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Was Our Article on the SSM Hospital Beat Down 'Fair and Unbiased'?

An inquiry from a reader inspires further investigation and the results are shocking.

The following email came in from a email address; I am not going to reveal the person's name:

To the editor,

I work with internal communications at a company lauded for excellence in diversity and write about our ERGs and diversity practices. I rely on DiversityInc for news, best practices and webinars that support diversity in the work force and in the community.

I am shocked, however, at the increased amount of biased news articles I'm reading. Maybe I've not been combing through the articles carefully enough; maybe I have a misplaced expectation for DiversityInc to provide balanced and unbiased reporting.

Here is an example from excerpts of a story posted on your site written by Keka Araujo about a horrible altercation at a hospital.

Albert Watkins, Allen's attorney, had some choice words to say concerning the attack:

"This was 220 pounds of white daytime TV muscle on top of her …You have a security guard

with an IQ well below room temperature taking it upon himself to see that 'justice' is

done to a 90-pound patient in distress."

The last paragraph:

Basically, the hospital glossed over their responsibility of hiring

an incompetent good old boy who allegedly assaulted one of their patients

and then adding insult to injury by filing charges against her. Got it.

Two things strike me – the article did not sufficiently explore both sides of the story; though it appeared there was just a press release from the hospital, there were no witness statements and the video doesn't show the full progression of the altercation.

Secondly, if the security guard had been an African American, the quote by the attorney and the author's last paragraph would be considered grossly prejudicial. Both the attorney and the reporter would, by today's standards, be vilified for being alarmingly inappropriate in their comments.

Diversity means equality and opportunity for ALL people, not free reign to slam any particular minority nor (in this article) the white community.

I'd like to think that I can expect proper, balanced reporting with DiversityInc news. This type of reporting is unacceptable.

Dear Ms. (redacted),

Thank you for your email.

I am responsible for all content on my website. I watched the video before I approved the article being written, I stand by my editor, the journalist who reports to her and the finished product. In my opinion, Keka's last paragraph summed it up perfectly.

"Bias" is an interesting adjective to assert in this situation. My bias is different than that hospital's CEO; I would have fired that guard, apologized to the victim and the community, and carefully considered firing the rest of the security guards and whoever was responsible for supervising them.

I'd be biased to assume that this wasn't the first time this "security guard" beat up a woman one-third his size — and that the monster's coworkers knew about the sadist and did nothing.

My hunch is the hospital CEO got "advice" from the white lawyer on her 93 percent white leadership team that doesn't have a single Black person, despite St. Louis being 49.2 percent Black (the majority demographic). Let's see, majority Black city, 93 percent white/0 percent Black hospital leadership team (72 percent male, in an industry dominated by women). Some might call that "bias." I call it racism — and sexism.

As far as race and coverage, we endeavor to cover news "from a colorful perspective" and I think we do. I am quite sure SSM could use a lot of help in getting a better perspective and St. Louis would be better served if they did.

Best regards,

Luke Visconti, CEO

The Conversation (6)
votetocorrect20 Oct, 2018

That was a serious beat down and the security guard needs to stand trial for feloneny battery!

Dawn19 Oct, 2018

Thank you for backing the story written by Keka Araujo. Too often people are afraid to tell it like it is. I am grateful that you and DiversityInc are not.

Sheri19 Oct, 2018

Thank you Mr. Visconti. I read your content daily and I appreciate you shining the light on racial injustices that plague our country.

Dee Dankus18 Oct, 2018

Mr. Visconti, you are not incorrect in your overall assessment of this incident, but DePaul Hospital is not in St. Louis City, which I suspect your demographic information is based on (i.e. St. Louis County has different demographics, though the other numbers you quote, if accurate, are still appalling). Your publication provides a necessary service, but "colorful perspective" still needs to be accurate.

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