Politics

CBS News Affiliate Unduly Colors 4-Year-Old Black Boy as Violent

Tue., Aug. 2, 2011 7:59 AM EDT
by Kathleen Cross

The on-camera response of a 4-year-old boy who witnessed the shooting death of his 16-year-old neighbor was intentionally manipulated by WBBM-TV, the CBS affiliate in Chicago, to distort and pervert the meaning of the child’s words.

In a report about violence in the city, CBS aired a video in which a reporter asks the boy “What are you going to do when you get older?” The boy’s answer was, “I’m going to have me a gun!” CBS edited out the rest of the boy’s statement to make him appear to be an example of a young  black man prone to violence.

According to video obtained by the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the full interview went like this:

Reporter: “Boy, you ain’t scared of nothing! Damn! When you get older are you going to stay away from all these guns?”

Boy: “No.”

Reporter: “No? What are you going to do when you get older?”

Boy: “I’m going to have me a gun!”

Reporter: “You are! Why do you want to do that?”

Boy: “I’m going to be the police!”

CBS is under fire for what many are calling a clear violation of journalistic ethics. “This decision reveals a lack of understanding of the very basic tenets of journalism,” said Hagit Limor, president of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Read more (including CBS affiliate WBBM’s apology) at HuffingtonPost.com.

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