What’s Wrong With Our National Media?

I was struck by the abrupt statement from Morgan Freeman while commenting on the Baltimore disturbances. The headline read F_ _ K the Media. This from such a level headed gentlemen who like many of us are disgusted with the coverage of news regarding black folk’s issues.

Never confuse education with intelligence You don’t have to be in your senior years, or even middle age to have finally had enough of the obvious distortion of incidents by local and national news people. Reporters, news editors, and station owners are no different than the rest of society; they bring their bag of opinions and prejudices to the party too. How they view, an incident depends largely on their interpretation of the facts leading up to, during, and at the concluding summation.

They will have their cameraman point to certain incidents, like burning and looting as an expert picturesque commentary on a lawless band of people. They begin their narrative of explaining what the viewer is seeing by simply stated something like “And there were people taking Flat Screen TV’s, whatever they could get their thieving hands on while causing destruction of private property.” Often what is not said is these people are wearing mask and hoodies to protect their identities. What is not said is that there are people who patiently wait for a national incident to break out. They purchase plane tickets to fly to these hot spots and contribute more to the unrest than solving the problem. Their mission is simple, cause unrest, creating such an environment as to allow for breaking into a storefront business to help themselves before they disappear into the night. They have taken the merchandise of their choice, sold it for cash or taken it back to their home, wherever that is. They are professional looters. You never hear about those people unless there is a need.

Don’t get me wrong, some local black folk are involved in the looting and disturbance too. Most of time, they are living on adrenaline and do not bother with putting on a disguise. Why, because they have a personal interest in the outcome of such incidents. They simply do not care who sees them being disrupting. “Black Lives Matter” they chat. They are angry and lashing out. Of course, we believe rioting, burning or destroying community property is not the way to deal with an incident such as the death of Freddy Gray.

Our complaint is the reporting of the news, incidents, and occurrences are so narrow-minded.  At times, it’s as if they are deliberately trying to muddy the waters to prevent anyone from understanding what really happened. You are almost positive the media has gone out of their way to find the most inarticulate bystanders to comment on the incident. That alone feeds into the stereotype of an uneducated race of people. At least, in the case of longer incidents they are finding more credible people to interview. Its just I am reminded of a cartoon I saw the other day. On the one hand, a black man was reading a newspaper headline which read, “Black man killed by Police Officer(s)” so he says…”Again?”  The drawing includes a white man reading the headline in a paper, “Black folk rioting in the city” The white man also says “Again” in disgust. The drawing points out the irony and perception of how race is viewed by a black and a white man.

In the Morgan Freeman article, he says MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN are just commentators. Each station shows you a picture followed by what seems like an endless commentary on the subject at hand. What did the perpetrator know, when did he know it, and who did he share it with? What are the laws? Will the president or Congress get involved?  Followed by the endless innuendos, action interpretations, and so-called experts in various fields giving you their idea of how it should go. Remember, there are stations like Fox News that subscribe to the tea and Republican doctrine of “hate everything that Obama stands for.”

By the way, why should we not be surprised that the Baltimore Policemen Union has turned on their State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby? She brought the charges against the 5 policemen and 1 policewoman involved in the Freddy Gray case. Monday morning, the Sherriff of Milwaukee County speaking on CNN had a gripe against this young woman. He called it a “Rush to Judgment.” I guess the unwarranted, unnecessary arrest of Mr. Gray was a “Rush to Arrest?” He said he had never seen a case where charges were brought against someone within 24 hours as had Attorney Mosby. Besides having the nerve to issue such a ridiculous statement he was reminded of a fact by the CNN reporter. Attorney Mosby had been conducting her own investigation for two weeks before she got the official package from the police department. As an aside, considering what is going on in the streets of Milwaukee, I would think the Sheriff would too busy trying to clean up his city streets instead of trying to be the voice of fellow officers from another state. Hey, Sheriff, I am Milwaukee raised and still have plenty of friends and relatives there. Please stick to your day job.

And one other thing (is it just me), has the policemen unions in this country become blind to facts and simply out of touch with their average community when they are defending one of their own?  Do they remind you of the National Rifle Association? What should we call their tactics, “A Rush to protect their own?” I have no problem with any group or organization in this country looking out for their members except when it comes at the expense of real law and order for all.

What is wrong with the national media, you say? I am glad you asked. I think that they have been on this “Enquire” or “Star” (found at your grocery store rack) reporting cycle for almost two decades. You know; the premise that says the headline is everything. The more spectacular or shocking the better the headlines chance of gaining the interest of a reader. Television Newscasters are no different. They are competing with cable stations that sometimes have a little more leeway than network stations. And most cable stations are directing their rhetoric to specific audiences either liberal leaning (MSNBC) or conservative (almost all other stations) in nature. And the number one station (Fox News) has a tendency to slant every news story while appealing to right-wing Republicans and almost any fringe group that sees the world as black and white. By the way, read the following headline regarding Fox News, http://www.msn.com/en-us/tv/news/fox-news-apologizes-for-misreported-baltimore-police-shooting-%e2%80%98we-screwed-up%e2%80%99/ar-BBjbhSB, and you get a great picture of what I am talking about here.

Add that to the current 15 to 30-second attention span of most people on the left side of fifty-years-old and…well you get the picture. This may surprise you. All this happens before the race issues are added to the equation. Think about that for a minute. Then you will begin to understand why most national media has a credibility problem. Fact checking has given way to who got the scoop out first?  Is it tantalizing enough to grab a large audience?

And finally, a lot of the general public is simply burned out from all the negative political ads, mailing, and billboards. As evidenced by the last mid-term elections. They are trying to turn it off which leaves the diehard conservatives and fringe loonies as the majority of people responding to surveys or commenting on internet columns. Every time someone with common sense contributes to the discussion, they are shouted down by some lunatic right winger. Who wants to try and reason with a fool?

One of my favorite quotes attributed to Abraham Lincoln simply says, “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”  That is what is wrong with the national media; they have a problem providing the public with “the real facts.”

Peace, make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,

Codis Hampton II

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