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SPJ leaders: Dick Morris just doesn't get it

For Immediate Release

Clint Brewer, President, (615) 301-9229, cbrewer@spj.org
Alyson Ahrns, SPJ Communications Department, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210, aahrns@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – Political commentator Dick Morris’ assertion that the Society of Professional Journalists’ diversity guidelines are an effort to downplay the war on terrorism is ludicrous, SPJ leaders say.

In Morris’ newest book, “Fleeced,” he references SPJ’s adoption of a resolution that urges members and fellow journalists to take steps against racial profiling in their coverage of the war on terrorism. The resolution was adopted during SPJ’s 2001 convention in Seattle, just one month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Morris erroneously wrote that the resolution was adopted in 2007.

Morris’ book says that these guidelines are just one way mainstream media is drawing attention away from the war on terror in an effort “to elect Democrats,” “protect (our) idea of ‘civil rights’” and to “tiptoe around minorities.”

“These guidelines were developed in an effort to help journalists produce fair and balanced stories during one of the most tragic times in our country’s history. And we stand by them today,” SPJ President Clint Brewer said. “We encourage journalists to always present a fair and accurate picture of all ethnic communities regardless of the story they are covering. It’s just good reporting.

“If Mr. Morris truly believes that printing wholesale inaccuracies about race and religion are valuable tools in the fight against terrorism, I guess we should be thankful he is merely a commentator and no longer advising our country’s leaders,” Brewer said.

To read the guidelines, and to learn more about SPJ’s efforts in diversifying coverage and sources, please visit our Web site at www.spj.org/diversity.asp.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For further information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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