Last week Fox News aired a five-minute segment from self-proclaimed political humorist Jesse Watters in which he took his man-on-the-street journalistic approach to Chinatown, New York.
Watching the segment was painful. Watching innocent people who didn’t know they were being mocked was painful. Listening to Watter’s exploit almost every single Asian stereotype was painful. But that’s just it- it’s painful, but not illegal. It may be wrong in my eyes, but to the people of Fox News, it was meant to be a light piece.
Watch it here.
There are plenty of lines that exist in the journalism world, but what is and what isn’t considered journalism is far too subjective for it to be black and white. And who’s to say what black and white even is? It’s no surprise this segment was the result of Fox News. But does that make Fox News the villain? If anything, their only crime was trying to guise this piece as a political news story when really it was more of an Ashton Kutcher “Punk’d” kind of deal.
It was offensive, but everything Fox News says is offensive to almost everyone at some point unless you are a middle-to-upper-class white male in their mid-thirties to mid-seventies.
This segment lacked class, understanding, empathy, but it was still Watters’ choice of journalism. I don’t think we can say it’s not journalism, because at its core these types of segments are often the most effective and real methods of journalism. It is however, highly inappropriate and misleading. I wish I could have just told everyone in Chinatown to ignore this man completely. In my opinion, this is a perfect example of how a newsroom poorly handles the topic of race in the media. Being a major news outlet should come with the understanding that there is a certain level of authority they hold, and that should be used for the betterment of society, not as a platform to express perpetual undertones of racism. I mean, should this be okay?