There are those who are asking why the recent Navy Yard massacre failed to generate the usual intense and prolonged coverage of other mass shootings. There are those who claim the psychiatric aspects of the killer are somewhat less than mesmerizing. Others have said such incidents are becoming routine, and just as quickly as the shooting coverage cooled, the gun-control rhetoric heated up.
There were even false reports that the shooter had an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. When those reports proved false, gun magazines that don’t require reloading quickly took the stage.
There is really no mystery as to why the Naval Yard shooting, practically in the shadow of the White House, failed to dominate the news beyond a day or so: The shooter was black.
Just suppose that instead of nine whites, two blacks and one Indian, it had been nine blacks, two Hispanics and one other “non-white” murdered.
I want you to try and imagine the in-depth, extensive, ongoing ad nauseum coverage of every aspect of the situation, every civil rights leader being interviewed, presidential comments and the detailed coverage that would be ongoing had this been done in a black neighborhood by a white guy.
Can’t you just see the massive rallies staged and led by “Reverend Somebody” or other? See the family members being interviewed, weeping wives and children, psychiatrists discussing the impact of the tragedy on these children, funerals with fiery sermons.
Unfortunately, you will not see any of these things, because we all know white folks don’t grieve or deserve media coverage, unless only children are involved. We hear the charges of “racist,” “racism” and “racial animosity” leveled by the media any time a black is killed by a white, regardless of the circumstances.
According to reports, the Naval Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, apparently blamed racism in part for his actions. No one can dispute this charge because it existed in the shooter’s mind. His perception of reality became the motive for his actions. This is clearly indicated by this statement from a former employer, “He felt a lot of discrimination and racism with white people especially.” In the shooter’s mind, he was cheated out of something and was apparently justified in his intent to kill.
I reiterate something I said recently as a comment on the Naval Yard shooting: The real tragedy is not the actual existence of virulent racism in America today, but the constant drumbeat of racism by the media, which causes many, who lack the knowledge and experience of actual racism, to believe that it still exists in America today. Unfortunately, this perception of racism is based on a false narrative.
Those of us who have lived through the reality of institutionalized racism know that America has progressed unimaginably beyond the real racism of 50 or 60 years ago; but, those who have not experienced real racism (as in the case of the shooter and most media analysts and commentators), often ascribe “racist actions” to others and are influenced by their perception of racism, no matter how far from the truth they may be.
It is not the media’s job (nor was it the intent of the founders) to substitute opinion for facts. Thus, in the First Amendment to the Constitution – “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press …” – they envisioned a nation of informed citizens hearing all sides of an issue via an unbiased media and participating in intelligent debates based on facts, not opinions. It was the job of the press to present, as Sgt. Joe Friday would say, “Just the facts, Ma’am.” It was then to become the responsibility of the people, via “freedom of speech,” to reach (and implement) their own conclusions/solutions.
Today, we find it ever more difficult to find any national news outlet that is totally free from a left-leaning bent. Most of the stories presented today, especially in the arena of race relations, are from the biased viewpoint that America is not “the land of the free and home of the brave” but the land of “the bigots, the oppressed, the haves and the have-nots.”
From a personal perspective, not just in my lifetime but from the period of my awareness of racial discrimination to the present moment, America has made strides beyond imagination. I became conscious of specific targeted discrimination when I “graduated” from the eighth grade in a segregated school. (We did not feel segregated; it was the closest school to our homes and all our friends went there.) I wanted to play football for the Uvalde High School Coyotes (my dad was a big fan) but was told I could not because I was “colored.” Subsequently, I was sent off to boarding school 90 miles away.
Now, imagine if you will, in less than 50 years – from total segregation and discrimination to a black president of the United States.
Do you think the national media will broadcast, televise, print, dwell on or minutely examine a story of such magnitude? I doubt it; giving America credit for the tectonic shift in race relations would undermine their whole “racist America” narrative, wouldn’t it?