Reuters Publishes Slavery Reparations Shaming Piece Disguised as Investigative Journalism

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Sharyl Attkisson is an award-winning investigative reporter who walked away from a high-paying job at CBS in no small part because of a “slant” in reporting. She had numerous stories spiked because her facts didn’t fit the narrative. In her book “Slanted,” she details a number of stories that producers refused to air because Attkisson didn’t toe the line or slant language to cast a negative light. It’s only gotten worse.

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In modern newsrooms, stories will make it to print (or broadcast) if they fit a left-leaning slant. And those stories will be written with a particular linguistic framing in mind. On Tuesday, Reuters published a 1619 Project-like shaming piece on America’s political class who have slave-owning ancestors.

Bylined by a team of six people, the article titled “America’s Family Secret” runs over 7,000 words. It is heritage shaming disguised as investigative reporting. The intent is clear – show America that its political class is top-heavy with descendants of slave owners. They (and, by extension, you, America) should be shamed and ashamed. Shamed into reparations. The article is a demand for reparations masked as investigative journalism.

Reuters tells us that, for instance, five of the six living presidents had ancestors who were slave owners. But there are six living presidents – who doesn’t have slave-holding ancestors? Donald Trump. Barack Obama is descended from slave owners. There are two Supreme Court Justices, 11 Governors, and 100 legislators, “descended from ancestors who enslaved black people.”

From Reuters:

The Reuters examination is different. It focuses on the most powerful U.S. officeholders of today, many of whom have staked key positions on policies related to race. It reveals for the first time, in breadth and in detail, the extent of those leaders’ ancestral connections to what’s commonly called America’s “original sin.” And it explores what it may mean for them to learn – in personal, specific and sometimes graphic ways – the facts behind their own kin’s part in slavery.

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Further down, Reuters lays out graphics with individual profiles like a rogue’s gallery. It shows photos of legislators, their ancestral link to slavery, and the number of slaves held by the ancestor. The way Reuters frames the link is part of the story and the slant.

In a section titled “Remaining Silent,” Reuters’ lede reads:

Members of Congress often speak proudly of their ancestries, highlighting long ties to the places they serve or offering a family story emblematic of the American Dream.

Directly below the lede, Reuters tells us that Tom Cotton’s great-great-great grandfather (on his mother’s side) held six slaves 173 years ago. Reuters tells the reader that Cotton was asked five times for comment and “did not respond.” The framing is clear. Cotton is a slave-owning descendant and refused to comment (i.e., condemn his ancestors). Cotton is proud of his family’s history, Reuters tells us, thus insinuating that Tom Cotton must also be proud of long-since-dead, slave-owning ancestors.

There are other legislators highlighted, like Democrat Tammy Duckworth. Her link is even more attenuated. A Great-great-great-great-great-grandfather had four slaves 193 years ago. Duckworth, as you might have guessed, was willing to accept her guilt and family shame. She said:

But I think it’s a disservice to our nation and our history to walk away from this. If I am going to claim – and be proud that – I am a Daughter of the American Revolution, then I have to acknowledge that I am also a daughter of people who enslaved other people.

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Reuters even has a side note quoting Ben Affleck, who was “embarrassed” by his ancestorial link to slavery. Affleck pressured producers of a PBS show to scrub any mention of his ancestor from a genealogy show as if it never happened.

What is the point? Reuter’s point isn’t veiled. It’s a shaming piece intended to pressure lawmakers into considering slavery reparations. Lawmakers are reminded by Reuters that they had slave-owning ancestors and they should compensate the descendants of slaves. But why?

My family on my mother’s side owned slaves. On my father’s side, I have a long list of men who fought for the North, and no one owned a slave. One of them ended up a prisoner in Andersonville and was crippled for life.

A counter-argument to Reuters is this: Any former American slave should be compensated. But there are none still living. Not one. In fact, there are no children of former slaves. There are, to my knowledge, no grandchildren of former slaves. No living American-owned slaves. No one living was enslaved. Although Reuters spent 7,000 words shaming living legislators with long-since dead ancestors, there is one salient indisputable fact: No one living owned slaves or was enslaved.

Reuters spent a lot of words and expensive graphics, shaming the living for the sins of people they never knew. Reuters shamed the living with the lives and sins of, in many cases, a great-great-great-great-grandfather’s sins. Instead of bringing America together, Reuters, like most of the media, wants to divide with race and a call for reparations. To what end?

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A California commission recently proffered the absurd conclusion that a state that wasn’t a slave state should, by one estimate, pay black residents close to a trillion dollars — around a quarter-million per person. Articles like Reuters’ Tuesday reparations take are slanted to shame Americans and legislators into paying for sins that no one living ever committed and no one living ever suffered.

Reuters concluded with a subhead that read: “A Better Nation.”

We are. Immensely so. But that isn’t Reuters’ framing. It’s more shaming. We are six or seven generations removed from slavery. And, regardless of what Joe Biden claims, we are several generations removed from Jim Crow. Reuters doesn’t want to move on. Most Americans do.

Ben Affleck is rich. Ask him to pay for something he never did.

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