Tomi Lahren is not a journalist

Her popularity and influence promote racism, anti-feminism 

By Sarah Stubbs
@sarahxstubbs

Tomi Lahren, the news personality and Republican pundit, is liked on Facebook by 26 of my friends. Beyond my Facebook friend group, 25,000 people follow her page and more than three million have liked it. On Twitter, she boasts more than 317,000 followers.

The beautiful, blonde 24-year-old has a lot of influence and a loud voice in the political commentary surrounding this election and the social issues our country is facing. Lahren is best-known for her short segment, “Final Thoughts with Tomi,” which are aired on the Blaze, a news and entertainment network founded by Glenn Beck.

In the digital, information age we all live in, there seems to be a confusing mix of genres out there that all are mistakenly labeled as news when they are not news at all. Lahren’s “Final Thoughts” is one such example of this, as many of her fans regard her as a reporter or a journalist. Some of my friends on Facebook have shared her videos, writing in their posts: “We need more journalists like her! Finally, something to balance out the liberal media!”

Tomi Lahren is not a journalist. She knows this, and she calls herself a “news personality,” but even this title is problematic.

The news should never have personality. Yes, there is a creative element to reporting and writing news, but the character and the values of the creator should never drive the content of the message being disseminated.

There are liberal equivalents to Lahren, such as Chelsea Handler and Trevor Noah, but due to the comedic elements of their content, they are not being confused as journalists by the general public as often as she is.

Opinion-driven content still has value, but it should not be mistaken as news.

What troubles me more than people mistaking Lahren as a journalist, though, is her overall popularity. I understand party-loyalty (I grew up in a Republican household), so wanting to listen to commentary that reflects your party’s views is normal, but I cannot wrap my head around why her radically conservative, racist, and anti-feminist messages resonate with more than three million Americans.

I’ve been weary of Lahren’s videos ever since she started to become popular, but what totally convinced me that she is a racist was when her response to Jesse Williams’s ESPY’s speech went viral. Williams’s speech was extremely political. He used his acceptance speech to speak about police brutality in the United States and pointed to unjust deaths such as Tamir Rice’s.

Lahren’s “Final Thoughts” about Williams’s speech centered on the Republican rhetoric (I’m generalizing, here) that minorities in America are playing the victim. She says that we all have equal rights and racism is not alive in America. Additionally, she mentions that his Humanitarian award must mean that “the BET definition of humanitarian is someone who perpetuates a war on cops.”

Williams’s speech was support for the Black Lives Matter movement and he explicitly said that if others want to critique the movement, they must first have an understanding of the history of racial oppression in the United States. To this, Lahren responded that black Americans should be thankful for all of the ancestors of white Americans who lost their lives in the Civil War to free blacks.

I didn’t think that this level of racism could be topped, but I was wrong.

Since June, Lahren has had several more segments critiquing the Black Lives Matter movement and has recently come out to say that BLM is “the new KKK” and even is connecting the movement to ISIS.

Not only are Lahren’s videos racist, they’re also terrible for women.

Some might not like Hillary Clinton’s policies and some might not think she should be president, but criticizing her because of her gender rather than her ideas is the most problematic thing anyone could ever do.  Lahren has said multiple times that Clinton is playing the “woman card” and isn’t held to the same standards as her male opponent.

The United States is 51 percent female, yet only 22 percent of elected offices are held by women. How are women ever going to be taken as seriously as men when individuals with major influence such as Lahren say they are playing the “woman card”?

Furthermore, Lahren’s response to the Trump tape takes the cake as her most anti-feminist commentary to-date. She said that what he said wasn’t good and she doesn’t like the way it made her feel, but she still defends him in the end.

She said, “Don’t go around acting holier than thou about this, like you’ve never heard anyone say anything like that before. Give me a break.” She took the exact route Trump did during the debates, saying that our country has bigger problems to face, and that what he says does not affect governance.

Trump bragged about sexual assault. Lahren said it wasn’t a big deal.

I know a lot of her fans like her because she’s a straight-shooter, but her commentary should not be consumed in a vacuum. It’s easy to relate to her ideas if you’re a white, middle-to-upper-class male, but that’s not what the average American looks like.

Racism, anti-feminism, and shaming minority Americans by labeling them as self-victimizers is not new in America and it is not new in Republican rhetoric. Now it just has a prettier face.

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