The below letter is from Anti-Defamation Chair Neil Cosgrove to the publisher of USA Today concerning the coverage of Katie Taylor’s Gold Medal win at the Olympics. This letter was written before she won the Gold.
Mr. Larry Kramer , President and Publisher
USA TODAY Headquarters
7950 Jones Branch Drive
McLean, VA 22108
Dear Mr. Kramer:
The Irish people and Irish Americans are cheering and taking rightful pride in the accomplishments of Olympian Katie Taylor. As a woman boxer, she is defying conventional perception of what a woman may accomplish. To a country mired in the depression of the Euro zone crises, she brings a ray of golden hope and memories of the Irish American boxer James J. Braddock, “The Cinderella Man”, who brought similar hope to an America mired in the depression of the 1930’s.
With such a great story, one that should appeal to people irrespective of ethnicity, how sad was I to read that in a story about breaking stereotypes USA Today felt the need to descend into perpetuating them. With cliché racial stereotypes ranging from the stories headline “Irish toast Taylor’s Olympic debut” to “Back home on the emerald-green isle, pints of Guinness flowed freely, perhaps enough to replenish the Irish Sea” I cringed as good taste and good writing were sacrificed for offensive ethnic based “humor.” Given that the story’s dateline is “London”, your reporter Jon Saraceno must have remarkable eyesight indeed to see “pints flowing freely” in Ireland or was he only seeing his inner preconceptions of the Irish people?
It is very sad that in covering a story on a young Irishwoman blazing new trails not only for her own nation, but for women around the globe, USA Today felt the need to tarnish her potentially golden story by falling back on old bigoted stereotypes regarding the Irish as a replacement for good journalistic writing.
Neil F. Cosgrove
National Board of the Ancient Order of Hibernians