Anyone who values truth ought to be deeply troubled by the media’s coverage of the tragic incident in Ferguson, Missouri, where a Police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, a young African American. The media almost immediately began framing this story as it always does when race is involved, as a white versus black narrative. When covering these kinds of stories, it’s as if the media has a pre-fabricated storyline that is impervious to facts.
So far, we have only heard one side of the story, which is hardly enough for a reasonable person to make any certain conclusions. The media have taken the liberty to cast Michael Brown as the victim of a racist system, without evidence to back up these assertions. To be fair, they do cite statistics that show the disparities between white and blacks in Ferguson, as the number of blacks arrested in comparison to whites, or the number of whites who hold political office. These facts are intended to imply that the system is rigged against the black community. Now, I am all for reporting facts, but why doesn’t the media provide the number of kids in the black community who grow up without fathers? Perhaps these kinds of facts would provide more context to the other statistics cited.
This kind of bias reporting isn’t the first time this has happened, take for example, the Trayvon Martin trial and the Duke Lacrosse rape case, where truth took a back seat to the media’s narrative that America is still racist. This is why NBC edited the 911 call George Zimmerman made the night of the shooting to make is sound that he was targeting Trayvon because he was black. Zimmerman, who is half white and Hispanic, was initially reported by the associated press as being white, but once the media found out his true racial markup, he was referred to as a “White Hispanic,” because only being a “Hispanic” interferes with the “white versus black racial narrative.” As a side note, has anyone ever referred to President Obama as a “White Black?”
Then there was the Duke Lacrosse rape case, where three members of the Lacrosse team were falsely accused of gang raping an African-American woman. Just as in the Trayvon Martin case, the media began immediately to echo the same predictable narrative before any facts were revealed. The media were not alone in slandering these kids. A few weeks after the false accusations, EIGHTY EIGHT (yes that was an 88) professors, mostly of which were from the African-American and women’s studies departments, signed their names to a document that was published on campus denouncing sexual assault and racism on campus. This document provided credibility to the media’s black versus white narrative that these boys were guilty.
Despite the fact that each of these young men was innocent and later exonerated (The prosecutor was subsequently disbarred), none of the 88 professors ever apologized to these young men for accusing them of raping a woman. Wahneema Lubiano, one of the 88 professors who signed her name, argued that the lacrosse players were probably guilty since they were “the exemplars of the upper end of the class hierarchy, the politically dominant race and ethnicity, the dominant gender, the dominant sexuality, and the dominant social group on campus.”
The New Leftists Paradigm
Where does this kind of sick thinking come from? Joshua Muravchik, a senior fellow at the John Hopkins School of International Studies, helps to shed some light on why so many on the left (media and academia) think this way. In his book, Making David Into Goliath: How the World Turned Against Israel, he explains that the left underwent an ideological change in the 1970’s.
After World War II, liberals were among the strongest supporters of Israel until the “latter half of the 20th-century, where the old Leftist paradigm of class struggle was superseded by national/ethnic struggle…Leftists/liberals/progressives believe that the great moral drama of our era is “the rest against the West” or the “people of color” against the “white man.” This has replaced poor-against-rich or worker-against-capitalist as the core idea of progressive thought.”
This kind of tribal thinking permeates those in the media and academia. It is one thing for a small segment of population to think so primitively, and it quite another for the most important institutions in society to be committed to advocating an ideology (Social Justice) than to dispensing truth, which is the reason they collect multiple millions of dollars every year anyway.
Consider how the media reports on the epidemic of black on black crime. The weekend that Michael Brown was shot and killed, 26 people in Chicago were shot, one of which included a 16-year-old who also died, and I guess the 16-year-old was not as important as Michael Brown though. The weekend of the Fourth of July this year, 84 people were shot in Chicago alone, 14 of who died. Did Al Sharpton hold any rallies in these communities’? How much national coverage did the media give to the knockout game, which was overwhelmingly perpetrated by black teenagers who targeted white people?
The effects of slander and turning a blind eye to the truth from our nation’s media have an incalculable effect on our society. Today we live in a self-professed age of reason, but yet our main source of information is compiled by individuals who are committed to an ideology then to dispensing truth. In more ways than people realize, today’s media and academic elites resemble that of a mob leader, whipping up the masses into an emotional Frenzy.
According to Gustave Le Bon, a social psychologist and author of The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, “Mobs are immune to logic and reason, but rather are influenced by “image like ideas,” and “theatrical representations.” For example, it was an image of a “hoody” and bags of Skittles in the Trayvon Martin case that fueled public hysteria, especially in the black community. Now with the death of Michael Brown it’s the raising of the hands as if to surrender to authorities, which is what Michael Brown was reportedly doing when he was fatally shot. What could be a better image to symbolize white oppression?
In following this story in Ferguson, I find myself reflecting on some of the words of John Adams because of how relevant they are today. In his closing arguments of his defense of the British soldiers accused of shooting innocent Bostonians. Adams appealed to the jurors to look past the emotions of the case, but to honor justice and truth. He said in part, “we must take care, lest borne away by a torrent of passion we make shipwreck of conscience…See, whatever our wishes, our inclinations or the dictums of our passions. They cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
It is my hope that we as a nation and particularly those in the media and academia, will learn to see past the emotions and ideology that cloud the ability to seek clearly and learn to make truth our highest value.