The Paula Deen Effect-“Yellow Journalism” at its finest

The news industry is not perfect, and working in the newsroom I understand and witness firsthand the shortcomings of the media. This week, I was reminded why its important for the media to not just focus on the sensationalized aspect of a story, but to instead be sure to develop all sides of the story so that our viewers will receive a complete view and then use that information to make a judgement.

By now, you’ve all heard that big named corporations such as, Wal-Mart, Smithfield, Home Depot, and Target have dropped Paula Deen, thee southern, white- haired, blue eyed, woman who will fry up butter so good you don’t even know it until your arteries are clogged! Swirling around media outlets are reports that claim Paula Deen commonly used to the “N-word” to reference her employees, and even wished to see the black employees in a “slave like” setting where black men and women dressed in black and white would serve her dinner party.

Yet, many media outlets are only choosing to report the use of the N-word as the main reason why Paula Deen has come under fire. This incomplete story does nothing except give people the idea that her corporation has taken a loss because of her use of racial slurs. When indeed it is more than that. She is being accused of unfairly treating black employees by discriminating with lower wages, and non promotion vs their white counterparts. This case is about discrimination based on the color of their skin. Although you might be “insensitive” to the use of the “N-word” imagine going to work in those conditions where not only does your boss hurls racial insults at you but also treats you as a second class employee not equal to those who instead happen to be different only based on the color of their skin. I’ve looked at literally hundreds of post where sympathizers are comparing Deen’s use of the word to a rapper, or saying, “well she’s from the deep south that’s how it is there”. While these comments make me want to completely jump out of my skin I know primarily its due to ignorance, many people don’t know the truth behind Paula’s actions, and need to understand that this goes far beyond a word that is still hurtful and inflicts pain when used in certain circumstances. I will not debate the use of “N-word”, but I am frustrated at the media’s refusal to tell the complete story leaving viewers with a limited view of the truth.

So please journalist! Lets do our part and not just focus on the most “sensationalized” position of the story. We are reducing alleged racial employment practices to the use of the word “nigger”. Let’s tell the entire story, so that everyone can then make an informed decision with all the facts in hand.

Take a look at a piece that got it right!

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/26/dining/paula-deens-words-ripple-among-southern-chefs.html?pagewanted=all

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