Pointergate: This Week’s Most Racist Local News Story

KTSP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was recently participating in a neighborhood charity event aimed at boosting voter participation, when she stopped to pose in a photo with a volunteer named Navell Gordon. In said photo, Hodges and Navell point at each other.

Pretty typical stuff, and material for, at most, a quick news anecdote highlighting the mayor’s community involvement. But Navell happens to be a young black man, a fact that must have something to with what happened next: Newscasters at KSTP, the local ABC affiliate, took the innocuous photo and quickly warped it into an exclusive report accusing Hodges of “posing with a convicted felon while flashing a known gang sign” and thereby instigating violence in their fair city.

In the same report, KSTP goes on to admit there is zero evidence Navell actually belongs to a gang. But they’re certain he has “connections to gang members.”

“She’s putting cops at risk,” retired police officer Michael Quinn told the station. “The fact that they’re flashing gang signs at each other, showing solidarity with the gangs, she’s legitimizing what they’re doing. She’s legitimizing these people who are killing our children in Minneapolis.”

Here’s a tweet from the story’s reporter promoting the piece before it aired.

KTSP has so far stood by the report, but issued a statement claiming Minneapolis police fed the item to them.

The story is infuriating. But just to drive the point of how insanely racist KTSP’s report truly is, watch the video below in which Navell discusses his involvement with non-profits like Neighborhoods Organizing for Change and how he’s working to move on from his past.

“I made some mistakes in life,” he says, while footage appears of him and Hodges posing for the photo in question. “I can’t vote. I’m not ashamed to say that. But I’m working on fixing that right now so I can be able to vote for my next president.”

Next up for KTSP? Well, word surfaced today that Obama is likely to tap US Attorney Loretta Lynch as the nation’s next attorney general. Perhaps the station should stage a timely investigation into her gang affiliations, given this shocking photo:

AP/Seth Wenig

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest