On March 7, 17 million Americans were able to tune in live to the interview that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will perform exclusively with Oprah. In this conversation they did not have to bite their lips much to tell the truth about the media in the United Kingdom.
‘The press in England is intolerant, especially the tabloids,’ he said. Harry while looking directly at Oprah to the eyes. “If the source of information is inherently corrupt, racist or biased, then that leaks out to the rest of society,” he said. In relation to the story of Meghan Markle, her life as an actress and her romance with him Prince Harry, both lives always besieged by the press.
Harry it didn’t stop there. The tabloids, he explains, created a ‘toxic environment’, full of fear and control. His father, the Prince of Wales ‘made the passes with them’. But Harry He couldn’t, and this is one of the reasons why the couple decided to leave real life. It is also appropriate to consider that many see Meghan Markle, like the political princess, for always being open to dialogue and to give her opinion.
At the beginning of the two-hour interview, Oprah showed some headlines from these tabloids on the screen. One reads ‘Harry’s girl is (almost) straight outta Compton’, making a mix between the life of Meghan Markle and the album title of the hip hop band NWA; while another headline reads ‘Will Harry marry gangster royalty?’
When did the British press start attacking Meghan Markle?
It is not the first time that Prince harry condemns this type of action by the British media. In November 2016, when I was just beginning to date Meghan, the Kensington Palace issued a statement criticizing the racially-overtones comments that appeared in certain articles published by the press. This was perhaps the strongest position. Shortly after, the UK Publishers Society issued a controversial statement saying that the country’s press “was not intolerant.”
‘If that was the case, if the Sussex they feel that the press questions their actions and comments on their real roles, while they are funded by the taxes of all taxpayers, then they are wrong, ‘he said. Ian Murray, executive of the company.
More than 160 journalists of color formally rejected this assertion of Murray. “The widespread refusal to accept that there is intolerance in the British press is ridiculous, hurts journalists of color and shows an institution and an industry in denial,” they wrote in an open letter. MurrayLater, he resigned his post. But the implication was clear: a certain cohort of reporters and editors did not believe that there was any bias in the British media.
Omid Scobie is part of the journalists who normally cover the actual source associated with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Scobie, as a contributor to ABC News and author of the book ‘Finding Freedom’, takes a firm stance against intolerance in the coverage surrounding the couple: ‘It is not just racism that is at stake here, there is also pure ignorance, xenophobia, misogyny and a kind of anti-Americanism, ‘says the journalist to Vogue.
His outspokenness has put him at odds with many of his colleagues. “In fact, I have found myself very excluded from the group of real correspondents,” he says. “Some people have told me that I am giving them a bad image.”
Scobie says that, it is also true, many of the journalists wrote stories based on real information. ‘But this is not about you (as a journalist),’ he emphasizes. Scobie. ‘It has more to do with the publication you represent. Or that you may be complicit in certain elements of the coverage, simply because you work there and occupy a high-level position. ‘
The British media have a notorious diversity problem. A 2016 report from the Reuters Institute for him Journalism Study found that only 6% of journalists are non-white, compared to about 13% of the general population. Journalists of color make up only 0.2% of the ranks, compared to 3% of the population.
It’s worth noting that this also applies to the American media: 40% of the American population is made up of people of color. However the Columbia Journalism Review found they made up less than 17% of print and online publications in 2018.
Although many institutions are already aware of and expose their organizational errors, many tabloids of the United Kingdom they seem to ignore it. The Society of Publishers, for example, it cannot be considered as a minority group. This organization has members from more than 400 outlets, some of which are associated with the tabloid press and some of which are not.
Let’s also remember when 72 members of the British Parliament wrote a letter in October 2019 about the ‘colonial nuances’ of the coverage surrounding the Duchess, and very little changed after this. ‘That’s the really frustrating thing,’ he says. Scobie. ‘When people of color offer to say,’ Look at it through my eyes. ‘ People immediately fold their arms and reject what they are hearing.
A few weeks ago, the foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Archewell, made a donation. Who was the beneficiary? PressPad, a non-profit organization that offers financial support and mentoring to young people of diverse origins seeking to venture into journalism. (The couple previously stated that they ‘believe in a free, strong and open media industry that upholds accuracy and encourages inclusion, diversity and tolerance.’)
Due to her celebrity status, it is unlikely that Harry y Meghan stop generating headlines and it is impossible for your shares to remain free from scrutiny. But can a balance be struck where the tabloids keep their power in check and at the same time take responsibility for their actions?
Article originally published in Vogue US, vogue.com.