Responsible Media Consumption: Shame On The New York Times

The New York Times is yet again using its massive platform to promote bigotry and hatred. In a fawning piece about pro-genocide conservative Ben Shapiro, who has built a career branding his violent bigotry as an intellectual rebuke of “PC culture,” the largest daily newspaper in the United States of America portrayed Shapiro’s transphobia in a disturbingly positive light.

Apparently unsatisfied with just profiling a Nazi sympathizer who does not identify as such, The New York Times decided to keep the ball rolling with a fun piece on an out-and-proud Nazi organizer, because Nazis are the ones we truly need to be sympathizing with in the age of Trump.

Though I am endlessly disgusted, I am not surprised whatsoever. The New York Times has a history of promoting transphobia and racism in a misguided pursuit of “balance” between liberal and conservative voices, as if believing that transgender people are real and valid is simply an “opinion,” as if marginalized bodies are abstract concepts and what you say about us has no effect on our lives.

And it’s not just The New York Times. The Washington Post recently published a wildly inaccurate op-ed attacking Virginia Delegate-elect Danica Roem solely on the basis of her being a transgender woman. These are not isolated incidents.

It is tiring to call out major media outlets like The Washington Post and The New York Times for their constant promotion of bigotry and ignorance. Given that they advertise themselves as the saviors of truth in a time of fake news, you’d think their editors would have some commitment to the truth when it comes to writing about marginalized identities; but that’s simply not the case. Dangerous lies and easily deconstructed arguments are published without any regard for the reality of our lived experiences or the basic truth.

This is, of course, all in the name of “unbiased” journalism.

Nonsense.

If these publications truly cared about being unbiased, they would hold their columnists and subjects accountable for their words. They would fact-check and refuse to publish falsehoods about marginalized identities. They would understand that having an opinion doesn’t warrant said opinion being given a platform.

It’s clear that marginalized voices will not be listened to on this matter. The New York Times and The Washington Post care more about elevating big bigoted names like Ben Shapiro than protecting marginalized bodies by telling the truth about us.

So what can we do to combat this issue? Consume news responsibly.

The New York Times neither needs nor deserves your money. You know who does? The Root. Wear Your Voice. AFROPUNK. Peacock Panache. Leftist news outlets that promote marginalized voices and hold bigotry accountable. That genuinely care about the truth and how important it is for marginalized bodies.

This isn’t to say that you have to stop reading The New York Times or The Washington Post. They still do important work that deserves praise and is absolutely necessary for our democracy. But they also do immense harm through their terrible reporting on marginalized identities. Instead of paying for their irresponsible journalism, you can support marginalized writers who do essential work combatting the harm caused by people like The New York Times‘ beloved Ben Shapiro.

No matter how much dirt they dig up on Donald Trump, these media institutions will not save us, or even necessarily help us. To them, marginalized bodies are a tool, an “opinion” that can be profited from. Don’t let them profit off of our pain. Cancel your subscriptions, and start supporting the folks who really need it.

Jordan Valerie is a cinephile, filmmaker, journalist, political activist, and proud queer woman of color dedicated to civil rights, civic engagement, diversity, and watching at least a movie a week.

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