We really need to talk about why the media likes to sanitize bigots and bigotry
America has a race problem. The media has an even deeper issue with bigotry and the bigots they cowardly protect. You would think that having a White president, who proudly identifies as a White nationalist, would intensify the need to avoid tendencies to pretty up the ugliness in our midst — but that hasn’t been the case.
The media can’t afford to irreversibly anger those that provide the clicks and traffic.
There is the traditionalized route of vilifying Trump, and there’s also the urgency to stealthily utilize his potency as the seamless engine for career-making moves and epic ratings. Major networks are reveling in this deadly climate that has ended many Black and Brown lives, while allowing for prominent anchors to channel their trajectories in alignment with the “breaking news” of unsightly actions by the White man who is paying the bills.
The truth is that we need Trump to be the constant and dependable villain.
That’s why Yamiche Alcindor endured having her dignity stripped away in full view of her colleagues, when the president accused her of being a racist, and not one single member of the press corps came to her defense — during that cringe-worthy moment when a Black woman was verbally assaulted by a racist asshole.
It explains why the media over-indulges in the hypocritical fodder of presenting the heroic tales of oppressed citizens, overcoming the very worst this country has to offer, while doctoring the words and phrases to prevent the deplorable themes from exacting justifiable damage to the perpetrators.
Social media and online journalism didn’t just destroy print — it also killed the art of reporting.
The golden age of journalism is a fascinating era for journalists like me, who are desperately trying to recall the aura of the illustrious past.
It’s a terrifically challenging feat, when you consider the threat of an irretrievably broken system, that no longer recognizes the inappropriateness of White notables, who deserve to be shamed for their shameful demonstrations of unfiltered hate, and outright rejection of the laws that were instituted to prevent the disease of lawlessness.
The societal disorder that currently overwhelms has been magnified by the GOP and how party members have accepted the responsibility of enabling the catastrophic results of a leaderless nation.
Fifty years ago, Richard M. Nixon took the oath of office and became the 37th president of the United States of America. He survived the first term, and managed to secure a second one, but the Watergate scandal, that was supported by damning materials, proving his guilt beyond a doubt — forced Nixon to resign in disgrace.
The abrupt end to a presidency in turmoil is significant, especially when the Commander-in-Chief makes the difficult decision to walk away from his job duties, with the understanding that his legacy will be forever shattered by the historical relevance of his traitorous governance.
But the fundamental aspects of the scandal that made the early seventies the period when the nation was entrenched in nationalized espionage, was the relentless pursuit for justice by two passionately-driven reporters from The Washington Post — Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein.
Both men could easily be described as the very definition of “American patriotism.”
They were seasoned journalists who were willing and able to risk it all for the assignment of tackling the stench of nefariousness, that couldn’t be doused with flowery scents of nonchalance, and the guiltless adherence to methodical withdrawals from the entire landscape of #facts.
When you have the serious fracture of governmental hierarchies, that are embroiled in a major coverup, that floods pollution into the avenues of our democracy under the tutelage of the “leader of the free world” — the value of reportage goes all the way up.
Then you add the tampering of documents and misallocation of funds based on the incentive to blot away the loot from the “break-in” heard around the world — there is nothing else to do but endeavor to unearth the gems from the wreckage.
It’s hard not to wonder how well Woodard and Bernstein would’ve fared in this era of social discontent and maddened chaos, that allows for a dubiously sinister figure with love affairs that center around his preferred palate for murderous dictators — to be righteously feted by the entertainment industry — through once-ailing institutions that have been brought back to life with hearty laughter at their expense.
Citizen Trump was a celebrity with reality show about celebrities who want to rule kingdoms of gold, and it was this bloated resume that led him towards the path of greatness.
To be great in America is to be in a position of influence, whether you’ve earned the right or not. It’s the reason why “influencers” can be paid thousands of dollars to lounge in five-star resorts, and right illegible blurbs that explain how we can catch a direct flight to a paradise, that we can only afford to hover and click on.
Trump didn’t run for office because of his lengthy record of community service, and his steadfast mission to fight for the liberty and security of all Americans. Like most White males with too much money and all the privilege to match that station, there was no concrete reason to reject the seduction of absolute power.
Republicans were hungry to bounce back from 8 years of brutal perfection that was steered by the Messiah-like Black man with an Ivy League degree, and the charming disposition that made world leaders melt on contact.
Donald Trump is a dangerous motherfucker, but Barack Obama was lethal.
How do you reconcile the Black man in The White House, with the swagger to boot, who knew what to say, how to say it and never stuttered in the face of supreme hate from White men in suits, who secured every blessed opportunity to remind the negro in the Oval Office that he would always be a NIGGER.
Those 8 years of celebration, that was amassed from the validating imagery of the first-ever Black family, were tortured by the weightiness of how White people in positions of authority, scan’t respectfully tolerate the evidence of how little they matter when Blackness takes centerstage.
Notable Republicans loudly condemned what they couldn’t change, and erupted into fits of rage at the inability to remove the stain of Blackness from the House of Whiteness.
Republican Congressman Steve King was one of the foul-mouthed bigots, who didn’t hold back his contempt for the Black president and Black first lady. His numerous comments about migrants have been boldly consistent with the hateful rhetoric that Trump continues to trumpet without restraint.
But King literally built his career around his utter disdain for Black and Brown folks, and his practiced bigotry has flourished under the rule of thumb set forth by the media, that negates the treacherousness of hate speeches with the penmanship of giving White people the freedom to be abhorrently expressive.
This translates to refusing to assess situations and the people who create them in ways that appropriately capture what can’t be disputed by anyone with cells of common sense.
It means coming up with innovative descriptions that are manufactured to replace the enormity of hate-filled passages that should be classified in the category that best describes the delivered sentiment.
It means major news organizations like NBC, circulating a mandate that strongly warns staffers against referencing Steve King as the racist he is, because his public endorsement of White supremacy doesn’t qualify under the code of misconduct — according to the regulations of overpaid executives who can’t afford to alienate influential bigots — who supply rent and bonuses.
That’s why a conservative train wreck from Fox News was transferred to the mainstream territory of greed and cumbersome neutrality.
Megyn Kelly was the appetizing White woman, who became famous for sparring with candidate Trump, and admirably won the votes of White women, who voted for Trump, and fell in love with Kelly’s activeness of White feminism.
Kelly’s streak of cheering the brutalization of Black people, particularly Black women and their children, didn’t dissuade NBC from ignoring the dollar signs dangling with the promise of how a beloved bigot could sanitize her record of hate with the network cleanse of White women viewers.
The gamble didn’t pay off for the idiotic network, but it sure did work out beautifully for Megyn Kelly, who brilliantly staged her $69 million exit with a memorable segment on her already flailing morning show — that showcased her nostalgia for blackface for Halloween.
As we barely manage the present temperature of extremeness, that continues to permeate from the chants of an administration that has been engaged in acts of violence that should be categorized as crimes against humanity — the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been.
Yet, mainstream media chooses to play it safe and gentle, instead of rising to the occasion of energetic reporting that holds us all accountable — come what may.
We are dealt the blows of weirdly coined shit like “racially-tinged” and “racially-offensive,” as if we’ve all made the pact to give White people who hate Black and Brown people the benefit of the doubt, when they issue statements that contain proof of why they support the gassing of migrant women and children — and why they miss the days when festive lynchings of Black bodies was a regular sport.
Recently, we’ve had the displeasure of another viral video that depicts White teens donning #MAGA hats, gleefully mocking the poignant ceremony of an elderly Native American man, who was consumed by the elements of his primal call to arms.
There was the expected uproar on social media platforms, as the viewership increased beyond measure, and we were once again treated to another play by play that demonstrates how Making America Great will always result in the graphic display of Whiteness challenging the audacity of Blackness.
The video footage is not just offensive, it’s also heartbreakingly vile, as we watch the ceremonial depiction of beauty and the beast with the defeated realization that future generations will absolutely not fare any better.
Hours after major outlets collected the wealth of traffic from countless clicks and views, it was reported that there was in fact an extended video that contains additional content that could conflict with the well-packaged narrative of how White teenagers, parading about with hate-themed memorabilia could be absolved of their sins much to the chagrin of excitable naysayers.
The extended version of mayhem does reveal a lot more than what was initially provided, and the “group of Black men who identify as members of the Hebrew Israelites” didn’t help elevate the stoic spirit of the Indigenous Peoples Rally.
But how does that wipe away the indignities that the Native Americans suffered with the mob of White teens defiantly wearing the traditional weaponry of the White man, that represents the historical damnation of the Black and Brown population?
Nick Sandmann, who is the villainous character of this very “complex” saga has issued a statement, that adamantly disputes the earlier reports of how he rudely confronted Nathan Phillips, the Native tribal leader and war vet, who he claims “locked eyes” with him first.
Sandmann also alleges that he and his group of comrades were raising their voices to drown out the “inflammatory comments” from the rowdy Black men that had previously provoked and were continuing to taunt the White #MAGA-attired students.
But then we hear other witnesses provide alternative summations of the footage with confirmations that the White teens were chanting “Build the wall!” and that Nathan Phillips was incessantly mocked and ridiculed by the mob of White hecklers.
The tribal leader also explained how his path was blocked by “the most famous White boy in America,” which created an atmosphere of chilliness that he won’t ever forget.
“I was scared.” “I don’t like the word ‘hate.’ I don’t like even saying it, but it was hate unbridled. It was like a storm.”
The ongoing updates of this shit fest has been met with mixed reviews, as some viewers are annoyed by the rampant disloyalty of the #FakeNews media — and how it conveniently releases the version of the truth — that helps to validate the climate of hate with the promise of monetary rewards.
Others like CNN political analyst and White House correspondent April Ryan, prefer to play it safe by covering all the basis of wrongdoing with the delegation of blame to all who apply, and ending with the hopeful chime of desired unification through the channels of civility.
But we’re not dealing with the crux of the issue, and how this habitual snafu is giving the business of journalism a very bad name.
Why did CNN and other well-respected news organizations, hastily post videos that hadn’t been vetted?
What happened to the mandatory fact-checking process, that takes the time required to ensure that the maddening crowd has something to feel shitty about without the risk of conflicting material?
Why is the media obsessed with the “breaking news” of Black pain, and the illustration of bigotry from uploaded real time episodes, but when it comes to putting racists on blast with the ammunition of the R-word — all bets are off?
It seems that major outlets are completely sold on the idea of “posting first, and asking later.”
This is due to the army of attention that descends on footage that highlights the themes that get Black and Brown people killed.
But when it comes to erecting heds, that accompany the heinous hate crimes with the accurate descriptions, that explain the murderous rage of “Racist White Cops,” or the callousness of the “Racist White woman” who made a Black boy cry, or the “Racist Republican Congressman” who wants to save White supremacy from extinction — there’s a blatant resistance against making White people look bad — before the law improperly tries and acquits them.
America has a race problem. The media has a problem with reporting race and racists with unblemished thoroughness. And until we’re gifted with the headline that says:
Racist President Strikes Again, PBS White House Correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor Is Latest Victim
The media will remain in tragic allegiance to clicks, traffic numbers and the ratings that give White people the comfort to hate and harass Black and Brown people without the R-word bulldozing those agendas.
And that’s the shit we need to keep talking about.