Throughout the past few weeks, national attention has been diverted to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, which erupted after 18-year old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on August 9, 2014. Unsurprisingly, leftists in the media have completely transformed the tragedy into a distorted tale of racism, much as they did with the Trayvon Martin shooting in 2012. The essence of two shootings are the same: an unarmed black “teen” was killed by a non-black individual in law enforcement.
The spin of the liberal media, however, is also the same, and goes something like this: A white police officer, singularly motivated by racism, deliberately sought out an innocent black child, and subsequently murdered him because of his skin color.
First, let’s get the story straight. On the night of August 9, officer Darren Wilson stopped Brown, who was with his friend Dorian Johnson, because the two men were jaywalking. Ferguson police chief Tom Jackson explained that Wilson knew a robbery had occurred minutes before, and that after he stopped Brown, he realized Brown might be a suspect upon seeing the allegedly-stolen cigars in his hand.
As to what happened next, conflicting eyewitness accounts and reports have emerged. According to the St. Louis police chief, Brown began the altercation by physically assaulting the officer, pushing him back into his vehicle as he tried to get out, and at some point there was a struggle for the officer’s gun. Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, on the other hand, said the officer reached out of the window, grabbed Brown by the neck and pulled him down, then drew out his gun and shot him, all the while unprovoked. Johnson did not explain, however, how Wilson mustered the physical strength necessary to pull down the 6’4, 300 lb Mike Brown.
Some other eyewitnesses report they saw Michael Brown running away from the vehicle, followed by the officer exiting the vehicle and chasing him. These same witnesses say Wilson shot Brown as he appeared to be surrendering with his hands in the air. A different source close to the department, however, claims that after the gunshot in the car, Brown started walking away, prompting Wilson to draw his gun and order him to freeze. Then Brown then raised his hands in the air, and turned around to say “What, you’re going to shoot me?” before charging at the officer, the source said.
The autopsies tend to support the latter account. Both Mary Case and Dr. Michael Baden confirmed the shots were fired into the front of Brown’s body, proving he was not shot while running away. Dr. Baden also revealed that one of the shots was fired into the top of Brown’s skull, making it more likely that Brown was shot while his head was bent down, as if he was “charging forward at the officer.” Moreover, there was no gunshot residue on Brown’s clothing, meaning the shots were not fired at a very close range–a fact that contradicts Johnson’s account. Wilson was also hospitalized for a swollen face and a fractured eye socket, proving he was physically assaulted at some point during the altercation.
Clearly the media’s narrative is severely flawed. First and foremost, Michael Brown was not a helpless “child”–a term frequently used–and even “teen” is a stretch. He was a legal adult, on his way to trade school, capable of making adult decisions and fully able to bear the responsibilities of his actions. And, like Trayvon Martin, he was no innocent kid or “gentle giant,” despite what the media wants you to think.
According to the county’s autopsy, he had marijuana in his system at the time of death, and let’s not forget that he had just committed a theft minutes before the fatal altercation. The video footage even shows Brown literally throttling a store employee as he made his way out with the stolen goods. Such an instance of physical violence suggests a similar altercation with Wilson was not only possible, but also fairly likely. And last week journalists sued the St. Louis County Court to access Brown’s juvenile arrest record, which is being withheld from the public eye.
So if there’s no evidence whatsoever to suggest Brown’s death was racially motivated, why has the national media spent so much energy portraying it as a racist hate crime?
Radio and television personality Larry Elder, who is African-American himself, put it best when he appeared on CNN:
“ELDER: I think the media perceives racism to be a far bigger issue in America. That’s why we spend so much time on people like Donald Sterling, and Cliven Bundy, and before that it was Paul Ryan, who said some things that were racially intemperate. I think we’ve been training black people to think racism is a bigger deal. I think the reason the left wants that is because of votes and power.
As long as black people believe that race and racism are the major problem in America, you have got that 95 percent monolithic black vote, without which the Democratic Party cannot survive. So you have the Jesses and the Als and Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Harry Reid constantly bringing up race cards, talking about Republicans raging a war against black people and so forth. So black people have been trained. Surprise, surprise, people in Ferguson believe that the racist criminal justice system is oppressing them, because Barack Obama and Eric Holder have said statements that have given that impression.”
And indeed, there’s no denying the perpetual race-baiting by Democrats in the White House and in the media. Just last month Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that the political opposition to both him and the President stems from racism (it can’t possibly be because of his role in the ‘phony scandals’ like Fast and Furious and the undue surveillance of Fox News reporters, right?). Democratic cronies and resident “Race Hustlers” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton derive their fortunes from amplifying political controversies and encouraging racial division, and to no-one’s surprise both men quickly flew to Ferguson to exploit the situation for their own gain. Taking a break from fundraising for their own causes, each joined Eric Holder to personally offer condolences to the Brown family, as well as promise justice for their son. Sharpton even gave the eulogy at Brown’s funeral last week, despite the fact that such speeches are customarily given by close family or friends (or anyone who even remotely knew the deceased individual), and used the opportunity to further politicize the situation, calling for more organized protesting and resistance.
Note how no political activists, civil rights leaders, or media celebrities visited the family of Dillon Taylor, a white 20-year-old from Utah who was shot and killed (while unarmed) by a black police officer. Indeed, the shooting has largely been ignored on the national level, despite it’s undeniable parallels to the situation in Ferguson. Wouldn’t it be another great example of excessive police force for the media to use? No one visited Chicago this past weekend either, where over 30 shootings occurred in the span of 3 days. 30 shootings! You’d think such a tragedy would receive at least some attention from liberal activists and celebrities who claim to care so much about urban violence and crime.
No, it’s clear that the media is committed to portraying white-on-black crime as an epidemic in this country, seizing on stories like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, when in reality the facts paint a far different picture.
For instance, reports consistently show that although African-Americans only account for about 15% of the nation’s population, they account for half of all homicide victims; not only that, but around 90% of these victims murdered by other African-Americans. According to a study done by the Department of Justice between 1980 and 2008, “26.7 percent of homicides where the victim is a stranger are interracial, and in 2008 “the offending rate for blacks (24.7 offenders per 100,000) was seven times higher than the rate for whites (3.4 offenders per 100,000).” In general, whites were far more likely to be the victims in instances of interracial crime than blacks.
Even “police brutality” or the use of excessive force by law enforcement is essentially a non-issue, despite the sudden, crazed concern about police “militarization.” According to data from the Bureau of Justices Statistics in 2008, less than 2% of the 40 million people who interacted with police officers reported “the use of force or threatened use of force.” Although the current, prevailing assumption among the media is that officers use deadly force to unfairly target African Americans, any statistical data or figures to prove this simply do not exist. What does exist, however, are studies that could indicate the opposite.
In a recent experiment done at Washington State University, a mixture of police officers, combat veterans and civilians were put through about 60 simulations of confrontations drawn from real-life police encounters. The study revealed that subjects most often hesitated the longest before shooting at black suspects, and were actually more likely to fire at an unarmed white individual. A different analysis of police data from the St. Louis Police Department indicated white officers and black officers were equally likely to fire a weapon at black suspects. And as for that racist criminal justice system? A different 1996 study for the Center of Equal Opportunity revealed juries “acquit blacks at a higher rate than whites for 12 of the 14 types of crime studied — including murder, rape, robbery and assault.” In fact, the only crime in which African-Americans had a higher conviction rate was felony traffic offenses.
There are undoubtedly problems with race relations in communities like Ferguson, Missouri, which need to be addressed. African-Americans compose two-thirds of that city’s population, for example, but only account for 3 of the 53-member police force. In many urban areas throughout the country, blacks are disproportionately affected by poverty, crime, and unemployment. The reasons for these cannot simply be chalked up to white supremacy or a “racist criminal justice system;” the causes are multi-faceted and complex, and require a much deeper conversation.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with journalists investigating and reporting on these issues. There is something wrong, however, with television networks and newspapers acting as the judicator, prematurely and arbitrarily deciding who’s guilty and who’s innocent based on very few facts or evidence. There is something wrong when government officials and media reporters relentlessly peddle a false narrative of racism for political gain.
It’s exactly this type of reporting–ironically done by liberals–that contributes to conflict and intensifies racial divisions. No matter the color of your skin, such dishonest journalism is something that should concern us all.