News outlets selectively report on races of attackers in Asian hate crimes

March 31, 2021

By Ella Carroll-Smith

Following the Atlanta spa shooting, The Associated Press was quick to point out the race of the perpetrator, tweeting: “A white gunman has been charged with killing eight people, most of them women of Asian descent, at three Atlanta-area massage parlors.”

The police have yet to confirm an official motive or declare that it was a hate crime. The suspect claims it had nothing to do with race and that he has a sex addiction. 

Despite the lack of evidence, the AP pressed forward with the racial narrative anyway, reporting that, “Asian Americans were already worn down by a year of pandemic-fueled racist attacks when a white gunman was charged with killing eight people, most of them Asian women, at three Atlanta-area massage parlors.”

But why is it that when a black man attacked an Asian American woman in New York City, the AP failed to highlight his race? Instead, it tweeted: “an elderly Asian American was attacked by a man who punched and kicked her while hurtling anti-Asian statements in front of witnesses who seemingly stood by.” 

Nowhere in the linked article does it identify that the attacker was black, though it does point out that the neighborhood where the attack occurred, “Hell’s Kitchen, is predominantly white.”

When two teenage black girls carjacked an unsuspecting Uber Eats driver named Mohammad Anwar in Washington, D.C., The Associated Press failed to report it at all. 

While CNN did report on the incident, it did not identify the race of the attackers, instead simply referring to them as “two teenage girls.” Though they did identify Anwar as an immigrant from Pakistan. 

Like the Associated Press, CNN was also quick to push the hate crime narrative after Atlanta despite the lack of supporting evidence. They identified the shooter as a white man in an article headlined, “Hate is haunting Asian America. Their fear underscores a racial reckoning that is far from over. 

These irregularities in reporting by outlets like the Associated Press and CNN make it seem as though they’re only interested in identifying the races of attackers when it fits into a certain narrative. 



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