Former St. Louisan Goldie Taylor is the editor-at-large for the Daily Beast. Although a long-time cable news contributor (she’s been on CNN, HLN and MSNBC), Taylor said that cable news and social media have “let us down” over the issues that divide the United States.
“Maybe I’m the optimist here, but I think we’re better off than our popular media suggests, than what we see on social media or cable news,” Taylor told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh. “So many of us know one another as neighbors, friends, coworkers.”
On Tuesday night, Taylor will join a panel hosted by the St. Louis Speakers Series titled “Racism in America.” Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was on the program Monday and will also be on the panel.
Taylor said that the current political environment has been fueled by media out-reporting divisive and fire-chasing stories.
“All of us [journalists], collectively, will have to take a hard look at what our responsibility is to this republic,” Taylor said. “We have a great right afforded to us under the Constitution, to this free press, but does that not leave us with some obligations to this fabric? I think it does. In many ways, we’ve let us down. It is hard to say that now, knowing I have so many colleagues across the country who are out doing the best darn work they can turn in. I have so much respect for them. But I also know what gets the most air — it often turns out to be the most inflammatory, the stuff that divides us instead of bringing us together.”
Taylor said that newsrooms are becoming so crunched for people that many reporters can barely make it out of the office anymore. That’s caused a reliance on social media, Taylor said, and a lack of in-person interaction with people you see every day.
“We can’t allow that going forward to take the claim to real conversation and engagement with people,” Taylor said.
Taylor said that the events of the past 10 days, with revelations of Donald Trump’s past comments alluding to sexual assault, have “taken the breath” out of her. In 2011, Taylor publicly shared that she had been sexually abused in her teens by a then cross country coach at Normandy High School.
She said that seeing women on social media talk about how long it took them to talk about being sexually assaulted made her feel like she wasn’t alone anymore. Just last week she published this reflection:
"It has been difficult to watch or to fathom the hypocrisy in the days since the lurid tape of Donald Trump bragging about assaulting women was released. After he denied behaving in the ways he was caught boasting about, woman after woman stepped forward to allege he’d done just that and his surrogates, who’d already written off the talk as “locker room” banter, dismissed the women, too. The same Trump supporters—men and women—who’d applauded as his campaign brought out women who said they were victimized by Bill Clinton questioned the credibility of Trump’s accusers, asking why it took them too long to come forward.
"They are familiar voices, not unlike those who chided me for remaining silent when I spoke out for the first time—first on social media and later in a series of prime-time cable news segments—after the Penn State child rape scandal emerged in 2011. My personal disclosure was immediately met by a mass of angry people—on social media, during call-in talk radio shows, in the comment section of various news reports and even on the street and in airports by intemperate strangers who recognized me.”
What: St. Louis Speakers Series Presents a Panel Discussion: Racism in America
When: 8 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18
Where: Powell Hall, 718 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63103
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.