By Steve Buschbacher
Last month, in the Philadelphia area, two missing persons stories laid bare the myth that is the “liberal media”. You know, the term that gets bandied about whenever a conservative doesn’t like the reporting of actual facts. But there is an undercurrent from most media outlets that is disturbing.
First, there was the disquieting story about 4 young men going missing just north of Philadelphia in Bucks County. Every day, the news shows started with aerial views of the search with dozens of people and dogs and trucks and heavier implements all in use to find these 4 men. The disappearance was suspicious from the start and, a week after it all began, the police department’s person of interest confessed to the murder of all 4 men.
Did I mention that all 4 men were white?
We were shown interviews with friends and family who, appropriately, were distraught at the loss of a friend or family member. My heart goes out to them. I am sorry for their loss.
We even had the obligatory “this kind of thing should never happen here” statements on TV. I always hated that. Just where IS this kind of thing acceptable?
At the same time, an 11 year old girl went missing in New Jersey. If you are in the Philly area, please tell me if the news shows had on the scene reporters covering this disappearance of a child. I did not see anything but maybe I just missed it. Maybe I missed seeing the dozens of people sent in to search for her. I also missed the helicopter shots. Then again, all the helicopters in the area were up in Bucks county searching for the missing white men. The following day, the girl’s family got the news no family ever wants to get. She was discovered dead. The victim of an apparent homicide. My heart also goes out to them for their loss.
Did I mention that the missing 11 year old girl was black?
This is not to say that the media does not cover stories that concern minorities. They do and sometimes very effectively. But it seems that if there are two competing stories, white wins out almost every time. After a major weather event like a snowstorm or flooding rains, they are quick to send camera crews to Delaware County or Rittenhouse Square to talk with locals about how there are coping. How many times have you seen camera crews sent to West Philly or Camden?
It is this kind of behind-the-scenes racism that still haunts all of us whether we know it or not. The producers of news programming select the stories to cover and with what stories to lead. Race may or may not have been a conscious decision in covering the two stories happening in Philly. And that is the bigger issue. It is still so much of a driving force that decisions have a racial bias that it is almost ingrained.
4 missing white men are more important than a missing black girl? Does her life matter? Do black lives matter? Do you finally get it or will you continue to lie to yourselves?
Let’s examine two older stories.
Brock Turner, a white male, sexually assaulted an intoxicated female who had passed out. We were told, by the “liberal media”, incessantly about his near record times as a champion swimmer. The media referred to him as “the Stanford swimmer” even after his conviction when “Stanford Rapist” might have been a more fitting appellation. Maybe this was an attempt to justify the ridiculously short sentence imposed by a judge (6 months which included three months time already served). By the way, he has been released from county jail already and is back with his family in Ohio.
Michael Brown was shot dead by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri and we were treated to views of Mr. Brown’s criminal record. Did that make it seem like he had it coming? With just a few exceptions, a defendant’s criminal record is not admissible as evidence in a court of law but not, apparently, in the court of public opinion. The media did not have a pet name for Mr. Brown or for his killer although many people not in the media referred to Mr. Brown as a “thug” perhaps so they could justify his public execution.
Bias in the media? Of course there is.
Conservative bias? From some outlets, yes
Liberal bias? Again, from some outlets.
What will it take to change news reporting? A new outlook and a new frame of mind. Oh yeah, and the realization many of us really do not care about what Justin Bieber did, what Kanye West thinks, or where Brad Pitt went on vacation.