When Should Race Be Reported?

Published June 29, 2004

| FoxNews.com

A shooting on a New York City subway left one man dead last week — a violent crime not unusual in a big city. But what is different is how it was reported.

Two newspapers said police were looking for two "black men" and gave detailed descriptions of what they were reportedly wearing.

But The Associated Press reported a description of the suspects' clothing but not of their skin color.

The Associated Press wouldn't explain why the description of the suspects' race wasn't included but a spokesman told FOX News they follow established guidelines, which read:

"Identification by race is pertinent when it provides the reader with a substantial insight into conflicting emotions known or likely to be involved in a demonstration or similar event."

The media has often been blamed for letting political correctness and social sensitivity cloud the facts of a story. Bob Lichter of the Center for Media and Public Affairs (search) said a proper balance is important.

"It's good that journalists are racially sensitive, but you don't want racial sensitivity to trump basic factual reporting of the news," Lichter said.

Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Todd Connor.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/06/29/when-should-race-be-reported