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Joint Statement from NABJ and JAWS on the President’s Treatment of ‘PBS Newshour’s’ White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) stand firmly against President Trump’s unacceptable treatment of “PBS Newshour’s” White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor.

When Alcindor pressed Trump at a March 29 briefing about his statement that some states might not need as many medical ventilators as they had requested to treat COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) patients, Trump interrupted her several times and told her “Be nice. Don’t be threatening.”

A couple of weeks ago, he also called Alcindor’s question “nasty” when she asked him about the closing of the pandemic response unit within the National Security Council in 2018.

Alcindor has been speaking truth to power in White House briefings long before COVID-19 spread throughout the United States.

As far back as November 2018, Trump leveled verbal abuse at Alcindor along with fellow Black women journalists Abby Phillip of CNN and April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks. NABJ condemned these attacks in a statement here and JAWS condemned these attacks in a statement here. Both groups have noted the president’s pattern of using demeaning language toward women journalists of color and other journalists.

It is not the job of journalists to be “nice,” but to hold public officials accountable, a role that cannot be understated when misinformation runs rampant at White House briefings on the deadly pandemic that threatens hundreds of thousands of lives.

“In these extraordinary times for our country, it is imperative that journalists ask the tough questions of our elected officials on behalf of a public that is in need of critical information for their lives,” said JAWS President Mira Lowe. “Berating or demeaning journalists is objectionable and uncalled for. We stand solidly behind Yamiche and other women journalists who are pressing on and doing their jobs despite the attacks on them.”

“Now more than ever our communities need facts and the truth. Yamiche and her colleagues are working hard to stand true to the principles of journalism, and to acquire and share the information that we all need to overcome this pandemic as a collective unit,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker. “The president’s attacks against her and others are not only unnecessary but demeaning and inappropriate. They are a distraction during a critical time in all of our lives. We applaud Yamiche and all journalists who are pressing forward in service to the public despite what they are facing. We again call for the president to stop the mistreatment of journalists.”

JAWS supports the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism and works toward a more accurate portrayal of the whole society.

NABJ is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides innovative, quality programs and services, while advocating on behalf of Black journalists worldwide.

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