Sunday, June 21, 2015

Shaping the Post-Charleston Narrative: 'Meet the Press' Channels Its Inner Dylann Roof by Showing Only Black Criminals in a Segment on Gun Control Laws

Last week, white supremacist Dylann Roof massacred 9 black Americans in a Charleston church. One of his motivations was a belief that black people are parasites, subhuman, and that "black crime" has overrun the nation.

The obsession with "black crime" and "black criminality" is not that of the White Right exclusively. It is a common belief that that transcends the political divide, has existed since the founding of the nation, and is repeatedly circulated and reinforced by the mass media, as well as other agents of mass political socialization and control in the United States.

Experts on the topic have repeatedly demonstrated that the American news media lies about race and crime. For example, black men are over-represented as criminals relative to actual crime statistics; white criminals are shown on the evening news at rates far lower than the actual data would suggest is accurate; white people are much more likely to be shown as victims of crime while people of color are far less likely to be depicted as such. The Americans news media also humanizes white criminals (showing them in business suits, talking about their families and mental health) and dehumanizes black people (showing black suspects doing the "perp walk" or in handcuffs of shackles).

[The "Missing white women" news meme is a great example of the above.]

News coverage is not natural, it is shaped by the decisions made by producers and reporters. Thus, a racist society will likely produce racist news coverage because the individuals involved in shaping that final product--and thus public opinion--have internalized said society's values.

The corporate news media reflects the values and priorities of the elite. The news media also help to set the political agenda--and to persuade the mass public into following it. This is the propaganda function of the news. 

In the aftermath of the Charleston massacre, the public discourse is being shifted away from talking about white supremacy, anti-black violence, white masculinity, terrorism, and guns towards an exclusive focus on gun control laws in a vacuum that does not deal with the other issues.

[Being sufficiently vague, I was a personal witness to that shifting of the public discourse away from race and towards a race neutral discussion of gun laws last week. The narrative can be changed in 5 minutes folks.]

This morning Meet the Press offered up a master class in shifting the narrative about the Charleston Massacre by defaulting back to the same white supremacist stereotypes about black men and crime that Dylann Roof used to rationalize his cowardly deeds. Thus, a crime of anti-black racial terrorism is transformed by the "liberal media" into a story about guns and gun crime as committed by black people. 

Meet the Press was playing some 3D chess with a meta-racism opening. We whose eyes are open can see what is actually happening, what of those who are still asleep?

As goes the saying, if you do not understand white supremacy you cannot understand American life and politics. "Until you understand racism nothing else makes sense." 


Lewis Orne said...

Slightly O.T. though relevent.. Check out how Reddit is posting about Charles Whitman the man who with a sniper rifle shot 32 people and killed 16 at the University of Texas in 1966. This killers birthday is on June 24th, many of the posts are very sympathetic to Whitman.. VERY disturbing.

INDYOO7 said...

Always so insightful as always Chauncey. So on a completely unrelated topic, have you ever read Invincible by image comics?

seeknsanity said...

And he works on the supposedly designated left channel. They are always so desperate to shift the focus back to black crime, and black on black murders but, never going deep enough to determine just how these military grade weaponry and, illegal narcotics are finding their way into to communities where over three quarters of them don't have a passport or the means to travel. That might actually expose that the crack cocaine drug scandal of the 80's wasn;t just a one-off event, but a sustained and ongoing effort.

It's as if blacks shouldn't complain when they are victims of racism. They are not even bothering to keep track,

The problem might just be that as this article put it,

Anyway, the BBC interviewed the black friend who didn't know that his friend is a racist.

If this kid is any indication the future for blacks is bleak.

chauncey devega said...

That interview was unbelievable. How did we go so wrong?

chauncey devega said...

Lots of folks have recommended it. Catching up on Saga and loving Southern Bastards and Manifest Destiny. What are you reading?

chauncey devega said...

Don't want to look in that sewer. As if a surprise white supremacists have been donating money to GOP candidates. Duh.

seeknsanity said...

I don't know CD. Even after, after it had taken place, it seems like there was not even a moment of reflection. No remorse, for not knowing, and about a shred of empathy for the victims because, "Y'all weren't the target..." WHAT?!! I'd sure like to know his back story, including comments from mom and/or dad.

Jim Wagner said...

The speed and gleefulness with which members of the corporate media have tried to make this horrific crime about anything other than race (while, of course, making it very much about race -- thanks, Chuck Todd) has been astounding.

Even more surprising to me is Paul Krugman's column in the New York Times today:

Krugman is generally on the right side of things here, but what amazes me is the extent to which he feels compelled to pussyfoot around the issue. He pointedly asserts at both the beginning and end of his column that the US is "much less racist" than it used to be. And before getting into the details of how racism continues to shape American life in the form of racist policy and politics, he takes time to say: "Of course, saying this brings angry denials from many conservatives, so let me try to be cool and careful here, and cite some of the overwhelming evidence for the continuing centrality of race in our national politics."

This is absolutely shocking to me. As any regular reader of Krugman knows, he makes no bones whatsoever about calling out idiotic, failed economic policies. Indeed, he takes pride in the fact that many members of the Very Serious media consider him "shrill" and unfair for not presenting "both sides" of a given issue with the supposedly appropriate balance. A more typical Krugman caveat on economic matters would be, "Of course, saying this brings angry denials from many conservatives, but these people are either lying demagogues or simply don't know what they're talking about." That he feels the need to assert that he will "try to be cool and careful" in today's column demonstrates pretty clearly just how much having a frank and honest discussion of American racism still constitutes a "third rail" in the public sphere. It's a minor thing, perhaps, but such language is extremely telling, especially from someone like Krugman.

rikyrah said...

AS are on point. Keep on bringing that truth.

Gable1111 said...

I can't imagine any competent journalist or staff making the decision to air that piece on Sunday, even if it had, as they said (and I don't believe it) been made long before Wednesday's shooting, if their intent wasn't for it to have the effect it obviously did.

Given what the killer said in that absolutely wicked "manifesto" of how he came to believe that blacks were "raping our women" and otherwise committing crimes against whites, and this then led to him to his beliefs, why in the world would you show a piece like that, which gives the impression that murderers are typically black? Unless that was the intent and even giving any benefit of doubt there could possibly benefit of doubt, any reasonable person could come to the conclusion this was intentional.

I'm glad Robinson was there

Gable1111 said...

I stopped watching MTP years ago to maintain my sanity. But with this the show has reached a new low. Todd disingenuously introduced the segment as "diverse" which was sickening in itself.

If there was any doubt before that the media is fanning the flames and is all in with the racists, we can disavow ourselves of that now.

drspittle said...

There has never been a doubt in my mind what they were up to.

joe manning said...

Like you say, we know racist media propaganda when we see it but what of the uninformed demographic that is the very target group of the propaganda? We can only hope that such rancid racist red meat will be regurgitated and be an ah ha moment for the ignorant.

seeknsanity said...

He does work for the New York Times. Another "designated left" media outlet.

OldPolarBear said...

In Todd's response to the criticism, he actually admits that they thought and talked about it and knew it was wrong and inappropriate. They violated their own programming judgment and standards, such as they are, to do this.

Gable1111 said...

So my question is, what was SO important that they would knowingly violate their own professional standards, as it were, to air that segment? What did they see would be the upside to it? But most of all, did no one think the risk would be what happened?

It really paints MTP and NBC in a very bad light. If this was all played straight, at best this shows Todd is really in over his head. A more seasoned journalist with integrity wouldn't have done that.

Or, and I don't even need a tinfoil hat for this, the blowback was worth the misdirection.

OldPolarBear said...

The most charitable interpretation is that it is a kind of appeasement, that they did it to avoid all the criticism they would get from the racist wingnuts. That wouldn't be an excuse anyway, but I don't buy it for a second. Their corporate masters are all about stoking the rage of the angry white racists. The other part of that is fear mongering about scary foreign terrorists so that we will feed the war machine. They are sowing the wind but unfortunately plan on having others reap the whirlwind.

INDYOO7 said...

I just picked up Suiciders. Its okay its nothing original. Think Escape from LA mixed with Mad Max Thunderdome. I'm big into Invincible. In the last few months I've read Manta Magi. It was a fun read featuring a black Neo archetype. I love reading XO-Manowar, Big Man Plans and the Goon. Those are my favs. My favorite reads always seem to involve a lone protagonist seeking some sort of revenge.

TenarDarell said...

Chauncey, for more data on how incredibly bad mainstream media is, and how figures like Todd are both aware and unaware of their complicity you should listen to this interview of Chuck Todd, by Brian Koppelmen from a couple weeks ago. It makes the fustercluck of last Sunday even more comprehensible and infuriating.