Most of us have already heard about the murder of 46-year old African-American man George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The entire nation is reeling with the after-effects of his death, and the conversation surrounding police brutality and racism in the United States has ballooned to an extent that cannot be ignored once again. In the last 48 hours, the city of Minneapolis has been marred by protests and riots calling for justice for George Floyd and the arrest of the arresting officers. New networks have continued cycle after cycle of news surrounding the death of George Floyd and social media has been full of calls to action against hate and racism within the last few days. However, many media outlets and social media presences have not done what they need to do to express the real problem with the murder of George Floyd and many other hate-fueled killings of African-Americans.
To address this problem, we must first answer the question: What is the purpose of the news?
News is an unbiased communication that keeps us informed of the changing events, issues, and characters in the world outside. Though it may be interesting or even entertaining, the foremost value of news is as a utility to empower the informed.
Well here are the unbiased facts concerning George Floyd.
FACT: Derek Chauvin has a history of at least a dozen police conduct complaints.
FACT: The protests that are occurring in Minneapolis are a right provided by the US Constitution
FACT: George Floyd did not resist arrest
FACT: George Floyd’s death was preventable, unnecessary, and unprovoked.
But if you are a consumer of certain news outlets or present on social media you can see why many people are seeing a view of this killing that has nothing to do with race. Some outlets are downplaying Floyd’s death entirely and focusing on the “unnecessary riots” that are occurring in Minneapolis. The purpose of these channels is to influence, and it’s easy to see outlets such as Fox News, MSNBC, and at times even CNN. Major figures from these outlets including Sean Hannity, Don Lemon, Geraldo Rivera, Laura Ingraham, Chris Cuomo, Rachel Maddow, Tucker Carlson, and Tomi Lahren. And all these people have one thing in common: They’ve been employed by their companies to help influence opinion. Regarding George Floyd; FoxNews and other members of the “conservative” media have decided to distance themselves from the issue of race as much as possible.
What is troubling about these so-called journalists is the recklessness of their opinions and how they are packaging it as news. Many people, whether conservative in their political views or not, are being fed these opinions and thus remaining ignorant of the inherent racism that is embedded in the country. Be advised, to understand the impact that journalists have, you need to address the biases that the audience already had and understand how the media may strengthen or dispel them. If the audience watching has notions relying on racial hatred, these media outlets don’t do much but increase them. But what about the neutral mind who has wandered to the channel looking to be informed. Do they have the right to stay ignorant due to the media that they are consuming? Sadly it’s not as simple as just changing the channel. Channels like this take pride in outwardly bashing other channels and illustrating how those forms of “news” are just “far left or far right” garbage. No one is calling for these networks to be censored, but how long can the abuse of power in the media continue. Many of these so-called conservative media presences are completely shifting the narrative when it comes to the senseless killings at the hands of police that African-Americans face. Why is it easy for Kayleigh McEnany to go on Fox News calling for “peaceful” protests and abiding by the law without addressing the murder of an African-American man. Why can Tucker Carlson quickly dismiss the events in Minneapolis and downplay it because “the Left wants you to believe otherwise.” ? These outlets know that whatever audience they are catering to are highly influenced by whatever value they claim to uphold and will employ any use of rhetoric to keep themselves on the air, and the media divided. Whether a liberal or conservative news outlet, both continue to bash the other and at times the real news and message get lost. If the media is divisive then we will remain divided. If the media continues to employ tactics such as these, there will always be a group of people that don’t believe that racism is a problem in America no matter what you try to tell them. Like Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are”, and in this case, biased media is feeding us a clouded view of reality that is inhibiting the conversation around racism.