The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) issued a strongly-worded statement Tuesday, criticizing President Donald Trump for his “demeaning” treatment of PBS reporter Yamiche Alcindor.
Trump berated Alcindor for asking a question during Sunday’s daily White House coronavirus briefing. The tense exchange occurred when the PBS NewsHour correspondent pressed the president about his recent claim that state leaders don’t need as many medical ventilators as some have requested amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Trump replied, “Why don’t you people — why don’t you act in a little more positive.”
As Alcindor continued with her question, he launched into a personal attack. “Excuse me, you didn’t hear me, that’s why you used to work for the [New York] Times and now you work for somebody else,” he said. “Be nice. Don’t be threatening. Be nice.”
WATCH: @Yamiche asks President Trump to clarify his comments second-guessing the number of ventilators governors say they may need to fight COVID-19. pic.twitter.com/8OpMJej56G
— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) March 30, 2020
Related Story: Trump Attacks NBC Reporter Over Coronavirus Question
NABJ and JAWS said in a joint statement that Alcindor was doing her job, adding that it is not a journalist’s job to be “nice.”
“The president’s attacks against her and others are not only unnecessary but demeaning and inappropriate. They are a distraction during a critical time in all of our lives,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker. “We applaud Yamiche and all journalists who are pressing forward in service to the public despite what they are facing. We again call for the president to stop the mistreatment of journalists.”
The two organizations also accused Trump of a “pattern of using demeaning language toward women journalists of color and other journalists.” They cited previous incidents involving Alcindor, as well as Abby Phillip of CNN and April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks.
“Berating or demeaning journalists is objectionable and uncalled for. We stand solidly behind Yamiche and other women journalists who are pressing on and doing their jobs despite the attacks on them,” said JAWS President Mira Lowe.