News report of McDonald’s razor attack omits race of perpetrator
posted at 1:23 pm on September 21, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
Credit where credit is due. And credit is due to the unnamed writer of a news release at 4 New York, the website of NBC affiliate WNBC. The reporter faithfully acknowledged that New York City police are searching for a 350-pound slasher who committed a hate crime against a gay man at a Greenwich Village branch of the fast food chain, McDonald’s. Under the guise of political correctness, the reporter could have omitted mention of the perpetrator’s weight on the grounds that it discriminates against people who are big-boned and/or suffer from hypothyroidism.
The writer still gets brownie points from the PC police for excluding any reference to the slasher’s race. (Yes, the webpage includes a photo inset from a security video that shows the man is black, but the rules of journalism—which trump the rules of political correctness—dictate that that information appear in print.)
In its own coverage of the incident, myfoxny.com does mention the suspect’s race but not until paragraph seven, which includes other salient physical characteristics, such as his age (between 35 and 40) and height (5’9″ to 5’10”).
The incident began around 7 p.m. on Thursday. Eyewitnesses claim that the suspect began hurling anti-gay verbal insults at the victim, a 22-year-old male. The situation escalated, then turned physical. At length, the suspect produced a razor blade and slashed the victim’s face, back, neck, and elbow before fleeing. The victim was treated for his injuries at Bellevue Hospital and released.
It is worth mentioning that the McDonald’s where this incident occurred has been the site of previous violence, including another anti-gay run-in in March.
As for the integrity of the news articles cited herein, at some point, it needs to be explained to the journalistic community that racial profiling is a problem only when a suspect’s identity is unknown. Once it is known, a failure to include it or attempt to bury amounts to journalistic malpractice.
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