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Macy's Sacramento looted, destroyed. (Photo: youtube)

Sacramento Bee Deems Mug Shots Racist

Newspapers are supposed to provide as much relevant information as possible

By Evan Gahr, July 22, 2020 11:45 am

Press play to hear a narrated version of this story, presented by AudioHopper.

First, the Los Angeles Times declared that “looting” has racist connotations and prohibited reporters from using it.

Now, the Sacramento Bee, which had already “banned” the word looting from its pages, has decided that mug shots are also racist. So, with limited exceptions, the newspaper won’t use them anymore. Maybe next, both of these publications are going to decide that “crime” is a racist word and shouldn’t be used either.

Is that really so far fetched given what has already gone down so far?

According to an article announcing the new policy the Bee contends that publishing booking “photographs and videos disproportionately harms people of color and those with mental illness, while also perpetuating stereotypes about who commits crime in our community.”

Destruction and looting in downtown Sacramento. (Photo: youtube)

“The Bee has taken several recent steps to work against long-standing stereotypes. We have largely banned the use of the word ‘looting’ – a term rooted in racism – and have sought to elevate the voices of emerging writers from communities we have long underserved through our Community Voices project,” said editor Lauren Gustus. “And building trust takes time. Our intention with this policy change is to take another step forward.”

Exceptions to the policy would include “photos of public figures; photos of suspected serial killers; cases in which there is an immediate and widespread threat to public safety; and those suspected of hate crimes.”

The Bee said the impetus for the new policy was a story earlier this month with surveillance photos of people breaking into stores that offended unnamed persons. So they simply deleted the entire article.

“The story included surveillance photographs of people suspected of vandalizing stores in downtown Sacramento following a night of protests against police brutality.

“Members of the community asked that the story – and the photographs – be removed from our website the next day and we did so. We apologize for the harm that publishing those photos may have caused.”

The Bee article announcing the new policy noted that at least two other newspapers and one police chief have taken a similar approach to mug shots. In February the Houston Chronicle announced it would no longer publish mug shots.  In addition to not publishing mug shots the New Haven Independent in Connecticut does not even publish the names of people arrested for crimes unless they are public figures.

And to “reduce bias,” the San Francisco Police Department earlier this month announced that it would no longer publish mug shots “except in circumstances where their release is necessary to warn the public of imminent danger or to enlist the public’s assistance in locating individuals, including at-risk persons.”

Newspapers are supposed to give as much relevant information to readers as possible.  It is hard to think of anything more relevant than mug shots when the story is about somebody being arrested for a crime, just the way articles routinely publish photos of their subjects.

But now the Sacramento Bee is withholding pertinent information with the underlying assumptions that its readers are racists who would associate persons of color with criminality just because they saw one individual person got busted for an alleged criminal act.

Editor Lauren Gustus was out of the office and could not be reached for comment.

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10 thoughts on “Sacramento Bee Deems Mug Shots Racist

  1. It’s at least a little ironic that the picture for the author is a monkey and not a picture of the author himself. Or the monkey is leading a very impressive life. Either way, kudos to all involved.

  2. The Bee is has bee irrelevant for many years and is circling the drain in bankruptcy court.

    “Editor Lauren Gustus was out of the office and could not be reached for comment.”

    Probably out looking for a coding job.

  3. The Sacramento Bee is just a worthless propaganda outlet for the Democrat Party and their radical leftists. No one with any sense reads it anymore. The Bee’s editorial writers like Marcos Breton (the born again Mexican as Katy Grimes like to call him) are hypocritical racists. The Bee’s ethics are just a bankrupt as the Bee’s finances.

  4. “You can have freedom as long as you do what we tell you to do,” -Democrats (Orwellianism)

    “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”
    George Orwell, from 1984

    What is this all a part of?
    SacBee, LA Times, NY Times, WashPost, MSNBC, CNN, etc
    are all taking orders from:
    Ministry of Truth (those behind the faces of democrats)
    The Ministry of Truth controls information: news, entertainment, education, and the arts

  5. Can someone explain how such small percentage of people can have so much control of language and media? And why do people cave in to what they demand? What, exactly, is their authority that others just accept their dubious authority?

  6. Someone has looted the minds of SacBee editors. Oh, gee, can I say that? Will the SacBees purge it? What other words can they ban? Lie, cheat, steal? Take, rob, robbery, mug? Fraud, stick-up, theft, thief, con, bunko?

  7. So glad I no longer live in Sacramento anymore. Live there for 10 years. Worked at city hall .
    Now I’m in a rural California area. I see what is happening in so many cities, businesses distroyed, people shot, total disrespect for our coountry. Hard to believe that the people of Sacramento are allowing this to go on, that they have elected people who seem to approve of looting and riots. Are they all hiding under rocks.?
    Or just ignoring the next riot? Poor Sacramento, it use to be a beautiful city.

  8. I quit taking the Sacramento Bee years ago after repeatedly seeing one-sided story lines. I don’t think there’s a halfway decent reporter left. As for the City – wow, people complaining daily about the homeless, the demise of downtown, on and on and yet they continue to vote in liberal (and some VERY liberal) people who continue to talk the talk but never walk the walk. I’d move if I could.

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