguise racism and make those who oppose it feel like they’re going crazy:

  • “Why does everything always have to be about race with you?”
  • “What I said/did wasn’t racist.”
  • “Racism doesn’t exist anymore.”
  • “It was just a joke, calm down.”
  • “Just to play devil’s advocate here…”
  • “If you protested/said it peacefully, maybe people would listen.”
  • “Are you sure that’s what happened?”
  • “In my opinion, it wasn’t racist because…”

In short, simply defending yourself as not racist is racist.  Explaining why something wasn’t racist… is racist.  And yes, seriously, on a television journalist’s list of gaslighting phrases is, “Are you sure that’s what happened?”

Once upon a time, that question was known as journalism.  Now, a journalist says it is racist to ask it, and another insists his view is simple, objective “human decency.”

Whatever it may be, viewers should adjust their expectations for these stations’ ability to convey reality.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    Seriously, was there ever a time when journalism was neutral? Last night I watched a documentary on a famous 1880’s criminal trial. The newspapers printed false stories, one even paid someone to forge documents which were then printed in the paper. The first rule of journalism “Newspapers exist to make money”

  • ShannonEntropy

    I get a lot of of flack from a certain party who likes to harass people here, for constantly citing foreign news sources

    The reason why I read all those sources is cuz the American MSM does such a lousy and politically distorted job. They skew their reporting to fit the liberal “narrative” and even create outright lies (( does anyone with half a brain really believe Trump said all those disparaging things about the military and veterans ?? Funny how no sources are cited or ever come forward to corroborate the literal “stories” )). BTW, Fox does it too which is why I don’t get my news from them and mainly only follow the commentaries of Tucker Carlson

    The amount of information about what’s going on here that never gets reported or gets totally distorted — from the riots to the plandemic to the presidential race — is staggering, and most US citizens trying to make sense of the world is like a tourist trying to enjoy a blacked-out museum with a flashlight

    Just fer ex: Joe Biden obviously has dementia — watch tonite’s debate for proof — but when was the last time you heard a MSM sorce mention that fact or show a video of one of his godzillion “gaffes”

    Here’s a look in case you too are in the dark:

  • Christopher C. Reed

    Journalistic neutrality? ‘Scuse me while I search this bordello for extra virgins.
    DePetro blinded/assaulted by 99 & 44/100% peaceful rioters?
    Not newsworthy. Their pets bite some journos? Stop the presses!

    If you want ‘news’ news (thanks Whoopi), there’s al Jazeera.
    Nagorno-Karabakh is blowin’ up as we speak. We should send troops…once we figure out WTF it is…