We've said it for years: It would be better for everyone if journalists dropped the thin veneer of objectivity and wrote exactly what they mean.
It'd save newsrooms time, and it'd let audiences know immediately what sort of story and author they're dealing with. If a journalist is convinced a certain comment is "racist," then write that. Don't insult readers with cute euphemisms and dainty phrasings.
The press's commitment to using veiled, coded language in place of saying what it really means is a charade anyway, and it's done in service of appearing above it all or emotionally detached from the issue.
Readers are not that stupid, and it is usually obvious what reporters really believe anyway.
We therefore applaud Columbia Journalism Review's Pete Vernon, who wrote this week that, "It's time for reporters" to label President Trump's words "racist."
"Dancing around it with euphemisms like 'racially charged' does a disservice to the cause of reporting accurately in consideration of the full context of Trump's words," he wrote.
Vernon added, "Opinion writers and columnists have long felt free to label Trump's words for what they are. Given the surfeit of evidence, of which his castigation of NFL players is only the latest piece, it's time for reporters to do the same."
CJR's editor-in-chief Kyle Pope said elsewhere on Twitter, "A year ago, big media orgs like the NYT faced facts and called Trump a liar on the front page. It's time to use the word racist, too."
We applaud Vernon and Pope not because we agree that Trump's words are "racist," but because we think it's time everyone in the media put their cards on the table.
If a reporter thinks the president said something racist, then write that and reproduce what the man said. Let the reader decide whether the assessment is fair.
It's clearly a judgment call if a journalist believes the president said something foul. That's fine. It may be unfair, and it may be accurate. That's not the point. The point is that it's better to say it outright than rely on mealy mouthed formulations like "… in what some critics say were racist remarks" or "the president today used racially charged language."
Out with it now! Say what you mean, and spare the reader the objectivity charade.
C.S. Lewis wrote in 1956 that the "whole art and joy of words" lies in the ability to, "say the very thing you really mean, the whole of it, nothing more or less or other than what you really mean."
Reporters and audiences can only benefit from newsrooms printing exactly what they mean. We're not fooling anyone with this objectivity nonsense anyway, so let's cut to the chase.