Radio Atlantic: How to Cover Racist Tweets

Margaret Brennan, the moderator of CBS’s Face the Nation, joins the Atlantic staff writer Isaac Dovere to discuss the president’s attacks on four congresswomen and the media’s response.

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On Sunday, President Donald Trump told four members of Congress to “go back” to the countries “from which they came.”

Journalists have spent the week working through how to discuss what is a textbook racist statement aimed at four congresswomen who—besides all being American citizens—are all women of color.

Newsrooms faced hard questions: Do you call the president a racist? How do you not call the president a racist? Do you give him the attention he wants, and how do you modulate that, contextualize it, explain it?

Margaret Brennan, the moderator of CBS’s Face the Nation, joins Isaac Dovere on this week’s Radio Atlantic to discuss how journalists are faring with these questions and what we can expect going into 2020.

Listen for:

  • When Trump tweeted Sunday morning, how did she think through coverage with only two hours before Face the Nation aired?

  • Why the debate in newsrooms about how to characterize Trump’s tweets reminded Brennan of how the Clinton White House parsed the term genocide in its response to Rwanda

  • How does she cover the administration when the president’s words contradict the reality on tape?