The corporate news media is part of the governing order. While some small glimpses of truth may occasionally slip out of what is a very narrowly defined and controlled terrain for "approved public discourse", the sum purpose of the mainstream corporate news media is to legitimize existing hierarchies of power.
The corporate news media cannot present a radical critique of power because by definition they are in league with the powerful.
Police are an extension of the state. And while the news media may occasionally point out examples of police abuse and corruption, they inevitably default to a narrative frame in which "almost all of the cops are good people who just want to do their jobs well" and "it is only a few rotten apples that are racist, corrupt, or who abuse the public". The police as a state institution are granted the twin standing assumptions of innocence and that they work as a positive social force. The corporate news media presents (and protects) the military and the corporation in the same manner.
Of course, black Americans (and other people of color) are not treated with the same worshipful deference and assumption of innocence. The race/crime frame dominates news coverage. Research has repeatedly demonstrated that the mainstream news media consistently misrepresents social reality by under-reporting crimes committed by white people and over-reporting those committed by blacks and Latinos. White victims of crime are highlighted; black and brown victims of crime are relatively invisible.
As discussed here, the mainstream news media (with MSNBC being one of the few exceptions) has been complicit in circulating rumors and lies about the killing of Michael Brown by the thug cop Darren Wilson, distortions that are extremely sympathetic to the latter.
The evidence is not kind to Darren Wilson. However, the corporate news media has presented what increasingly appears to be a clear case of reckless behavior and murder by cop as some type of ambiguous event.
The Washington Post presented a story about Brown's autopsy report that trafficked in rumors and a sub par analysis of the facts. The NY Times has offered up a complementary news item that attempts to humanize the Ferguson police department by presenting them as victims who are now under siege by the black community.
In Dan Barry's portrait of white police victimology, he chooses to focus on how two African-Americans--a police officer and dispatcher (out of a total force of 54 people)--are negotiating the racial tensions surrounding the killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson.
This is a recurring and tired trope in America: the "good" blacks are presented as a juxtaposition to the "bad" and "troublesome" negroes.
Thus, the question is implied that "why can't those bad blacks act more like the good ones and there wouldn't be any racial problems?" White supremacy in the post civil rights era works by perversely deflecting the responsibility for, and causes of, white racism back on to black and brown people.
On the Other Side of Ferguson’s Protest Lines, Officers Face New Threats is an example of the "human interest" genre of news reporting. This type of writing does not exist outside of a broader institutional and social context.
To point. The gross racial imbalance in the Ferguson police department is a signal to the racist relationship between that organization and the black community. The NY Times' effort to humanize the Ferguson police department assumes that they are deserving of empathy when in fact its officers have behaved in violent, corrupt, and menacing ways towards the black and brown community they ostensibly protect and serve.
And the NY Times' On the Other Side of Ferguson’s Protest Lines, Officers Face New Threats does not ask an obvious question about the black members of the Ferguson police department: what type of values must a person of color possess in order to be part of an organization that violates the civil rights of African-Americans as a matter of policy, and treats them with disrespect and violence?
The legendary photojournalist Bob Adelman explained that he was not capable of presenting the white on black violence of Jim and Jane Crow in a "balanced" way because the bigots who were beating down and killing civil rights workers and activists had no moral authority or virtues to expound or triumph.
Likewise, it would be irresponsible and morally unacceptable to write a store about the Holocaust and the death camps by focusing on how the guards' feet hurt from standing on them all day long. The men who crewed slave ships that brought millions of black human cargo across the Middle Passage may have gotten sunburn from working on the deck. Again, the ultimate story is in those who are suffering in the hold of the ship, not on those who work that machinery of evil.
On the Other Side of Ferguson’s Protest Lines, Officers Face New Threats would like the reader to believe that it must be so very difficult to be a police officer in Ferguson at present. The NY Times is confusing cause and effect. If there are any difficulties in being a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri those challenges are caused by their personal choices and institutional policies towards the black and brown residents of that community.