Mayor Bloomberg raised eyebrows yesterday when he accused The New York Times of racial bias. He made the claim during a press conference defending the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk practice. He attempted to redirect attention to the media, claiming news outlets ignore black victims of gun violence while hypocritically criticizing stop-and-frisk.
He named The New York Times specifically, chiding them for not report the shooting death of 17-year old Alphonza Bryant in the Bronx last week. Bloomberg said:
“There was not even a mention of his murder in our paper of record, the New York Times. All the news that’s fit to print’ did not include the murder of 17-year-old Alphonza Bryant. Do you think that if a white, 17-year-old prep student from Manhattan had been murdered, the Times would have ignored it? Me neither. I believe that the life of every 17-year-old and every child and every adult is precious. […] The fact of the matter is, when police stop and ask a 17 year-old a question based on a reasonable suspicion of a crime, there is outrage, yet when a teenager coming home is shot … there is silence.”
Though The New York Times‘ Joe Nocera mentioned Bryant in an article about gun deaths, the murder was not reported on by the paper. The Times spokesperson, Danielle Rhoades, responded saying:
Mayor Bloomberg is trying to deflect criticism of the City’s stop-and-frisk practice by accusing The New York Times of bias. Among those critical of the practice is The New York Times editorial board, which is separate from the news side of the newspaper. The Times aggressively covers violence in the city’s neighborhoods, and to select one murder as evidence to the contrary is disingenuous. His claim of racial bias is absurd.
Mayor Bloomberg’s attack of The Times also comes off as a retaliation to the editorial board’s opposition to stop-and-frisk in past articles.