12/16/2014 12:54 pm ET Updated Dec 16, 2014

Group Rejects Bill Cosby's Comment About 'Black Media' Coverage Of Rape Allegations


The National Association of Black Journalists is responding to Bill Cosby's comments regarding coverage of the rape allegations against him.

Cosby on Friday spoke with the New York Post's Page Six, breaking his silence on the sexual assault allegations more than 20 women have made against him. While the 77-year-old did not address the accusations specifically, he did address the press' response to them.

“Let me say this. I only expect the black media to uphold the standards of excellence in journalism and when you do that you have to go in with a neutral mind,” he said.

In response, Bob Butler, the president of the NABJ, told TMZ all reports relating to the assault claims have been unbiased, and race is not a factor.

"You don’t go easier on a person [of] color. [It's] wrong for journalism period," he said. "This not a color issue, this is a journalism issue … black people happen to be reporters."

Butler had a similar response when speaking with The Huffington Post.

"I believe reporters have to be neutral and have an open mind when covering a story like this, but being neutral doesn't mean telling one side of the story. Being neutral means telling both sides. And as far as I can see, reporters have been doing that," he said.

He also noted that the Associated Press was right to push Cosby on the issue in its Nov. 6 interview: "If you have more than a dozen people saying the same thing, it gives you pause. You have to ask the questions and the question deserves an answer."

The comedian's wife also recently shifted blame onto the press. In a statement to CBS News, Camille Cosby blasted the media for its portrayal of her "kind," "funny" and "generous" husband, and for failing to vet the accusers before publishing their stories. She likened the response to the Rolling Stone's haphazard coverage of an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia.

From her statement:

We all followed the story of the article in the "Rolling Stone" concerning allegations of rape at the University of Virginia. The story was heart-breaking, but ultimately appears to be proved to be untrue. Many in the media were quick to link that story to stories about my husband -- until that story unwound. None of us will ever want to be in the position of attacking a victim. But the question should be asked -- who is the victim?

Reps for Cosby were not immediately available for comment.

This post has been updated with comments from NABJ President Bob Butler.



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