Leftist Activist Kelly McBride Masquerades As An Ethicist

Kelly McBride is a widely quoted journalism ethicist. She works for The Poynter Institute.

She describes herself thus: “Kelly spent 14 years covering saints and sinners in Spokane, Wash. Now she’s at Poynter, searching for the soul of American journalism.”

Here’s another description at the Poynter site: “Kelly McBride is Senior Faculty/Ethics at The Poynter Institute. She teaches journalists from around the world to strengthen their ethical decision-making skills and to improve their writing, reporting and editing skills.”

So you’d think she’d be careful before opining on an inflammatory case where few facts are known.

But you’d be wrong in this case.

Kelly’s inflammatory and irresponsible writing here illustrates how she and Poynter are leftist activists more interested in fomenting race hatred than in encouraging good journalism.

Kelly McBride writes for Poynter March 23: “How does a story about teenager’s illogical killing go from barely registering a mention in local newspapers to a national conversation? It’s carried by people who care — by family, by bloggers who fear for their own children and by communities with tools that connect them to each other for fortification, while they wait for someone to listen.”

Without knowing the important facts in the case, Kelly McBride has already made up her mind and is opining publicly in a case so incendiary that people may well die from protests regarding it. She writes that Trayvon Martin’s killing was “illogical” and that people who make that case “care” and “wait for someone to listen.”

Somebody to listen? This case has dominated the national news for days now.

I emailed Kelly: “Regarding your latest essay, how do you know that Trayvon’s killing was unjust? How do you know his killing was illogical? Why are you opining about the lack of justice in this case when so little is known about it? Are you more interested in fomenting racial hatred than in good and fair journalism?”

If I get a response, I will post it.

Kelly writes for Poynter: “Before social media came to dominate our lives, I’d like to believe that traditional media would have demanded justice for Trayvon. Certainly traditional newsrooms played a crucial role this past week. But it’s reassuring to know there are more people, with more tools, demanding justice.”

Kelly McBride has already made up her mind that Trayvon Martin did not receive justice. She’s banging the drums for a particular outcome in a case where we know nothing. By so doing, she’s fomenting the very racial hatred and social unrest that will likely kill innocent people just as the LA Riots did after the news media’s irresponsible editing of the Rodney King beating video to make it look like he was just a bloke driving while black until needlessly beaten by white police.

Kelly writes: “Think of the Jena Six, the story of six black teenagers unjustly prosecuted in 2007 for attempted murder following a fight that erupted as a result of racial tensions. Black bloggers kept that story alive until Howard Witt, then a writer for the Chicago Tribune, brought it into the mainstream media. That took almost a year.”

As Craig Franklin wrote in the Christian Science Monitor:

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side’s statements – the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they’d read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.

I just did a Google News search for “Kelly McBride.”

I found this about Al Sharpton:

“It certainly represents a change in our traditional view of the boundaries between journalism and activism,” said Kelly McBride, ethics group leader at the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. “Al Sharpton is clearly an activist.”

…McBride said she does not view Sharpton as a journalist and doubts that many viewers do. The reason MSNBC puts Sharpton on the air is because it wants to reach an audience that is interested in things that he is, she said.

“I’m not saying this is without problems,” she said. “I think it’s very confusing. But it’s certainly the way we are moving in the journalism industry.”

Activist Kelly McBride is calling Al Sharpton an activist? Pot, kettle, black.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
This entry was posted in Journalism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.