A reporter for one of America’s most important newspapers on Thursday likened Confederate leaders to terrorists and suggested there is only one legitimate position on the issue of Confederate statues that dot the South.
Wesley Lowery, whose title at The Washington Post is national reporter, rejected the idea that there is more than one acceptable position in the contentious debate.
“For a long time, for years, for decades, there’s been a conversation that we’ve had in political spaces where we like to ‘both-sides’ this story,” he said on CNN. “Well, is this erasing history? No, I mean, in our nation, we don’t have statues of terrorists all over the place, and in other contexts, we don’t have a statue of the two men who shot up Columbine outside of a high school. Why? Because that would be deeply offensive and insane.”
Lowery was responding to President Donald Trump’s tweet on Thursday defending the monuments. The Confederate generals, Lowery said, “committed treason and … wanted to enslave and keep enslaved black Americans. And the president here is erasing any ambiguity about where he stands on that.”
Economist Stephen Moore, who advised Trump’s campaign, found the argument so outrageous that he sidestepped an unrelated question during a different segment to respond to Lowery.
“That is so offensive … To basically say that half the country, which fought for the South in the Civil War, was a gang of terrorists is really, truly rewriting history,” he said.
Rich Noyes, director of research at the watchdog Media Research Center, told LifeZette that Lowery’s comments display a stunning lack of objectivity by a journalist whose job description is to report the news.
“For a columnist, that would be inflammatory language that’s hard to justify,” he said. “But a reporter should be using neutral language that doesn’t further inflame the situation.”
Noyes said the erosion of objectivity in the American press has been occurring for many years but accelerated during the Trump campaign and presidency. He pointed to a front-page story in The New York Times in which journalists openly stated that Trump was too dangerous to treat with the traditional objectivity of journalism.
But Noyes said the media have tried to delegitimize opposing views on other issues, such as climate change, same-sex marriage, and transgendered people in the military. He said it hurts media credibility and betrays a distrust of the public.
“They don’t trust the public to accept both sides and come to the right conclusion,” he said. “They need to rig the coverage to point them to the right solution.”
(photo credit, homepage image: Billy Hathorn; photo credit, article image: Tim Evanson, Flickr)