Green Room

News report of McDonald’s razor attack omits race of perpetrator

posted at 1:23 pm on September 21, 2012 by

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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Comments

Look, this is all well and good, but what they really omitted from the report…

How large was the soda this guy was drinking??

CurtZHP on September 21, 2012 at 2:46 PM

This is SOP in California on the “news.”

PattyJ on September 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Isn’t the man’s race part of the description of the suspect that would actually help police find him? Oh, and help citizens to know who to be on the lookout for and to avoid in order to protect themselves from? There are a lotta big guys out there of different colors …

stukinIL4now on September 21, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I don’t see the harm in not reporting his race. After all, it serves the greater good to hide from gays the fact that black people are more hostile to homosexuality than other voting bl–uh, I mean racial groups.

mintycrys on September 21, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Noting the race of the assailant would eliminate the natural assumption that it was a middle aged angry white man in a tri-cornered hat carrying a Bible.

Brian Ross, call on line 1.

Brian1972 on September 21, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Sounds like myfoxny mentioned it exactly the way it should be–along with other physical characteristics that would help identify the person. It doesn’t matter much more than that. Perhaps I’m reading into it too much, Howard, but it sounds like you think the suspect’s race should be mentioned earlier in the article.

Mohonri on September 21, 2012 at 3:46 PM

It sounds like you think the suspect’s race should be mentioned earlier in the article.

I do, but not just because he’s black. It’s standard journalistic practice. In a crime story, you provide key information about the perpetrator as early as possible so that readers (many of whom won’t read the story through to the end) get whatever information is available that may help them help the police.

Howard Portnoy on September 21, 2012 at 4:18 PM

It would be good if conservatives of ALL stripes, even the strongest social conservatives, were to condemn these attacks in the strongest terms.

njcommuter on September 21, 2012 at 5:55 PM

Maybe the alleged attacker was just outraged by some statement related to religion made by a gay person at some point in the past.

malclave on September 21, 2012 at 6:42 PM

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.

Amen.

Same goes for when party affiliation is conveniently omitted in political scandal reporting when it involves a pol with a “D.”

Captain Scarlet on September 21, 2012 at 6:45 PM

Howard Portnoy on September 21, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Howard, the media would be comfortable with describing all perps as looking like the pic Facebook uses when you don’t provide a jpeg.

BigAlSouth on September 21, 2012 at 8:00 PM


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