NY Times reporter suggests media concern over Russian invasion of Ukraine demonstrates racial ‘bias’


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New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones on Sunday offered a startling take on the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its media coverage.

The 1619 Project author commented on a local writer’s description of “incidents of insidious racism” in the media, saying the concern was only for “blonde-haired, blue-eyed Europeans”.

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The largest Ukrainian national flag flies in Kyiv on February 26, 2022.
(GENIA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Hannah-Jones agreed with the author on the “racialized” analysis.

“Every journalist covering Ukraine should really, really look inside. That’s why I say we should stop pretending we’re objective and recognize our biases so we can call them out. Many of us see the analysis and racialized language,” Hannah-Jones tweeted.

She also added that the “shock confession” for Ukraine suggests racial bias due to a lack of attention to non-white nations.

“And honestly, this shock admission that this is happening in a European country is ahistorical and also serves to justify the lack of sympathy for other invasions, other occupations and other refugee crises. [sic] involving people not considered white,” Hannah-Jones added.

When a Twitter user criticized her take and her timing, she replied, “This is absolutely ridiculous. Shouldn’t journalists focus on improving their real-time coverage?”

A woman stands with other activists during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House in Washington, DC on February 25, 2022. ( Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman stands with other activists during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine during a rally in Lafayette Square across from the White House in Washington, DC on February 25, 2022. ( Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
(MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

She followed up with an additional tweet saying it was “geopolitical fiction to separate [Europe] from Asia” so that an invasion could be “a dog whistle to tell us that we should care because they are like us”.

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Still, she insisted: “To be clear: we should care about Ukraine. But not because it’s European, or that people look white, or that they’re ‘civilized’ and not ‘impoverished’. All people deserve to be free and to be welcomed when their country is at war.”

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones signs books for her followers before taking the stage to discuss her new book, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, with Los Angeles Times Editor Kevin Merida at an LA Times Book Club event on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.  (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 30: Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones signs books for her followers before taking the stage to discuss her new book, The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, with Los Angeles Times Editor Kevin Merida at an LA Times Book Club event on Tuesday, November 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
(Jason Armond/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Hannah-Jones frequently made controversial statements on her Twitter account, sometimes deleting them later. Her 1619 project was also heavily criticized as a distorted and inaccurate portrayal of history despite Hannah-Jones winning the Pulitzer Prize for her work.

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