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Tenn. legislator files to ‘reprimand’ AP over article highlighting evidence of military racism

Rep. Hulsey’s resolution said that the data represented in the AP article was untrue.
Rep. Bud Hulsey (R - Kingsport)
Rep. Bud Hulsey (R - Kingsport)(Tennessee General Assembly)
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 9:08 AM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A Tennessee lawmaker has introduced a house joint resolution to “reprimand” the Associated Press (AP) after it published an investigative article that showcased data of racism and discrimination in the military.

The article, titled “Deep-rooted racism, discrimination permeate U.S. military,” was written and published by Kat Stafford, James Laporta, Aaron Morrison and Helen Wieffering to highlight racism in the military. The Tennessee resolution alleges in publishing the article that AP “engaged in the lowest form of yellow journalism and should be held accountable by the American public and their elected officials.”

The article published in May 2021 alleges that 750 complaints of discrimination by race or ethnicity were processed during 2020 in the entire U.S. armed forces. However, Representative Bud Hulsey (R- Kingsport) said that the complaints only represent 0.058 percent of all active duty service members. He also alleges that out of all 425,000 members of the active-duty military who are members of a minority, only 0.18 percent reported discrimination in 2020.

The AP article also alleges that in 2019 more than 1,600 sailors in the Navy or one in five said discrimination took place on their ships, with nearly one in three reporting racial jokes, comments or slurs. According to cited surveys, almost one in four sailors said that they could not use their chain of command to report incidents without fear and four out of every 10 said discipline was not fairly administered.

Rep. Hulsey’s resolution said that the data represented in the AP article was untrue and “disingenuously presents data to identify a problem that does not exist.”

“WHEREAS, instead of evidencing a culture of racism, this data, provided by the military, actually makes the opposite case that racism in the U.S. military is uncommon and not a largescale problem,” the resolution stated. “and WHEREAS, it is thus grossly incorrect to state that the U.S. military is permeated with ‘deep-seated racism’ and fosters a ‘culture of discrimination.’”

The resolution also stated that service members demonstrate patriotism by putting their lives on the line for their fellow Americans; therefore, the “allegations that members of the U.S. military are racist and that the military itself accepts a culture of discrimination are not only blatantly false but an insult to the brave men and women who combat racism and discrimination at home and around the globe.”

Stafford, a national investigative writer for AP, said that the authors stood by their reporting, and racism had been well documented in the military over several decades in a Tweet Saturday. Julie Pace, an executive editor for the media organization, also tweeted that AP stood by the reporters and article.

According to Tennessee processes, the filing would face many hurdles before being passed.

Read the full filing below:

HJR0709 by WVLT News on Scribd

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