LAT Executive Editor: The Term 'Looting' is Racist, Journalists Becoming Activists is 'For The Better'

Ryan Foley | June 10, 2020
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Appearing on Tuesday's edition of PBS NewsHour, Los Angeles Times Executive Editor Norman Pearlstine, talked about how "one of the active debates we had over the past week was about the use of the word 'looting' to describe the destruction of the property." According to Pearlstine, "the feeling among the black journalists at The Los Angeles Times, who frankly educated the rest of us that looting had a pejorative, racist connotation, and that comparing it to the kind of behavior of the police and the kind of behavior that we witnessed really was a false equivalency and yet it was one that we were making as journalists if you picked...up a copy of our paper." Dorothy Tucker, the President of the National Association of Black Journalists, argued that the term "riot" was also racist. Host Judy Woodruff pondered whether "this traditional idea in the press of neutrality" should go by the wayside in favor of speaking with "moral clarity" on the issue of race even if that means "expressing an opinion." Pearlstine agreed: "I think there is some parallel to during the Vietnam period when journalists like David Halberstam were certainly letting their opinions into their journalism and I think it was for the better."