A Tennessee Republican on Thursday introduced a bill to “reprimand” the Associated Press for covering racism in the military, WJHL reports.
State Rep. Bud Hulsey took issue with an AP report from May 2021 detailing “deep-rooted racism” and “discrimination” in the military.
The article included interviews with service members who described a “deep-rooted culture of racism and discrimination that stubbornly festers, despite repeated efforts to eradicate it.”
The AP also found the military judicial system has no category for hate crimes, making it difficult to discipline, and that the Defense Department has no way to track the number of troops ousted for extremist views.
“The AP also found that the Uniform Code of Military Justice does not adequately address discriminatory incidents and that rank-and-file people of color commonly face courts-martial panels made up of all-white service members, which some experts argue can lead to harsher outcomes,” the report said. “The military said it processed more than 750 complaints of discrimination by race or ethnicity from service members in the fiscal year 2020 alone. But discrimination doesn’t exist just within the military rank-and-file. That same fiscal year, civilians working in the financial, technical and support sectors of the Army, Air Force and Navy also filed 900 complaints of racial discrimination and over 350 complaints of discrimination by skin color.”
Push to “reprimand”:
Hulsey introduced a resolution alleging that the AP “engaged in the lowest form of yellow journalism.”
The 750 reports cited by the DOD, Hulsey said, only make up 0.058% of active-duty service members, which called “exceptionally low.”
Hulsey accused the AP of “identifying a problem that doesn’t exist.”
The resolution calls on the state legislature to “reprimand the AP” for publishing an article that is “manifestly untrue and disingenuously presents data.”
Reporter pushes back:
AP reporter Kat Strafford tweeted a copy of the resolution, calling it a “career first.”
“A Republican state legislator in Tennessee introduced a resolution Thursday in response to our AP investigation of racism in the U.S. military,” she wrote. “He accused us of ‘incendiary journalism’ & wants the legislature to ‘reprimand the AP.’ We stand by our reporting.”