Crime Cover-Up in D.C.
Report; Posted on: 2006-09-25 11:03:39

No mention of race

By Cliff Kincaid

When I took journalism, I was told that a reporter seeks out who, what, when, where, why and how. Listen to the radio version

There is terrorism in Baghdad but a criminal gang problem has also been plaguing our nation's capital. In an officially declared "crime emergency," black criminals had been robbing, assaulting, and even raping tourists in the National Mall area, where the Washington Monument and the World War II and Lincoln Memorials stand. This is an area that had been considered safe and "tourist-friendly."

Three young black men were arrested for these crimes, but you could search in vain in the local media for any reference to their skin color. Instead, they were described as "D.C. youths" or just "five people."

Stories about the National Mall arrests in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, NBC-4, WTOP, WUSA-9, and the Associated Press all failed to provide readers information about the race of the perpetrators.

The same kind of coverage was on display when a jewelry store employee in Georgetown, a mostly white area of D.C., was shot by "assailants" on August 20. The Post said, "Police described two suspects as men in their thirties. One was in an orange turtleneck and a dark sweatshirt. The other was pulling a wheeled suitcase with a duffel bag on top."

There was no mention of their race. An NBC-4 story, however, noted that "The perpetrators are described as dark-complexioned black men, possibly in their mid-30s. One of them was wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt and an orange turtleneck."

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