CNN’s John King showed the worst kind of journalism Wednesday when he made controversial racial assumptions and falsely reported on-air that the suspect in the deadly Boston Marathon bombings was a “dark-skinned male.”
King was wrong and irresponsible. Law enforcement officials immediately refuted King’s report and, in fact, CBS News reported that the suspect is a “white male.”
As a seasoned journalist, and a black man, I am outraged – and offended — that King would recklessly single out all men of color as the terrorist suspect.
“I want to be very careful about this, because people get very sensitive when you say these things,” King said Wednesday. “I was told by one of these sources who is a law enforcement official that this is a dark-skinned male.”
He said that there had been a further description given, but he was refraining from sharing it with viewers.
“There are some people who will take offense for even saying that,” King said. “I understand that.”
“We can’t say whether the person spoke with a foreign accent, or an American accent?” Wolf Blitzer asked. “That would be premature.”
King repeated that he was only going to use the “dark-skinned male” description, saying that sometimes information did not turn out to be true.
“I’m making a personal judgment—forgive me, I think it’s the right judgment—not to try to inflame tensions,” King said. “They say it’s a dark-skinned male.”
Who said it was a “dark-skinned male?” A law enforcement source?
Monday’s blasts killed 8-year-old Martin Richard, of Boston, and 29-year-old Krystle Campbell, of Medford, Mass. On Wednesday, CBS News confirmed that the third fatality has been identified as Lu Lingzi, a 23-year-old graduate student at Boston University from Shenyang, China.
In the rush of trying to get a “scoop” on the case, King showed terrible judgment. Within seconds on air, King essentially turned every male of color a bombing suspect. King was wrong and he should apologize on-air.
“Dark-skinned male?” Rev. Sharpton asked on his MSNBC Show “Politics Nation.” “Coded, offensive language. These comments are very offensive. They have no place in our discourse.”
“What King’s words did is to make every dark-skinned male in Boston a suspect, and that’s shameful,” Sharpton added.
Sharpton is right.
The investigation is ongoing and the situation in Boston is tense and what Boston doesn’t need right now are journalists making racial assumptions and adding to an already stressful situation.
Earlier this week, a plane from Boston headed to Chicago was brought back to the gate at Logan Airport, after some passengers — who also participated in the marathon — expressed concern over two men, who were apparently not sitting next to each, were speaking in Arabic. The men were escorted off the plane.
And now, King is pointing the finger at men of color.
“Disturbing that it’s OK for TV to ID a Boston bombing suspect only as ‘a dark-skinned individual,’ ” PBS anchor Gwen Ifill tweeted about King.
Meanwhile, The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) said King’s reporting was “offensive.”
“There have been various reports identifying a potential suspect as “a dark-skinned individual,” NABJ said in a statement. “This terminology is not only offensive, but also offers an incomplete picture of relevant facts about the potential person of interest’s identity. When conveying information for the public good, and which can help law enforcement with the help of a vigilant public to keep the country safe, it’s important that such facts be put into proper context.”
Let’s hope John King gets the message and thinks before he injects “dark-skinned male” into his reporting.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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