Media Contributing to Coronavirus Racism

Since the Coronavirus originated in China, Asian people have been victims of racism and hate crimes in the United Kingdom, United States and elsewhere.

The wave of anti-Asian racism has spread almost as quickly as the virus itself. And some American media organizations are contributing to it, intentionally or not.

On Sunday, the New York Post tweeted a story reporting the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Manhattan. But observant users quickly noticed something about the photo the Post chose to use of an Asian man wearing a face mask—it was taken in Flushing, Queens, not Manhattan.

Thousands called out the Post for its obvious stereotyping. But just two days later The Hill did essentially the same thing, tweeting out its story about New York’s second confirmed Coronavirus case with a picture of two Asian people on a train that looks nothing like the interior of a New York City subway car.

A photo of the city or doctors wearing face masks or New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (mentioned in the tweet) would’ve worked just fine. But The Hill and the Post chose these photos despite their irrelevance and stereotyping. Perhaps it was quicker, or they thought it was an easy visual association for their readers. But that doesn’t excuse the ignorance inherent to their posts. And they’re far from the only media organizations that have done so.