There are a lot of hypocrisies in how mainstream media reports on criminal behavior in black and white communities in the United States. We would like to present a few instances to you as evidence of such hypocrisies and let you be your own judge.
Beginning last year, when the protests broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, to the recent one in Baltimore this year, we’ve made some interesting observations regarding how the mainstream media covered these events. We will then compare those to past events that have also happened in white communities and show you the difference as to how each event was portrayed by the media.
First, we will look at ‘victim-shaming’ vs. the ‘killer sympathy syndrome’ that took over the various media platforms in incidents which the media should have pressed for justice for the victims.
In the wake of the killings of unarmed black men, women and children by white police officers last year and this year, we can tell you that many of our media outlets focused on blaming the victims for previous unrelated criminal behavior, neglecting the salient abuse the victims had suffered from the police. Take and look at these examples:
When 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by a police officer in November of 2014, a Cleveland news site ran the story, “Tamir Rice’s Father Has History of Domestic Violence,” as if his father’s past behavior was somehow relevant.
In April of 2015, an unarmed Walter Scott was shot six times in the back by a South Carolina police officer. Although the incident was captured on film and the officer was charged with murder, NBC News ran a story following the incident entitled, “Walter Scott Had Bench Warrant for His Arrest, Court Documents Show.”
After a police officer shot and killed an unarmed John Crawford in August of 2014, in response to a bad tip from a Walmart customer, multiple media outlets ran headlines mentioning that Crawford, “had THC in his system.”
All the above incidents were captured on camera, suggesting gross police misconduct, yet the victims in these cases were essentially put on trial and blamed by the media.
But when the incident is about a white individual, the media shows a clear bias. Take James Eagan Holmes — he was responsible for the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting that left 12 people dead and many more injured — he was described by the media as a, “brilliant science student.”
Elliot Rodger, who killed six people and then himself and injured 14 others in Santa Barbara, California in 2014, was also described as, “soft-spoken, polite and a gentleman.”
Now let’s look at coverage of unruly crowds by the media. When riots broke out after the 2011 Stanley Cup, the media never blamed ‘white culture’ for the actions of a few hundred rowdy sports fans.
Your media guide to the differences between #Ferguson and #pumpkinfest pic.twitter.com/XfRjlhgei0
— Matt Weinecke (@MattTW) October 19, 2014
In Vancouver, New Hampshire, when incidents of mob violence involving large groups of white people occurred at Huntington Beach (featured in the Chris Hayes clip), it was presented as an anomaly and the police actually made efforts to de-escalate the incident without using excessive force.
However, in a sharp contrast, look at how the news media and police responded when a handful of people began damaging property during the Ferguson, Missouri protests. As for what happened in Baltimore, we covered, and we are still covering, the gross abuse and the false allegations made by police and given credence by the media against people who were helping to calm the situation. In both cities, the National Guard was deployed with heavy military equipment. In the end, the media portrayed protesters as ‘thugs’ and lay the blame on the black community instead of addressing the root cause of the problem.
Finally, let’s talk about the issue of black culture that the media has been using to portray false realities. The media has been able to set the agenda by supporting Bill O’Reilly in that, “black culture feeds and supports criminal behavior more than other cultures.”
And the premise of this assertion has always been taken from the Criminal Justice Fact Sheet that states that, “Together, African-American and Hispanics comprised 58% of all prisoners in 2008, even though African-Americans and Hispanics make up approximately one quarter of the US population.”
It is not appropriate for the media to base their analysis simply on the above, we don’t see such analysis in which the white community is recorded highly about a negative event.
It even unacceptable to conclude, based on the statistics, that black and Hispanic people are more predisposed to crime instead of examining the ‘how’ and ‘why’ so many of them end up in prison. We all know the root of the problems but the media is just being unfair to minority groups in the US.
These are only a few examples of biases in US media. Please stay tuned… with everything going on in the US currently, we will no doubt come your way again with many more articles displaying for you the biases of the media in the US. Expect us!