New York Times Calls Bloomberg Claim Of Racial Bias ‘Absurd’

The New York Times pushed back on Tuesday against New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s accusation that the paper is racially biased in its coverage of violence. 

During a speech on Tuesday at city police headquarters, Bloomberg levied criticism against the Times for denouncing the city’s stop-and-frisk program but not reporting on the recent murder of a young black man from the Bronx, according to the New York Post.

Bloomberg told the story of Alphonza Bryant, a 17-year-old Bronx resident who was shot and killed last week. Then the mayor pointed his criticism at civil liberties groups and the New York Times. 

“He was just a victim of too many guns on our streets,” Bloomberg said. “But after his murder there was no outrage from the Center for Constitutional Rights or the NYCLU. There was not even a mention of his murder in our papers, our paper of record, the New York Times. ‘All the news that’s fit to print’ did not include the murder of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant. Do you think that if a white, 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, the Times would have ignored it? Me neither.”

A spokeswoman for Times called Bloomberg’s claim of bias “absurd.”

“Mayor Bloomberg is trying to deflect criticism of the City’s stop-and-frisk practice by accusing The New York Times of bias,” said Danielle Rhoades Ha, the Times’ communications director, in a written statement. “Among those critical of the practice is The New York Times editorial board, which is separate from the news side of the newspaper. The Times aggressively covers violence in the city’s neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous. His claim of racial bias is absurd.”

The New York Daily News covered the shooting in an article published on April 23. And Capital New York pointed out that Times columnist Joe Nocera mentioned the shooting in a blog post. The post linked to the Daily News’ report on the shooting, which a Bloomberg adviser wrote on Twitter “doesn’t exactly cut it.”

See video of Bloomberg’s remarks over at New York magazine

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Taintor is a news editor at Talking Points Memo. Previously, he worked at NBC News and Adweek. He’s a native of Minnesota. Reach him at taintor@talkingpointsmemo.com.

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