No surprise, there.
Or, at least, there shouldn’t be.
A report recently released by the Media Insight Project revealed 75 percent of African Americans said they believed news coverage of their communities was only moderately-to-slightly accurate, if at all.
Sixty-six percent of Latino news consumers felt the same; all things considered, the sentiment’s not one that’s difficult to comprehend.
Every time you turn around, Mainstream Media (MSM) seems to be going out of its way to paint African Americans and Latinos in the worst light imaginable, with African Americans seemingly receiving the brunt of the negativity.
Think about it like this: Whenever white people commit SHOCKINGLY INHUMANE acts of violence against others – the Columbine, Sandy Hook, and Aurora, CO shootings come to mind – MSM is quick to dismiss those homicidal outbursts as an unwelcome side effect of “going off one’s prescribed anti-psychotic meds”, “being troubled” (however vague and nonspecific that is), or “finally” succumbing to the weight of their “White Man’s burdens”. Any investigation into the perpetrators’ backgrounds is only done with the goal of supporting the “he wouldn’t have done it, were he in his right mind” narrative often used to excuse the inexcusable, and forgive the un-forgivable.
White male perpetrators of violent crime get the benefit of the doubt, in spite of their guilt, while Black male victims of violent crime – in spite of their innocence – have no such luck. In fact, whenever an un-armed Black man is gunned down by a power-crazed, psychologically imbalanced and racist police officer, one of the FIRST things MSM does is dig through the victim’s social media profiles and/or conduct a criminal background check to see if they can find anything that can be used to disparage the Brother’s character, and blame him for his own demise. In so doing, MSM conveniently ignores the fact even if the victim had a rap sheet 12 miles long, he still had rights as a citizen.
And if it just so happens there’s nothing in the victim’s social media profile to help justify the public’s indifference to his fate, and (God forbid) said Black male never had a criminal record to speak of, should an autopsy reveal illegal drugs were in his system, MSM will use that report to further undermine any attempt to elicit an empathetic or sympathetic reaction from the public.
And, if THAT doesn’t work, they’ll just post whatever pictures they found online of OTHER Black men holding guns, smoking weed, or flashing gang signs, claiming the person in those photos is the victim, in order to further justify their victim-blaming efforts.
Because you know, all of us Coloreds look alike.
That’s the only reason there’s even an entity called “The Black Press”: Our journalistic forefathers were acutely aware of the fact white publications couldn’t be trusted to accurately depict life in Black America, so they decided to stop leaving it up to the hunter to tell the lion’s tale.
It’s almost hilariously obvious not a lot has changed since the days of Black journalism freedom fighters Ida B. Wells, Frances Ellen Watkins, and Timothy Thomas Fortune. Mass Media’s still saying, “Black folks are bad”, and society still believes them when they say it.
Here’s what adds insult to the injury: Though there are currently African American publications of every stripe on newsstands, and online, many of them seem to have little regard for their anti-lynching and anti-oppression roots, and thus have strayed far from the Black Press’ original mission.
That lack of diligence is in no small part responsible for our poor public perception, today.
Because MSM figured out the best way to neutralize the power of the Black Press is to poach its talent, certain Negro members of the Fourth Estate have found contentment in being employed by the same media outlets that – even to this day – only seem to acknowledge our existence when we’re either helping perpetuate our stereotypes, or when they need tokens to represent the so-called diversity of America’s newsrooms.
And of course, as integration is often touted as a sign of progress (albeit an illusory one), more than a few Black journos have proudly settled into their roles as Token Newsroom Negroes.
But, here’s the problem: The mere presence of Black journalists at white-owned media outlets will never compel them to alter their coverage of our community to make it more reflective of OUR truth.
And why would it? A Black journalist’s employment with the New York Times doesn’t change the racial makeup of its ownership any more than the “African” colors and Negro-friendly fonts present on theRoot.com’s website would negate theirs. (The Conglomerate Formerly Known As The Washington Post Company owns TheRoot.com.)
And that’s because the people who publish these poison pen narratives look nothing like us, have little use for us, save for our $1.3 trillion contribution to the country’s GDP, and have no vested interest in telling stories about us that would paint us with even a modicum of dignity.
So, if ownership of the media outlet is what determines the quality and integrity of the coverage it provides, shouldn’t we know by now the simple act of hiring more Blacks to write for publications like the Boston Herald or The Los Angeles Times won’t solve our little “image” problem?
If we have any hope of getting a fair shake via mass media, there has to be a 21st century Black Media Renaissance.
A substantive one.
There are far too many Black-owned and Black-affiliated publications that have amassed a colossal following from making much ado about nothing.
The unrelenting focus some of us place on celebrity gossip, reality TV, and the Trials and Triumphs of Olivia Pope ain’t doing us no favors.
There should to be more of us writing stories that speak to our humanity, and to our resilient Spirit.
There should be more of us writing stories that highlight THE GOOD WE ARE, as well as THE GOOD WE DO.
There should be more of us writing stories that accurately tell our history, give reverence to our Ancestors, and properly document the contributions the Nubian Man and Nubian Woman have made to the whole of civilization.
We can do that, now. We have the technology.
If our current narrative controls how we see ourselves in relationship to the world around us, and also impacts the way we’re viewed by others in the world, then why in the Hell are we allowing our enemies to control OUR global narrative?
We’ve already seen the bang-up they’ve done with it, thus far.
How much more do we need to see?