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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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