Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz complains about media labeling Trump's tweets as “racist” 

Kurtz says news organizations shouldn't characterize Trump's statements as racist “since the president denies any racist intent”

From the July 16 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom

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HOWARD KURTZ (FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST): There has been thunderous media condemnation of President Trump's attacks on these four freshmen, as he knew there would be, as he actually wanted, in my view, because he gets the Democrats to defend the four freshmen and then he can argue they are siding with women who he calls socialist who hate America. As far as the straight news people -- most of those were anchors that you showed -- many, many outlets have just skipped the “critics say” part and they say “racist attacks,” “racist tweets.” I think a better approach is for journalists -- and I'm not defending these tweets by the way -- is to lay it out but not say it's racist, because that goes to motive. You're saying in his heart, he is a racist. I prefer the way our colleague John Roberts did it at the White House when he said to the president, “Does it concern you that these tweets are seen as racist and are being embraced by white nationalists?” 

BILL HEMMER (CO-ANCHOR) OK here's something, Washington Post executive editor, I'll read it for you, “The Post traditionally has been cautious in the terminology it uses to characterize individual statements because a news organization's job is to inform its readers as dispassionately as possible. The 'go back' trope is deeply rooted in the history of racism in the United States. Therefore, we have concluded that 'racist' is the proper term to apply to the language he used on Sunday.” Answer that. I got a few more for you, Howie. 

KURTZ: OK, well, I understand that argument and so The Washington Post flipped after executive editor Marty Baron reached that conclusion with his editors. Look, it is close enough to the old “go back to Africa” slurs that were hurled at Black people for decades that I understand their reasoning. But people are smart enough to make up their minds for themselves. They don't have -- since the president denies any racist intent -- and people can accept or dismiss that -- it's fine to say racially charged, incendiary, divisive, all those are fine, but I don't think the media have to go so far as to say, “We don't believe the president. We think it's racist.” Opinion people can do that. I think news organizations need to be more cautious. 


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