NAJA demands The Washington Post retract data and reporting on racialized mascots
The Native American Journalists Association is just one of many organizations demanding that a recent article published in the Washington post be retracted due to unreliable data and irresponsible reporting.
The article was published by reporter Theresa Vargas, who referenced data based on a new survey by Wolvereye – a market research agency. The survey allegedly measures how Native Americans feel about the Washington Red***** and whether or not they find it offensive. There was a previous survey done before, but this new one was conducted by Wolvereye in 2016. The survey’s methodology falls short in several ways. The individuals in the survey self-identified as Native American and there was no verification done, which puts in question whether the respondents are in fact, tied to tribal communities or are claiming Native identity solely on the premise of DNA testing. This contributes to the problematic nature of self-identification and undermines tribal sovereignty. What’s also a glaring problem with this poll was that Wolvereye was not very clear or transparent about their survey methodology. These are all red flags that were somehow ignored in the editorial process of this story. NAJA released a statement condemning the Washington Post for publishing information that is misleading and perpetuates discrimination, especially in light of current racial divisions and racialized violence.
Here were a few NAJA’s demands for the Washington Post regarding their reporting:
Other individuals have taken to Twitter to also criticize the Washington Post article:
This criticism is not new to The Post, as they have reported on this previously in 2016 and have still missed the mark in 2019. This could have been an opportunity to highlight flawed survey methodology and acknowledge the long-term effects that racialized mascots have on in Indigenous communities. Perhaps they could benefit from a more culturally sensitive newsroom, or better yet a more diverse newsroom. Still, this short-sided reporting is only indicative of a much larger issue that plagues many newsrooms: a lack of diversity, cultural competence, ethical reporting, and accountability. The Washington Post has not issued a statement or retraction of the article.