By Chris Hoenig
Bill Cosby wants Black journalists to stay neutral in their reporting on sex-assault allegations against him.
The leading association of Black journalists has responded with a simple message: You get the same neutrality as anyone else, regardless of race or fame.
After Cosby made his plea last week in the New York Post, the head of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) told multiple outlets that its members will offer Cosby no special treatment in their coverage.
“This is not a color issue, this is a journalism issue. Black people happen to be reporters,” NABJ President Bob Butler told TMZ. “You don’t go easier on a person with color. It’s wrong for journalism, period.”
Butler said that, contrary to what Cosby believes, all coverage about him has been unbiased.
“I believe reporters have to be neutral and have an open mind when covering a story like this, but being neutral doesn’t mean telling one side of the story. Being neutral means telling both sides. And as far as I can see, reporters have been doing that,” he told The Huffington Post.
Butler also added that The Associated Press acted properly in a Nov. 6 interview that Cosby took exception with, pushing the famed actor and comedian to address the accusations.
“If you have more than a dozen people saying the same thing, it gives you pause.” Butler said. “You have to ask the questions and the question deserves an answer.”
While Cosby only granted a very short interview in which he seemed to express strong objections with the way non-Black media portray the accusations against him, his wife was far more direct. Camille Cosby, who has been married to the comedian for 50 years, attacked the victims as well as the press coverage.
“There appears to be no vetting of my husband’s accusers before the stories are published or aired,” Mrs. Cosby said. “We all followed the story of the article in Rolling Stone concerning allegations of rape at the University of Virginia. The story was heartbreaking, but ultimately appears to be proven untrue. Many in the media were quick to link that to stories about my husbanduntil that story unwound.”