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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 Tribune editor 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.”
On the other hand, many media outlets have no problem condemning those who point out race as a relevant factor. The Drudge Report has received copious amounts of criticism for linking stories together about black flash mobs. The website Gawker accused the news aggregator of launching a “Black Teen Crime News Service,” further noting that Drudge is “usually more elegant in his efforts to stoke white rage.” Salon columnist Alex Pareene contends “this world of race riots and constant violent attacks on innocent Caucasians exists only in the imaginations of Matt Drudge and the paranoid suburban and exurban white people he wants to keep terrified.” The Village Voice maintains that “rightbloggers” have “taken to telling readers that crime in America is actually spinning out of control–and it’s all the fault of black people.”
Perhaps such a “kill the messenger strategy” might be successful were it not for a couple of inconvenient truths. First, if black flash mobs are nothing more than anecdotal incidents collected together to stoke white fear, one might be inclined to think that such incidents are relatively few and far between. One would be wrong. Here is a partial video compilation of black teens engaging in unlawful behavior, many of them captured, not by people with an “agenda,” but by store and street security cameras. One can only wonder at what point the ongoing stream of “anecdotes” constitutes something larger than suburban and urban “white paranoia” in the minds of progressive racial apologists.
Second, how do the apologists explain Philadelphia Mayor Micheal Nutter telling black teen flash mobs in that city “you have damaged your own race,” even as he exhorted them to “take those God-darn hoodies down, especially in the summer, pull your pants up and buy a belt ‘cause no one wants to see your underwear or the crack of your butt”? How do they explain J. Whyatt Mondesire, the head of Philadelphia’s NAACP chapter, contending that “these are majority African-American youths and they need to be called on it”?
Both men are black Americans. Are they paranoiacs “stoking white rage” as well?
Nor is the media alone in their attempt to turn a blind eye to the racial element involved in several of these incidents. Police departments are equally reluctant to pursue anything related to hate crime charges in connection with some of these assaults. In Wisconsin, where more than 100 black youths went on a rampage during the state fair, police initially issued a statement saying that “none of these incidents possessed elements that would compel the pursuance of a ‘hate crime’ prosecution,” despite several eyewitness accounts to the contrary. They were forced to reconsider when one of the teens arrested admitted focusing on white people, because they were “easy targets.” As of now, it remains the only flash mob incident where hate crimes charges are being sought.
Philadelphia Police Department First Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross explains the difficulty in pursuing such charges. “You can’t just simply look at the race of the offender and the race of the victim and say it’s ethnic intimidation,” he noted. “It may be, but we’re not sure. Does it give us pause? Yes it does.” He went further. “If we don’t know and can’t prove it, we can’t charge it,” he said. “We’re in the business of what we can prove, not what we think,” he added.
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