Fox’s Tucker Carlson attacked the country’s largest minority journalistic associations, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), saying they were “a little odd” and questioning why journalists should “coalesce around a racial identity.”
While co-hosting the August 6 edition of Fox’s Fox & Friends Saturday, Carlson discussed the groups’ joint convention and career fair and asked guest Julio Ricardo Varela of Futuro Media Group whether it was ironic that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had accused “her opponent,” Republican nominee Donald Trump, “of racism while speaking to a racially exclusive group”:
TUCKER CARLSON (CO-HOST): So of all the many ironies baked into this, the one that amused me the most was Hillary accusing her opponent of racism while speaking to a racially exclusive group. Did that occur to anybody in the audience, that that was a little bit ironic?
JULIO RICARDO VARELA: No, I mean, I think it was a bigger issue. I mean, first of all, we're journalists, so to say that we're like a racially exclusive group -- I mean, there’s a lot of award-winning journalists there --
CARLSON: Well sure. I'm not attacking the journalists [indecipherable], I'm just saying if Donald Trump spoke to the white journalist association, people would say “whoa, whoa, wait a second now.” Why should journalists coalesce around a racial identity? Isn’t their job to find the truth?
VARELA: Yeah, no, but Tucker, Donald Trump was also invited. So, are you going to come to the belly of the beast? We are journalists. It’s not like we're not going to sit here and go -- Donald Trump was invited and he said no.
CARLSON: Right. No, no, and I'm not fighting for Trump. I’m just saying, the group, it seems a little bit -- if you take three steps back, kind of a little odd.
The NABJ and NAHJ are the largest minority journalistic associations in the country. The NABJ “advocates on behalf of black journalists,” and the NAHJ’s mission is to “increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms” and push for a more “accurate representation of Latinos in news media.”
The work of associations like NABJ and NAHJ is not anti-white; rather, these groups help young journalists of color find career opportunities and encourage the media to address blind spots induced by lack of diversity. The underrepresentation of minorities of color has been a recurring weak spot for both print and radio newsrooms over the past 20 years. The lack of voices of people of color in newsrooms can lead to inaccurate representations of reality, with media often overlooking important angles, privileging one-sided stories, or failing to provide necessary context to understand news events. This kind of inaccurate storytelling has the harmful impact of perpetuating racially biased public perceptions, like criminalizing youth of color or failing to give victims of color humane coverage.
Carlson joins other right-wing media figures in misrepresenting pushes for ethnic and racial diversity and inclusion as “racist.”