These are two of the most enduring lies promulgated by conservatives: Taxes are evil and the news media in America is liberal. They are both nonsense, but the latter lie should (but won’t) be laid to rest after a week of news coverage on the Baltimore riots.
What flickered by on our screens and monitors was the blatant and clumsy attempt to create a narrative that serves the interests of this country’s corporate elite rather than the truth. From Wolf Blitzer to Geraldo Rivera to CNN’s Erin Burnett, the narrative has been this: Look at those black kids breaking windows and setting things on fire. Isn’t that horrible? Say it with me, “that’s horrible.” To their credit, a number of interviewees pushed back and said no, that’s not the narrative from the black community’s point of view. Our narrative is this: Police officers are murdering unarmed black people, and their police superiors and the courts are not bringing these criminal cops to justice.
The media’s focus on acts of violence is like a doctor treating a skin rash and not considering the internal issues causing the rash. Video of people running amok in city streets is much more enticing than graphs and data about police violence and murder in black communities, and it also serves to confirm the biases and bigotry of the news media’s advertisers and older, white demographic.
Coverage of the Baltimore riots lays bare the corporate media’s servitude to the interests of the elites. It’s 2015 and whistleblowers are jailed instead of those responsible for the criminal acts they revealed, major financial institutions and Wall Street are exempt from the law, and cops can still get away with murdering black people. These are clear signs of a democracy in decline.