Vox’s German Lopez: Media Need To Call Trump’s “Clear Racism” Like It Is

Vox’s German Lopez criticized the media for being “too scared” to call out Donald Trump as “blatantly racist,” following his assertion that the judge overseeing the civil case against Trump University has a conflict of interest because of his Hispanic heritage.

Donald Trump told the Wall Street Journal that Judge Gonzalo Curiel wasn’t qualified to oversee the Trump University case due to his “Mexican heritage.” Trump’s criticism of the judge alarmed legal experts, with some scholars saying it “threatened the rule of law.” The Republican presidential candidate’s remarks were followed by the endorsement of Speaker Paul Ryan, which is being interpreted by some as the GOP’s embracement of Trump’s racist politics and conspiracy theories.

Lopez criticized media’s coverage of Trump’s remarks, saying they used “weasel words” like “racially charged” to “describe racism,” and asked  “What would it take for them to finally call Trump or his remarks just plainly racist?” 

Lopez highlighted the lack of diversity in the media and explained it can often lead to inaccuracies in reporting. From German Lopez’s June 3 Vox article:

Donald Trump, the actual Republican candidate for president, now endorsed by his party leaders, openly said he wants to exclude someone from a government job because of his race and ethnicity.

As the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, Trump said he wants to disqualify the federal judge overseeing the Trump University case because of his “Mexican heritage” and membership in a Latino lawyers association[.]


This is pure racism. There's no subtlety, no dog whistle, no coded language.


Reading this, it's hard for me, a Hispanic American, to avoid feeling a little personally insulted. This suggests that Trump would probably dismiss my opinion — indeed, this article — because of my name. Yet millions of Americans — and a major political party — want him to be president, despite his clear racism.

Maybe the media plays a role here. After all, instead of calling it like it is, CBS News,MSNBC, the Washington Post, and the New York Times have called Trump's comments about Curiel “racially charged” and “racially tinged,” the weasel words the media typically uses to describe racism. It makes one wonder: What would it take for them to finally call Trump or his remarks just plainly racist? If claiming a qualified, vetted judge shouldn't be able to do his job because of his race and ethnicity isn't racist, then what the hell is?

Perhaps the problem is Hispanic people are vastly underrepresented in media. As the journalism organization ASNE found, racial minorities make up less than 13 percent of the field — despite making up about 38 percent of the total US population. That might make it harder for a lot of journalists to see just how racist Trump's remarks are.

If that's the case, maybe it would be helpful for the predominant white journalists in the field to consider: If President Barack Obama or President Marco Rubio said all white people should be banned from acting as judge in a court case against them, would that be considered racist? And how is that any different from what Trump is doing?

There should be no doubt about it now: Donald Trump is racist. He wants to exclude people from government jobs because of their race and ethnicity. That is the literal definition of racism. The media shouldn't shy away from pointing that out, and the people supporting Trump should know that's exactly what they're supporting.