Fix Ferguson by Getting Rid of the Media

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


FergusonIf there’s a problem in America or anywhere in the world, inflicting the media on it can only make it worse. By some accounts there are more reporters in Ferguson than there are protesters. That may be why the protesters ran for cover behind the media after throwing bottles of urine at the police.

There are so many reporters in Ferguson that the rioters and looters can use them as human shields. You just wouldn’t know it because they don’t take pictures of each other. The occasional photos of media scrums around a crying woman in the Middle East or an angry protester in Ferguson reveal the artificiality of the event. It’s okay to have one reporter in front of a camera, but when there are so many reporters at an event that they outnumber everyone else, the whole thing starts looking like a movie set on which events are staged for the entertainment and profit of the producers.

Remember that every time you see a masked protester caught in the act of throwing a rock or a loving couple huddled in fear of dark masked shapes in riot gear, these images are as artificial and posed as anything in an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.

They show you what is in front of the camera, not what is behind it.

Look through the news reports of riots anywhere and you’ll see the same poses repeat across continents and generations. The rioters are different people with different causes and agendas, but the photos of them are being taken and selected by the same people from the same news agencies.

There is never anything new on the news because the media has a pre-existing formula for handling any event. What we think of as the newspaper or the evening news just plugs actual news into its formula and turns it into propaganda.

The national news network and the newspaper of record tell the same few stories just like Hollywood makes the same movies, even if they seem to feature different characters and places. That’s because the formula doesn’t change. The formula is what we are getting from Ferguson’s mob of professional and amateur reporters each fighting for the chance to retell the same story to the same audience.

Calling the packed masses of angry leftists in Ferguson “reporters” is a little unfair. Even the term media is mostly meaningless. Ferguson is packed with reporters from national and local news networks. Alongside them are crews from enemy state propaganda outlets like Al Jazeera and RT. And they’re the cream of the crop compared to Vice, Infowars and activists with digital cameras selling what they shoot to anyone who will buy it.

Every young leftist who is afraid of going Syria or Gaza has come down to Ferguson to pad his Instagram with something besides photos of last night’s dinner. Activism is to today’s privileged liberal youth what taking a year off to tour Europe used to be to their parents and grandparents. Instead of backpacking through France, they pop some camera gear into their messenger bags and head down to Ferguson to link hands with another Evergreen or Vassar grad while shouting about justice before posing for selfies.

This groundbreaking activism will be a jumping off point for their actual careers in the media where all the Evergreen and Vassar grads will meet once again, except they’ll be wearing suits or power suits and reading from a prepared script and reminiscing about the good times shouting at the cops back in 2014.

The problem in Ferguson revolves around the media the way that the earth revolves around the sun.

There’s no point in marching around and shaking your fists if no one is paying attention to you. The riots and looting will continue for as long as there are correspondents there to shove cameras into angry faces while asking them what it is that they are so angry about. And if they aren’t angry yet, they’ll find something to be angry about if they want to be on the evening news.

Your evening news is no different than reality television. The impromptu performers know what is expected of them and the producers and writers know the story that they want to tell. The rest is improvisation which will be polished and assembled into a more coherent story in post-production.

Most in this media savvy age already know what is expected of them. If they meet Jay Leno with a camera, they know that giving the dumbest possible answer to his questions about history is the way to get on television. If they’re cast on a reality show, they know that behaving like unhinged lunatics will keep the camera on them as long as possible. And if they’re in Ferguson, they know to shout about justice and peace while making death threats because that’s what will get them on television.

Whether it’s reporting on race riots or mass killings, the media perpetuates the behavior that it’s decrying because it delivers ratings and serves its political agenda. Most of the time its talking heads denounce a problem that has always existed and then move on to the next topic. That’s destructive because we are constantly “rediscovering” problems that have never gone away. But it’s even worse when the media camps out and refuses to go away.

Just ask the Israelis.

Thirty years ago international correspondents were paying small boys to throw rocks at Israeli tanks. These days the rocks have been replaced by rockets and the media carefully edits the footage to show the Israeli response not the Hamas attack. The ratings go through the roof and so do the rockets.

The conflict is an open wound because, like Ferguson, it attracted every reporter, stringer and random activist with a camera and a sociology degree to chronicle it. And if there’s no violence, then there’s nothing to chronicle. When terrorists attack Israel, they know that a media army will be there to tell the world their side of the story giving them every possible reason to use violence to control world opinion.

When the media colonizes a conflict, it turns into an open wound that can never heal because healing is a nice short term story, but conflict is an even better long term story. That’s what it is doing in Ferguson.

If Ferguson had never become a national story, the violence would already be over and the kids would be headed to school. But the violence can’t end as long as the media keeps rewarding the violent with attention and encouragement. The very presence of the media encourages protests by promising that an extra-legal option to shortcut the process will give them what they want. And Governor Nixon has already all but promised it to them. And that too is just another way of perpetuating the violence.

The media can be defeated. Its mass of scribblers, photographers and teleprompter readers follows the smell of blood. If a wound is open, they will tear it open and keep it from closing. But if the wound is closed, they have to pack up their tents and go find another bloody mess to feast on.

Don’t reason with them. Making the mistake of trying to win the media over is even more useless. All you can do is cut off their supply by shutting down the conflict as hard and fast as possible. The short term publicity will be ugly, but an ugly media day is better than a bad media month or year.

Conflict is the vital fluid of any narrative. Take away the conflict and there is no longer a story. Without a bleeding wound, the swarming media mobs toting cameras, microphones and iPads will follow the trail of blood to their next story.

And then they will become someone else’s problem.

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  • Godzilla Smash14

    This is why when I heard of the cops arresting reporters I was on the cops side. So sad that what would usually be seen as a horrible thing is now seen as good because of these race hustlers pretending to be journalists.

    • BS77r

      Now Ferguson is on 24 7….I wont watch another second of this garbage. Let the grand jury hear the case……and go from there.

      • Ivan

        This case should not be allowed to go before a grand jury. In this lynch mob atmosphere, a grand jury will be influenced by the media frenzy and the ongoing mob. It will indict this cop. Expecting a grand jury to do a good job in this atmosphere would be like trying to study calculus at a rock concert. No. No. No.

        • BS77

          The hearing of evidence and witness accounts should be held in another location. Most Americans want to know the truth about this incident.

      • sid_goldberg

        Just don’t watch Zio-TV(aka- anything on TV)!

    • sid_goldberg

      Moron Of The Day!

      • UCSPanther

        You hate journalists, now you are defending them?

        Trying to have it both ways again?

  • Ivan

    I’ve also been thinking of this subject. The media is functioning like Joseph goebbels propaganda ministry. I’m wondering if the constitution and the first amendment should not be suspended somehow. This subject needs more thought. I know in Europe they have banned criticism of islam or various politically correct topics. I’m wondering if there’s not a way to suspend communist ideology or left wing views. There must be a remedy. I understand Daniel is not advocating this. I’m merely saying that the subject of criminalizing this kind of demagoguery needs to be addressed. The ancient romans were very concerned with demagoguery also. It’s a real social evil. I’ve seen the pictures from ferguson. It’s all police and media and a few demonstrators. It’s a real spectacle. It could be shut down in 5 minutes. Holder is there to see that it continues, and also to ensure that the police are charged with civil rights violations. By the way, I’m not a novice at the subject. I once taught a college class in first amendment law to journalism students. I understand the intent of the constitution is to restrain the state. I also understand that the very state itself is threatened by dangerous demagogues from inside the state, acting in conjunction with the media. This is a serious problem that needs thought.

  • Ivan

    The purpose of the media is to allow a marketplace of ideas. And truth will invariably win out. And truth does tend to win. But at what price? The west defeated communism. But the Cold War lasted far too long, all due to the weakening effect of domestic enemies, here and in Europe. The left is far too influential. I am in favor of criminalizing some of their thinking. lest anyone call me a facist, remember that god himself criminalizes covetousness in the Ten Commandments: thought crime. And communism equals covetousness.

    • kasandra

      But at this time, in this country, in most of the West, there isn’t a marketplace of ideas in the media. There is a near monopoly. Go to ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The L.A. Times, etc. and it’s all cut from the same cloth and from the same point of view – both what they report and, probably more importantly, what they don’t report.

      • Conniption Fitz

        They use the same talking points, phrases and key words given them by their progressive overlords. Several videos have been made showing how they spoon out ideas and concepts to shape public opinion.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I don’t think that truth invariably wins out. Maybe in the religious sense ultimately, but that’s very much a long view.

      In the short term lies frequently do win out.

  • Ivan

    I desire contradiction and argument on this point, and am not convinced that I am correct.

    • kasandra

      You won’t get a contradiction from me. I believe that the whole situation in Ferguson is being capitalized on by the administration and the media to energize blacks to come out and vote in the fall Congressional election. Historically, turn out in mid-term elections is low – particularly among black voters. If you can turn out more members of a group that votes 95% Democrat, it helps a lot. The administration wants this result; its cheerleaders in the media want this result. Add in a trumped-up claim of excessive force by a white cop result in the death of a black youth and you have a perfect storm to generate black turn-out in November.

      • Still Educating the Idiots

        What we really NEED to do — and SHOULD do — is to get some people down there, to videotape — LIVE — the buses, as they arrive en masse, at the scene, and record the spectacle, as the hordes of non-resident “professional protesters” spew forth, like so much endless vomit, as soon as the doors open . . . now, THAT would make for a FANTASTIC visual — all the dozens of buses simultaneously and serially pulling up; and then, the obviously-non-local dregs issuing from the opened doors, armed with their signs, weapons, mouths, etc. — this would’ve been GREAT at Ferguson — but although it’s too late for that, in this instance, there’s STILL TIME to do this, in the Scott Walker race — where the Unions are bussing-in such professional hordes, in order to artificially tighten-up the race (and of course, ultimately, to overtake it — in a race which, if it had been left untampered-with in such manner, wouldn’t have even been close!) – i.e., SHOW the People, what REALLY is going on (because these low-information voters DON’T know — because they’re basically not interested enough, to keep themselves informed, on their own). THIS tactic (recording the arrival of the busloads of imported “protesters”) WILL work! I guarantee it . . . !

    • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

      I wish I had more time to help out. Here are some brief thoughts. Basically, we who value freedom cannot suspend the Constitution and make the expression of Leftist views illegal. In a free society, people can advocate communism, but they cannot begin to impose it. One of the reasons we’re in so much danger today is that the Constitution has already been violated – by the Left – and in ways that tilt the political playing field to favor them (e.g. by the massive redistribution of income in the modern welfare state). And we must fight the Left – but not by adopting their totalitarian means. The battle is primarily intellectual, and we are losing by default because our alleged champions, the Republican Establishment, doesn’t want to fight.

      Horowitz has written a book, recently highlighted here at FPM, on how to fight the Left, and you might want to refer to it. I will only say in addition that the forces of freedom in this country (principally Conservatives) must have more of a media platform than we currently do (talk radio and Fox News), and we must have a political party, preferably the Republican Party once we take control of it from the Establishment-men, or else a new party which will destroy the GOP.

      N. A. Halkides, http://www.stubbornthings.org

  • JR Kipling

    The military defeated the media in the Gulf Wars. After Vietnam and pre Obama
    it had come to an understanding of what this pack of hyenas was capable of
    doing. The method is simple. Control the combat zone. Declare that you want to protect the media from harm and keep them out of the way of the troops. Put the media in a “media pool” . Confiscate media equipment and reissue to those being escorted. Set up checkpoints for everyone entering zone. No pass. No entry.

    • truebearing

      Great point.

      • sid_goldberg

        Correction- you are Moron Of The Day!

        • kertitor

          And you are The Unwanted Of The Forever

    • sid_goldberg

      Wow- unlimited My Lai Massacres for all!

      • UCSPanther

        May a thousand Dresdens befall you…

      • http://www.stubbornthings.org NAHALKIDES

        Consider yourself flagged, hideous troll.

  • johnlac

    The lib media is doing in Ferguson what it has been doing for more than half a century….only presenting “news” that supports its positions on the issues. It’s not the lies the media tells, it’s the truth it hides.

    • sid_goldberg

      How about we just get the Zionists to stop controlling the US media?Oh yeah- and elimination of Jewish media ownership also.

      • kertitor

        woof, woof

  • Dallas25305

    CNN the Communist News Network, MSNBC the Marxist Socialist National Broadcasting Corporation just love this event and are doing everything possible to keep it going. Apparently there was a 20 year old, unarmed white guy who was shot by a Black Cop just a couple of weeks ago in the St Louis area. There was a report of a gun in a variety store. This young man and his brother and cousin where coming out of the store and the Black Cop orders them on the ground. The other two complied. He didn’t move fast enough and the BLACK Cop shot him dead. They were all unarmed. Where is the Liberal Socialist media in this case??? Attacks by black power racist thugs on Whites are ignored. However when black street thugs like the Gentile Giant and Trayvon are blown away it’s just horrible. Especially when Barack Hussein and Holder get involved to teach whitey a lesson.

    • American Patriot

      Did that incident happened? Why is the media ignoring that story? Do you have the link to the story? It is a must-read.

    • laura r

      daniel needs to do a story on this is he hasnt already. war on whites in full swing.

  • DogmaelJones1

    Spot-on, Daniel. Let’s trounce the hyenas of the MSM by denying them food to feast on.

  • RadioACE

    All of our rights have limits placed upon them. A common limit is when public safety concerns are raised i.e. one can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded movie theater. When media becomes a magnet for a story, creating a public safety concern, the local government responsible for public safety should ban the press from covering the event.

    Some will argue the slippery slope, media must understand that limits on freedom are lost by irresponsible assertion of rights. I have a right to report this, but should I?

    • Steve Bryant

      The media have deserted their obligation to inform the public. That obligation is why they are given exceptional considerations in our constitution that are not afforded to the rest of us. If they refuse to perform their role in a free society, then the special “rights” they are given should be reigned in accordingly.

  • Arlie

    I do not allow television in my home. I will not pay for propaganda and bondage. The way i figure. First you have to by the equipment: tv. Then you have to pay to watch it: cable. Then you have to pay for the electricity to run it. Then you have to sit…brain-dead in front of it…..what a waste of time and money! Paying for your own Bondage and Disinformation! All the while to government and their corporate leaches get filthy rich and more oppressive. Wake up America. Have a tv smashing party or something. I had a dream where people where throwing their tv’s out of windows…like “I can’t take it anymore!” Then people started taking to their families and neighbors once more.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Kill-Media-Martial-Conspiracy-ebook/dp/B009063F5W/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1345573494&sr=1-2 jeffreyafriedberg

    Read “Kill the Media,” on A M A Z O N

  • kasandra

    Excellent column. It’s sort of an outgrowth of the so-called observer effect where the mere observation of an experiment changes its results. Only this is worse because the observers are actively trying to get a certain result.

  • http://johnnyangeladvocacygroup.net JohnnyAngel Advocacy Group

    Great piece !! Though we need reporters at any event, we don’t need inflammatory aganda driven “reporters” there. He is 1000% correct !!!

  • nimbii

    Once again Daniel, you cut right through the media images and get right down to it.

    Seeing the media as a business (that must draw viewers to increase advertising rates) makes what we see on TV more understandable.

    Seeing the media “reporters” as self promoting post-adolescents makes clear the tie between protests and tiresome media formulas.

    The fact that the DOJ is also stoking this to get something going for November is reprehensible. To that account, we have elected the enemy….

  • liz

    “Take away the conflict and there is no longer a story.” The problem is, they create the conflicts as well as the stories. They manufacture crises, drum up anger among their useful idiots, send in their goons to escalate it to violence, and then dramatize it through the propaganda mill of media. And THEN demand government intervention to solve the problem – that being the main objective.
    They are all participating in domestic terrorism by abusing the system itself.

  • Conniption Fitz

    This time around they can divert Obama/Crump’s plans to use this case for election manipulation, by dragging out the Grand Jury process until after the election.
    If Holder/Obama/Crump/Sharpton, Anonymous, NBPP, et al incite riots, looting and cause damage and deaths in cities around the country, it (and the Amnesty fiasco) will sour opinions and polls of Democrats and Obama/Holder’s people (blacks and Islamists) even more.

    • Conniption Fitz

      I love the way the police have (using Sunshine laws) steadily dribbled out the evidence and factual information faster than Crump and Company can refute it. Every day, the BGI political hacks are looking more and more foolish and less and less credible.

  • meanpeoplesuck

    We need the media to continue to shine a light on this, because predictably, the KKK/police there are now changing their tune just like they did in the Trayvon Martin case, Remember the pictures of George Zimmerman coming out of the police car, barely a scratch on him? Later doctored photos of him with blood came out. Now the lying white power structure in Ferguson is saying that the police officer had broken bones from being punched. Sure! Why wasn’t that information released immediately after the incident? Because it’s pure BS.

    • MrUniteUs1

      Makes you wonder.

      • Pimpton

        Don’t wonder too far, you get lost!

    • laura r

      not released as they needed to prosecute a white man, start riots, keep the race card going. business as usual.

    • American Patriot

      Zimmerman is part Hispanic, just like the Radical-in-Chief is half-white. Race was not a factor in the Trayvon-Zimmerman case. You leftists turn everything into a race issue.

    • https://twitter.com/LibsHateUs Ban Liberals

      You illustrate just how evil and mentally ill liberals are.

    • iluvisrael

      the myth of the ‘gentle giant’ in Ferguson is coming up against tough facts, like the cop having his eye socket broken – don’t let facts get in the way of your rant.

  • Capt Bob

    You are 100% correct. The media is aways blowing things up to cause more news.

    • William

      The corporate news media has an agenda to make people fearful to push the government’s propaganda.
      Fear is a powerful motivator.

      • truebearing

        Fear is always the tool of the Mafia, street gangs, dictators, Marxists, and Muslims. In this country, the media is Marxist. They use the media to scare whites into submission by defending black on white violence and demonizing law enforcement.

        • William

          There is a Marxist media in America but it’s mostly on college radio and street corner newspapers. Maybe 15 people paying attention at any given time. The vast majority of media is corporate, with over 90% owned by just 5 corporations. Its agenda is to promulgate government and corporate propaganda. Look at corporate TV News for example, the channel at #1 is FOX ‘News’.. do you believe FOX is Marxist?

          I doubt you know what Marxism is.

          • CDM

            Fox is number one because they are the only ones who don’t parrot the left-liberal narrative. Pretty much everyone else goes to Media Matters or TPM to learn what they are supposed to say.

            And I know what Marxism is: It’s a wet dream for people who have the obsessive desire to control other people.

          • William

            FOX is not much different than the rest of the corporate news channels, just that the propaganda and racism is more open and blatant.

          • truebearing

            Based on your comments in the past, I doubt you know what much of anything is. If you don’t think Marxists are dominating our media, you are a complete fool.

          • William

            I know what a Marxist is, and I have been studying government propaganda for decades. Go look up what a Marxist is. Try google and go from there. Marxists today see the media as being a tool for government and corporate war propaganda.

          • truebearing

            The corporate media you babble about, with the exception of Fox, are by definition fascist. They report what the leftist government wants, but are allowed to profit from it. Fascism is yet another ideology that originated from Marxism.

            Obama’s entire presidency has been a clinic in fascism, from his massive violation of our laws protecting secured investors during the “auto bailout” to his “venture fascism” with green energy. Obama is not a fascist, however. It is a transitional strategy. He is simply using all of the tools of corruption offered by the various statist ideologies inspired by Marx. The crony capitalism of National Socialism makes for an easier, incremental transition to international socialism. Once firmly in fascistic control of the US, the transition to transnationalism, ie communism, is much smoother.

          • William

            Uh, FOX is the most authoritarian right wing of all the mainstream news channels.

  • William

    Thankfully the liberal media is doing their job down there. Independent/alternative media like Indymedia and Vice TV have been streaming live on the internet from the ground, showing what’s really going on there. If you were to watch FOX News or CNN you’d think it was only black ‘thugs’ involved.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      Let’s not forget all the liberal white boys who are also taking photos.

      • laura r

        this criminal frenzy is created & backed up by the progressive whites. without an audience this mini seris may have died down a week ago. so evil.

        • Lanna

          And the business owners are left to repair the damage and pick up the pieces of the looting, destruction, and robberies left by anarchists who invaded Ferguson.

          • laura r

            everything just becomes a social event, a facebook op, its sick.

    • truebearing

      “Doing their job” translates to lying, ignoring evidence, attacking white people, and following the Media Matters script. Brown was a black thug, and so were the vast majority of the people rioting — who weren’t from Ferguson.

  • laura r

    how about continuing the violence & making this a tourist stop? good business OP. we can set up food stands vendors selling teeshirts rappers. there could be a seris w/in a seris. the rioters will be the reality stars. what do you think? coming soon?

  • https://twitter.com/LibsHateUs Ban Liberals

    Actually just about ALL the problems in this country could be solved if we got rid of the liberal, biased, useless media.

  • truebearing

    Media access should be limited to media outlets that have an objectivity rating. Activist media shouldn’t be allowed in places like Ferguson.

    Journalism has no standards. Until it is held to professional standards, like doctors are, their is no hope of objectivity, therefore the media becomes nothing more than the Wormtongue Network for the ruling party.

  • laura r

    see WND artical: national day of rage. will these violent protests be world wide? will the policeman have a chance?

  • krinks

    Do what I’ve done for years now. STOP WATCHING BROADCAST NEWS OF ANY KIND. Simple. Let them all go the way of the newspaper and die.