Stelter: How to report on racists without fanning the flames
As journalists fan out to cover a hate group gathering on the one-year anniversary of the mayhem in Charlottesville, some are asking themselves: What’s the responsible way to report on racists?
As I wrote in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter, I think there is widespread agreement that journalists shouldn’t just hand over the mic to white supremacists for an unedited, unchallenging interview.
But how should newsrooms approach these stories? Al Tompkins, a veteran faculty member at The Poynter Institute, said his main notion “is that no problem, including racism or hate, gets smaller by ignoring it.”
Similarly, I tend to err on the side of “expose the racists” instead of “deny them oxygen.” But this is a really complicated issue. Some researchers and reporters say that the mere act of covering extremists can cause harm.