Accuracy in Media

When Los Angeles police officers beat Rodney King in 1991, the video of the encounter dominated the national news. When a thug affiliated with the Service Employees International Union beat Kenneth Gladney earlier this month, the mainstream media ignored the footage.

Both men were black, and Gladney’s attacker hurled the vilest of racial insults at him, so why the discrepancy in media coverage? Gladney didn’t fit the narrative that drives the media’s coverage of race.

In his case, the editorial thinking probably went something like this: “Sure, he’s a black man, but he was attacked while distributing fliers against the proposed healthcare plan of another black man, President Obama. He was hanging out with all of those rude, crazy protesters at town halls. Maybe Gladney didn’t deserve a beating, but he sure doesn’t deserve the kind of publicity we can bestow upon him.”

I’m a newsroom veteran, so I know journalists aren’t that blunt in their daily debates about what qualifies as news. But based on the way they cover politically correct subjects like race, I can’t help but wonder sometimes if that’s the way the conversations go in their heads.

Regardless of how or where they have those conversations, the media clearly approach news about politically volatile subjects like Rodney King and Kenneth Gladney differently. Yesterday in a thorough video commentary for Pajamas TV, Bill Whittle explored how “the great liberal narrative” influences those divergent approaches.

Whittle’s boilerplate description of the current liberal media narrative is worth noting:

President Obama’s radical socialization of American health care, and in fact the entire economy, is opposed only by a small group of rural, white, ignorant, paid, gun-toting lunatics driven by a racial hatred for a black president.

Remember that every time you watch or read the news. If you do, what you see (and what you don’t) will make much more sense.

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