It is no secret that a substantial portion of the public no longer trusts the mainstream media. And while there are innumerable issues which could be used to illustrate why, one issue in particular stands out. Over the past several months, America has been subjected to a phenomenon that can no longer be ignored. Several areas around the country have been subjected to flash mob mayhem. Flash mobs whose racial composition is overwhelmingly black, even as that racial composition has been determinedly ignored by the mainstream media.
How determined? Consider the story of black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who was stopped from entering his house by white Police Sgt. James Crowley, after Crowley had received a call to investigate a burglary at Gates’ house. Gates became verbally abusive and Crowley arrested him for disorderly conduct. President Obama accused the Cambridge police of “acting stupidly.” From that point on, according to several mainstream media sources, the story, along with the ensuing “beer summit,” became “a national uproar over race,” “an eye-opening dialogue on race,” “a glass of racial politics, with an aftertaste of class warfare,” and, according to The New York Times, an issue which generated “10 days of near nonstop news coverage of a case that prompted a thousand news stories about race…”
Contrast that reality with the mainstream media’s determination to avoid race in their coverage of flash mob violence. Chicago Tribuneeditor Gerould W. Kern notes that his paper does not mention race “unless it is a fact that is central to telling the story.” New York Times’ public editor, Arthur Brisbane, says his paper “has had clear policies warning reporters and editors to be careful about using ethnic, racial and religious labels,” adding that the paper’s stylebook uses the word “pertinent” as the determining factor. Using “common descriptors,” he opines, is “playing with fire.” The LA Times contends that while racial information “was once routinely included in news stories about crimes…newspapers and other media outlets stopped mentioning suspects’ or victims’ race or ethnicity because of public criticism. Newspapers came to embrace the idea that such information is irrelevant to the reporting of crimes and may unfairly stigmatize racial groups.”