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“The Watchers” is a film adaptation of the 2022 book of the same name by A.M. Shine.
Review: “The Watchers”
Published June 13, 2024

KSTP’s report on Mayor Hodges merits criticism

When KSTP-TV aired a report accusing Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges of flashing a gang sign with a convicted felon, it sparked indignation from people across the political spectrum.

The story originated with a photo of Hodges posing with Navell Gordon, a Neighborhoods Organizing for Change canvasser. In the picture, both are making a hand gesture that Hodges’ critics, including Minneapolis Police Federation President John Delmonico, have branded as a gang sign.

“[Hodges] is legitimizing gangs who are killing our children in Minneapolis,” retired Minneapolis police officer Michael Quinn told KSTP.

Hodges’ defenders, however, observe that Gordon and the mayor are merely pointing at each other.

Since KSTP’s story aired, hundreds of people have posted photos under the hashtag #Pointergate of famous cultural figures making the same hand gesture as Hodges. The posts sarcastically ask whether these figures — including Uncle Sam, Oprah Winfrey and the Cookie Monster — are also involved in gang activities.

More seriously, many people have accused KSTP’s story of harboring racist sentiments. On Friday, University of St. Thomas law professor Nekima Levy-Pounds published a piece in the Star Tribune in which she lambasted KSTP’s coverage and explained how news media influence public prejudices against black men.

We’re extremely disappointed with KSTP’s report, which we feel was sloppy and unprofessional. In the best-case scenario, it was a lazy news story. In the worst, it was a deliberately biased piece. In either case, the public deserves better, and those who have criticized KSTP have done so rightly.   

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