Since When Is Reporting The Facts Irrelevant?

by John Hawkins | June 13, 2011 7:53 am

This Chicago Tribune[1] article should be disturbing to fair minded, non-ideological journalists who take their jobs seriously….which, of course, probably comprises a group of about half a dozen people across the whole United States.

This week the Chicago Tribune published several news stories and related columns about assaults by groups of youths in the Streeterville area of downtown Chicago. More coverage appears Sunday.

A number of readers have asked why we have not included racial descriptions of the assailants and the victims in these incidents.

By all indication, these attacks were motivated by theft, not race. Further, there is no evidence to suggest that the victims were singled out because of their race. Therefore we did not include racial descriptions in our initial news reports.

You can read these news reports by clicking on this link.

There are circumstances when race may be relevant, such as describing a criminal suspect being sought by police. But this description must be accompanied by other detailed information, such as height, weight, scars, clothing, etc. By adhering to this practice, we guard against subjecting an entire group of people to suspicion because of the color of their skin.

…We are sensitive to public concerns about safety on the streets of Chicago. We will continue to report on these attacks and the city’s response. At the same time, we will be measured and responsible about introducing racial descriptions into the coverage unless they are clearly pertinent and warranted.

Here’s the disturbing thing about this: if you care about unbiased journalism, which the Chicago Tribune certainly doesn’t, the paper is choosing to leave out facts that some of its audience considers relevant — and we know why.

The Chicago Tribune apparently believes that a significant slice of its readership will jump to the racist conclusion that ALL black Americans are criminals because some black Americans commit crimes. They say as much with this line,

By adhering to this practice, we guard against subjecting an entire group of people to suspicion because of the color of their skin.

So, if they believe that a large percentage of their readers are prone to jumping to racist conclusions and they believe that it’s their job to hold this information back, lest it influence those people, how else is that impacting their reporting?

Would they hold back a negative story about a black politician? Would they refuse to run a story that makes Barack Obama look bad? Would they refuse to print crime statistics that show black Americans, percentage-wise, commit crimes at a much higher rate than white Americans?

All of that seems plausible, doesn’t it?

So then you have to ask: What other politically correct groups get special protection from the Chicago Tribune? Single mothers, gays, transexuals, Hispanics, trial lawyers, unions, the homeless, radical Islamists, Democrats, liberals?

Once a newspapers stops reporting basic facts because they don’t believe the public can be trusted with the truth, the public can’t trust the news.

PS: Obviously, this doesn’t apply to classified documents.

  1. Chicago Tribune:,0,136289.story

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