by Art Hyland
Woke up this Sunday morning March 25 to the headline above–the part not in parentheses– located near my Yahoo email list. So as I moved my mouse over the headline, this screen appeared: (click several times to enlarge)
“WASHINGTON/SANFORD, Florida (Reuters) – President Barack Obama weighed into the controversial killing of a black teenager in Florida in very personal terms on Friday, comparing the boy to a son he doesn’t have and calling for American “soul searching” over how the incident occurred.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin, dressed in a “hoodie” hooded sweatshirt, was shot dead a month ago in Sanford, Florida by a 28-year-old white Hispanic neighborhood watch volunteer who said he was acting in self-defense.”
‘If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,’ Obama said in his first comments about the shooting, acknowledging the racial element in the case”. [Emphasis added]
Later, the article included this:
“Obama, the son of a white mother from Kansas and black father from Kenya, does not comment frequently on race, a sensitive topic in the United States, which still grapples with a legacy of slavery, segregation and discrimination.
Early in his White House tenure, Obama inflamed another racially tinged incident by declaring police had “acted stupidly” when arresting a well-known black documentary filmmaker, Henry Louis Gates, after an altercation at his home.”
Although I did not read the 4000+ comments, I read a large enough sample of them to know that these comments were rather typical. What it tells me is that the average Yahoo reader is on to bias in the news, much more so than the media is willing to recognize. People are getting tired of the media and politicians attempting to filter the facts to advance an agenda. People who have never heard of Jack Webb are saying to themselves, “Just the facts Maam.”
Bias is perfectly fine as long as it is transparent. Of course the mainstream media condemns that as well, almost daily calling it “divisive” or “mean spirited” among many common adjectives these days. But when bias is apparent in what are supposed to be just news stories, it’s beginning to produce a reaction the news media is willingly ignoring.
Every article or news report is biased. Every reporter is biased. This is a fact. This article is biased because it cannot be otherwise. I admit it. But try to find a reporter or newsreader or AP writer who admits to this. They all hide their biases as if they actually believe they are incapable of anything subjective. They arrogantly write or announce information as if it were written in stone. It goes back to Walter Cronkite who ended every CBS News broadcast with “And that’s the way it is.” Oddly enough, most people in that era believed it. Cronkite admitted decades later that he was as liberal as the day is long, which meant that everything he did back when he was Mr. News was calculated and meant to deceive. He broadcasted propaganda cloaked as objective news. So Yahoo, AP, Reuters, NYT et al have rationalized this as an acceptable professional culture.
Is the death of a teenager a tragic event? The question is absurd. Of course it is. However, tragic events like this happen often in a country with 340 million inhabitants. Many, many murders, accidents, and deaths happen every hour of every day. But presidents don’t comment on them because U.S. presidents have an agenda unlike any other person in the world. If he were to focus on events like this one, he wouldn’t have time to address the issues that truly affect the nation and world. However, this president specializes in caring about his image, especially with his voting base, and what do you know, this is an election year. And that makes a difference.
So, it’s not surprising that a President Obama is cool with controlling the news cycle. He has a cast of special assistants, czars, appointees and an enabling media that deem it their job to doing just that. And they’re good at it. But the average American is on to them.
The death of any teen is sad. This one is no different than any other. Let’s see if we can find a new president who will treat Americans as Americans rather than through the prism of race, party, and politics. That would mean someone who actually understands and believes in the Constitution, and the history of what made and makes this nation the greatest on earth. And let’s be mindful of the First Amendment that guarantees the right of freedom of a Press that produces a bias in the news we observe. We can deal with it because we know that. We’re Americans.
[The headline quote was Rahm Emanual’s but then it might have been Obama’s originally, you never know.]