Mass media and the soul of America

From progressive media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, the opening of their most recent podcast, Counterspin:

Ten human beings were killed and three wounded in Buffalo, New York. By the killer’s own admission, he sought to kill Black people because they are Black, and he is a white supremacist who believes there’s a plot to “replace” white people with Black and brown people, a plot run by the Jews. If you’re news media, you could go all in on media outlets and pundits and political figures whose repeated invocations to this white replacement theory are the obvious spurs for this horrendous crime. Or you could be the Washington Post, and tweet that Joe Biden “ran for president pledging to ‘restore the soul of America.’ A racist massacre raises questions about that promise.”

A press corps that wanted to go down in history as doing better than pretending to raise questions about the “soul of America” would be busy interrogating the structural, economic, political relationships that promote and platform white supremacy. They’d be using their immense and specific influence to interrupt business as usual, to demand—not just today, but tomorrow and the next day—meaningful response from powerful people. They would not be accepting that mass murder in the name of white supremacy and antisemitism is just another news story to report in 2022 America, film at 11.

Leave it to The Washington Post to put everything into perspective in a tweet. Of course, in our profit-driven, corporate advertising-driven mass media, the 18 year-old avowed racist’s racially motivated mass murder spree in Buffalo a few days ago is old news, wiped off the front page as pundits and politicians argue about whether it was right or wrong for Texas law enforcement not to intervene for an hour while another enraged 18 year-old mass shooter used his brand new legally acquired military assault weapon to shoot his grandmother in the face and massacre children and teachers in a Texas elementary school.

And the GOP’s united, incoherent talking point is always the same, cannibal socialist pedophiles are trying to politicize this terrible, horribly regular (27th school mass murder in 2022 so far) tragedy that can’t be avoided in the greatest country in the world has ever known. And that Biden, like slippery, illegitimate Obama before him, is too weak to make good on his promise to fix hundreds of years of racist custom and practice in this country and bring everybody together as he lyingly promised.

But tip of the yarmulke to Jeff Bezos and the influential liberal media outlet he owns, for the helpful framing of the ineptly managed ‘fight for America’s soul’. Good job, Jeff!

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