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The union representing more than 100 reporters, photographers, and other newsroom employees at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette issued a scathing rebuke of the paper's Monday editorial on its view of the effects of the immigration debate.
The editorial, headlined “Reason as racism: An immigration debate gets derailed,” claims the term “racist” is used too liberally. It begins:
Calling someone a racist is the new McCarthyism. The charge is pernicious. The accuser doesn’t need to prove it. It simply hangs over the accused like a great human stain.
It has become not a descriptive term for a person who believes in the superiority of one race over another, but a term of malice and libel — almost beyond refutation, as the words “communist” or “communist sympathizer” were in the 1950s.
It goes on to seemingly defend President Donald Trump's alleged remark that Haiti and certain African nations are “s**thole countries." "If he did [use that word],” the editorial board asks, “so what?”
If the president had used the world “hellhole” instead, would that have been racist?
If he had used the word “failed states,” would that have been racist?
But there are nations that are hellholes in this world. And there are failed states. It is not racist to say that this country cannot take only the worst people from the worst places and that we want some of the best people from the best places, many of which are inhabited by people of color. That’s not racism, it is reason.
The editorial concluded by saying, “We have to stop calling each other names in this country and battle each other with ideas and issues, not slanders.”
The Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, however, said it was so “appalled” by the piece's “mindless, sycophantic embrace of racist values and outright bigotry” that it would “be morally, journalistically, and humanly remiss not to speak out against it.”
The union that represents me and my newsroom colleagues submitted a letter to the editor denouncing the disgusting, racist editorial that ran in Monday's Post-Gazette.
Our publisher rejected the letter.
So here it is. pic.twitter.com/E2MubIylwf
— Julian Routh (@julianrouth) January 18, 2018
Julian Routh, a digital reporter at the paper, said its publisher, John Robinson Block, rejected the letter, so he posted it on Twitter. It reads in part:
This editorial is a blight on the 231 years of service the Post-Gazette has provided its readers. Over its long life, it has railed against racism and supported civil rights and justice for all. Given this history, the shameful and unconscionable editorial that ran on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, of all days, is an abomination that cannot go without condemnation from journalists committed to fairness, accuracy and decency.
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