In this post-George Floyd world in which hipster journalists cram news stories into the woke narrative of systemic white racism, quality reporting goes by the wayside.
In Washington, D.C. two girls, age 15 and 13, used a stun gun to steal a car from an immigrant. A struggle ensued, resulting in the death of Mohammad Anwar, 66. The girls are charged with murder.
A week later a 25-year-old man rammed his car into a police barricade outside the Capitol Building. He killed a police officer then exited his vehicle holding a knife. He was shot dead by police.
And two weeks before that, a 21-year-old man killed eight people at massage parlors in the Atlanta area. He’s been arrested in the shootings.
All three of these acts of violence hit the national news, but only one had “legs,” as they say in the newspaper business. That was the Atlanta killings. Why? Because the shooter was white and most of the victims were Asian.
For that reason — and that reason alone — the national news media embarked on a 24-7, wall-to-wall exploitation of the event. It sparked protests in every major city about Asian hate. The media widely and freely speculated about race playing a part in his motivation. Upon further review, it seems race was not an issue, but that didn’t stop the narrative of systemic white hate in the news cycle. Few in the national media wanted to let the facts get in the way of a good story.
What happened with the Capitol Police shooting and the carjacking? Well, those cases didn’t fit the narrative.
The two girls who killed the Muslim were Black. You will see no breathless race-based stories hang off this crime. In fact, you may not see much more of the story from here on out.
As the Capitol Police incident, the national news media got excited for a moment when it looked like it could be tied to the riot at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6 by Trump supporters. But, alas for the current breed of reporters, the man turned out to be Black. He also turned out to be a Muslim extremist.
So this story will also fade quickly.
We’ve lost our way journalistically in this country. Reporting has become driven by preconceived biases about how the world should work.
This is not to say that individual acts of violence might not be tied to larger societal ills. But if we are to be honest, America’s best news organizations — the New York Times, the Washington Post and the L.A. Times — don’t kick into a higher gear when the story doesn’t fit the newsroom narrative.
Two Black girls with a stun gun set out to hijack a car one day in Washington, D.C., and murder a Pakastini immigrant. You didn’t see any speculation that Black culture played a part in this story. And, where’s the hyper-ventilated follow-up stories on what’s driving the horrible crime rate in Washington, D.C.?
A radical Muslim engages in an act of terrorism at the Capitol Building and, suddenly, the national newsmedia doesn’t have the energy to dig deeper into what that is all about?
We need quality journalism now more than ever: Facts above narrative, please.
ONE MORE THING
— Never apollogize for bad puns about Greek gods.
— In Star Wars anyone can jump into any spaceship and fly it. I just spent 20 minutes trying to find the lights on a rental car.
— If a couple runs a pot business in Las Vegas, must they file taxes jointly.
— I’m plugging my new proof-reading service. It now comes with a monkey-back guarantee.
— How tough has the COVID-19 shutdown been on business? This tough:
And with that, ladies and germs, I’ll pick up my knitting and let myself out. Be safe. Kindness never hurts, either.
(Sherman R. Frederick is the founder of Battle Born Media, a newspaper company dedicated to the preservation of community newspapers. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)