Racism and a Failure to Do Investigative Journalism (Hank Unplugged Short)

Hank Hanegraaff, president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast, comments on a recent news story that turns out to be another example of failure to do due diligence in reporting. Duke University women’s volleyball starter Rachel Richardson sent out a tweet saying that she and her “fellow African American teammates…were targeted and racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match” between Duke and Brigham Young University. Richardson’s Godmother, Lesa Pamplin, tweeted, “My Goddaughter is the only black starter for Dukes volleyball team. While playing yesterday, she was called a [n-word] every time she served. She was threatened by a white male that told her to watch her back going to the team bus. A police officer had to be put by their bench.” LeBron James tweeted, “you tell your Goddaughter to stand tall, be proud and continue to be BLACK!!!….We have her back.” Richardson’s father, Marvin Richardson, conveyed to the New York Times that “as the crowd got more hyped and the epithets kept coming, she wanted to respond back but she told me she was afraid that, if she did, the raucous crowd could very well turn into a mob mentality.” New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, Sports Illustrated, NPR published articles without sufficient investigation—only a rush to judgment. Eventually, finally, BYU performed a thorough investigation, concluding, “From our extensive review, we have not found any evidence to corroborate the allegation that fans engaged in racial heckling or uttered racial slurs at the Duke vs. BYU women’s volleyball match on August 26.”

See Jesse Singal, “How the Media Fell for A Racism Sham,” Common Sense News, September 15, 2022, https://www.commonsense.news/p/how-the-media-fell-for-a-racism-sham

Luke Hanson and Thomas Stevenson, “Exclusive: Racist Comments at BYU Volleyball Game Never Happened, Sources Suggest,” Cougar Chronicle, August 31, 2022, https://www.byucougarchronicle.org/post/exclusive-racist-comments-at-byu-volleyball-game-never-happened-sources-suggest

 “A Statement from BYU Athletics Regarding the Investigation of the Aug. 26 Volleyball Match,” BYU Athletics, September 12, 2022, https://byucougars.com/story/athletics/1300724/statement-byu-athletics-regarding-investigation-aug-26-volleyball-match

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