The media’s reporting of the terrible tragedy this past weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia, has been most interesting.
First, let me say that while I firmly believe in the First Amendment right of all Americans “peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” [which includes the right to engage in peaceful demonstrations], I believe just as firmly that there is no place in America for open displays of hate, and certainly none for violent demonstrations.
That said, the media coverage of the Charlottesville situation is as good an example as one could find of the extremely heavy bias against our President, and the apparent dogged determination by many factions [Democrats, the mainstream media, the so-called “Deep State”, etc.] to seize on every opportunity to discredit him and to thwart his every move — no doubt with the ultimate goal of getting him out of office in 2020 at the latest [sooner if possible].
During President Obama’s tenure, he was criticized, mainly by Republicans, for being extremely hesitant to utter the phrase Radical Islamic Terrorism, but the mainstream media generally characterized that tendency as being “above board”, “not making hasty judgments”, “sensitive to millions of non-violent Muslims”, etc. But President Trump’s omission in his initial statement about this incident of phrases like White Supremacists and Neo-Nazis has been practically the only thing you can read, hear or see in the media for the last three or four days.
At 5:29pm on Monday 8/14/17, President Trump tweeted “Made additional remarks on Charlottesville and realize once again that the #Fake News Media will never be satisfied…truly bad people!” I’m sure the majority of the media — which is grossly weighted toward liberal views on issues — will take this as “just another swipe at the media by the president”. However, I went back and looked at what the President actually said during the weekend [before all the facts were known] about the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, and then looked at how it was immediately characterized in the media. I couldn’t help but notice how Establishment politicians [not just Democrats — Republicans, too], and of course the mainstream media, were focused entirely on whether or not the President’s remarks were appropriate [by their definition] — the basic issues, and the fact that one person, Heather Heyer, was killed and 19 were injured, actually faded by comparison.
Interestingly, Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, issued a statement through the media thanking Trump for “those words of comfort, and for denouncing those who promote violence and hatred”. The media seemed to overlook that little tidbit — the first I heard of it was in President Trump’s August 15 news conference [which I should add, was called to announce and discuss his Infrastructure initiative, but in which the only questions asked were about this issue].
At Least There’s Some Evidence That Some People “Get It”
In this morning’s [Nashville] Tennessean, I was actually encouraged by how a much broader perspective on all of this seemed to come out in multiple articles [that “theme” was not intended, I’m sure, either by that publication’s editors or those of their affiliate USA Today network, all of which are generally extremely liberal]. The “theme” to which I’m referring is that what we should be focused on is the extremely divisive “atmosphere” in our country. This whole thing blew completely out of proportion because bitterness between two “factions” heated up to a point that escalated into violence. That has happened so many times in recent years that it almost seems like “the new normal” [Black Lives Matter (“pigs in a blanket, fry ‘em like bacon!”), violent student demonstrations against some person scheduled to speak on their campus, etc.]. I’ll close with some quotes from today’s Tennessean articles that indicate that some people really do “get it”:
- A Freedom Rider and participant in the sit-ins that desegregated Nashville lunch counters in the 1960s said he saw the “same dynamics” in Charlottesville that he saw at the height of the Jim Crow South. He did not blame Trump for the violence. Trump “didn’t create the Klu Klux Klan, he didn’t create the Confederacy,” he said. “That hate starts way, way, way back.” [quotes from two local civil rights leaders, to whom the deadly chaos over the weekend wasn’t a surprise].
- Various statements by both Republican and Democrat candidates for Governor were almost unanimous in both condemning the violence and denouncing “hatred, bigotry and prejudice”, but an underlying “theme” in all their statements was the need for being less “militant” [my term, not theirs] in our attitudes toward people who don’t share our opinions on issues.
- Various statements by both Republicans and Democrats on the National level were also almost unanimous in both condemning the violence and denouncing “hatred, bigotry and prejudice”. The underlying “theme” in those statements, however, was more along the lines of “tolerance” and “unity” — a good theme, but clearly worded toward their various voter constituencies.
The best of all was by a local [Black, I might add] Pastor of a very large [predominantly Black, I might also add] megachurch: “This crisis cannot and should not be viewed as an isolated event. It must be taken at face value for what it is. Our wonderful country with all its hopes and dreams is shifting from the United States to the Divided States of America. Our national identity of e pluribus unum — out of many, one — is at risk. … Our response to this threat cannot be to duck our heads and pray it will pass us by. Instead, we must be hopeful — and prepare ourselves to be our best selves.”
I long for an environment in this country in which we can all begin to see this bigger picture, rise above quibbling over what terms people [including the President] use to describe a situation, listen to what they are actually saying, and not “filter” what they say through the “lens” of our personal view of the speaker.
Unfortunately, the media is not our friend in any attempt to rise to this ideal. The reality is that headlines prevail in a “news” outlet’s ability to keep itself in business [read: “its ability to sell ads”]. Another unfortunate reality is that of all a person reads, hears and sees on a given day: after 3 seconds, 40% of it is forgotten; after 60 minutes, 50% is forgotten; after 24 hours, 70% is forgotten; and after 7 days, 90% is forgotten [my composite taken from various sources I consider credible].
Well, we can always hope!
Charles M. Jones