racist caricature of an Asian in news coverage of a New York prison escape.A journalism educator who co-authored four editions of a Newsroom Ethics Workbook is questioning the lack of context in the use of a
Convicted killers Richard Matt and David Sweat escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in New York Friday, leaving behind a post-it with a drawing of a bucktooth Asian wearing a cone shaped hat and the notation “have a nice day.”
CBS News described the note as racially offensive, and showed it. NBC after first showing the note in full, later described it as “racist” and blurred the image. ABC News also showed the note, but did not characterize the note or comment on its content.
“There may be times when racially charged images or utterances are news and should be shown,” said Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute to AsAmNews. “But in these cases, none of the journalists explained why the image was important.
“What did it mean to show an Asian insult?
“Who were they insulting and why?”
AsAmNews contacted ABC, CBS and NBC, but has not heard back.
Tompkins cautioned the issue needs to be kept in perspective.
“There are FAR more important issues to spend our energy on in this case including the utter breakdown of security,” said Tompkins. “The cartoon distracts us from that with no reason to do so.”
Paul Cheung, president of the Asian American Journalists Association, also did not respond to an AsAmNews inquiry.
However, two members of AAJA’s Media Watch committee confirmed it is looking into the matter. One said the committee will release its statement today.