Should Journalists Have Opinions?

Answer: Yes, they should.


After the chaotic “debate” Tuesday night between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, people tweeted their condemnation of Trump’s interruptions, attacks against Biden and Chris Wallace’s lack of control moderating the debate. Soledad O’Brien, a renown journalist, tweeted her disappointment in Wallace saying this:

O’Brien is one of the few journalists I see on social media speaking up on bad journalism (i.e. “both-sidsing,” stenography, asking “yes/no” questions) and correcting it. She tells her opinions but backs them up with facts. Which brings me to this tweet by fellow journalist Jeff Butera, who authored the book Write Like You Talk.” In his book, he teaches broadcast reporters how to write in a more conversational tone instead of heavy formalities. Like his book, my former journalism professors also taught me proper broadcast writing and presenting.

But his tweet about journalists telling their opinions on social media stood out to me. He said:

My broadcast professor also gave me this advice. Before graduating, I deleted all social media posts that had opinions, political views and curse words. Though my social media posts were relatively mild, I wanted employment as a journalist and quickly deleted them. Now, I’m rethinking why I did that (minus the curse words). The 2016 election was the first time my generation got to vote and it really opened up our eyes about our country. We are more aware now of how elections, in all levels of government, impact our lives. Everything from institutional racism to climate change affects us, especially non-white citizens.

I now view objectivity in journalism as a privilege for mainly white journalists. These issues do not affect them as much as minority groups. They can empathize but lack the connection to stories that do not impact them. I see black journalists express difficulty reporting killings of black people by police officers and how they must remain numb in order to report the story. Hispanic journalists having to mind their opinions when covering child separation at the border or DACA. That is not okay. To me, that reflects the lack of racial/ethnic diversity in newsrooms and their connection to the community.

We are way past the neutrality of journalism. This current administration proves it. Lies and disinformation coming from the white house go unchecked. Trump attacks the press, threatens retaliation and does not respect the rule of law. Yet, we are still expected to report on him as if his presidency is normal. Calling his statements lies, is not partisan. Providing context along with his lies is not partisan. Asking well-researched, open-ended questions is not partisan. Calling out racism, is not partisan. It’s reality.

Journalists are storytellers who clarify the news. It’s time we let go of that industry standard.

Racism-apologist Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron

Here lies a man who sold his soul

Yesterday, I learned that the grand jury in Jefferson county Kentucky indicted one officer involved in killing Breonna Taylor. There’s just one problem: It was an indictment for damaging her neighbors’ apartment…NOT her death. Adding more fuel to the fire, Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the officers were justified in killing Breonna Taylor and that he will not pursue more charges. As a result, Louisville and the rest of the country are protesting and rioting in righteous anger.

The entire events of Breonna Taylor’s case made me angry, but Daniel Cameron’s klan-apologist behavior made me more enraged! How can he sleep at night? He chose his job instead of justice. He doesn’t deserve to be attorney general. He doesn’t deserve to practice law and he DEFINITELY DOESN’T deserve to call himself a black man. It’s clear he doesn’t want to be. If he did, he wouldn’t crave the white approval he desperately grovels for. He got what he wanted: praise from Trump and his mentor Mitch McConnell. He got married this year, while Breonna Taylor got death, slander and debate on whether her life mattered.

Daniel Cameron also said in the press conference that “celebrities, influencers and activists” will condemn his ruling…he’s right. He saw the condemnation of his actions before he made the press conference, because he knew he was wrong. He knew his was selling his conscience. I expect this callous act of injustice from racist whites, but not one of my own. It hurts deeply seeing someone who decides to be black when it’s convenient for him, blind himself to injustice in front of him.

Since Attorney Generals are “elected”, I hope the people of Kentucky vote him out. And for the black community, we should “vote” him out as well. Kick rocks Cameron!

Toni Childs is a bad friend

Played by actress Jill Marie Jones

The TV show “Girlfriends” premiered on Netflix earlier this month and fans like me were excited! Best of all? Seeing four beautiful, educated black women navigate their lives in dating, relationships, careers and personal struggles. I was a child when the show premiered in 2000, so I didn’t understand the jokes then. Now that I’m in my 20s, it all makes sense.

These friends were like sisters, but sometimes sisterhood is toxic. Whether it’s your sorority sisters, your blood relatives or your friends, it’s not always easy. We see this toxic character in Antoinette “Toni” Childs. She’s been friends with Joan since childhood and “specialize in results” as a real estate broker. She’s fabulous, yet narcissistic, selfish, materialistic and envious of anyone who does better than her. She is more of a frenemy than a friend.

From the pilot episode, her bad character shows when she dates Joan’s ex and brings him to Joan’s birthday party. She asked Joan if she was fine with it and Joan said yes, yet we clearly see that Joan was upset. This was who Joan thought she would marry, but the man said he wasn’t ready.

Toni only chased him because of his wealth and the gifts he would give her. For six seasons (I’m still binging the show), Toni doesn’t change her ways.

EXHIBITS C thru Z: She blamed Joan for breaking up her and Greg, when it was her fault. After that, she seduced Joan’s boyfriend in retaliation. She said Joan was envious of her for getting married, which was true, but Toni was rude about it. Anytime Joan needs support, she never listens to her and immediately wants to talk about herself. Joan needed a therapist to help her realize how Toni takes advantage of her.

Two episodes that really stood out to me on Toni’s narcissism are on season 4 episodes 13 and 14. This time she’s married to Todd –– a white, jewish doctor, who she bullies with her “short man” jokes. In episode 13 on valentine’s day, she completely ignores him, doesn’t buy him gifts and wants Joan to be miserable. Episode 14, she ignores Joan’s pleas for help on a charity auction, going to a book signing of a celebrity instead. She never donated to her auction, while the other girls did.

We all have a “Toni” in our lives. What do you with that kind of person? Cut them out of your life.