*(Editor’s note: 9:29am: Rev. Jesse Jackson has spoken about the shooting. He Tweeted, “This senseless violence is frowned upon and the justice system must prevail.” hk)
The double standard on race by a large segment of the media has become painfully obvious.
The Trayvon Martin story devolved into a story about race, despite the fact that during the trial the prosecution never contended that George Zimmerman targeted Martin because he was black.
Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and others used Martin’s death as a platform to advance their own agendas.
Sharpton co-opted Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech as he tried to force a connection between the historic civil rights movement and Martin’s death. Following Zimmerman’s acquittal, Jackson called Florida “an apartheid state” and “our Selma.”
But that’s what Sharpton and Jackson do, propelled forward by the media’s willingness to make the story fit a convenient template.
President Obama personalized the story by saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
Several weeks ago, a story surfaced in Florida about the vicious beating of a white sixth-grader by three older black children on a school bus. The bus security video showed the attackers pummeling the victim, who suffered a broken arm and two black eyes.
Most media, in reporting the story, left out the fact that the attackers were black and the victim was white, and not a word was heard from Jackson*, Sharpton, Jay-Z or others who were so willing to bloviate about the Martin shooting.
This week in Oklahoma, three teenagers gunned down a young Australian man who was going to college in the United States. Christopher Lane was jogging when he was shot in the back.
Lane is white and two of the three teens charged in the murder, including the shooter, are black. The third suspect appears from his picture to be of mixed race or white.
Oklahoma police chief Danny Ford told the AP, “the boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody.’” Additionally, an Internet video has surfaced of James Francis Edwards, Jr., the alleged shooter, posing with a gun and talking smack.
For the most part, media have stayed away from referencing race, other than showing pictures of the suspects.
If the situation were reversed, if a couple of white thugs had maliciously and senselessly gunned down a well-liked, accomplished black college student, the race-baiters and media sycophants would have switched to overdrive.
The solution to this disparity, however, is NOT to cover every black on white violence story the same way white on black incidents are now treated by the media. Instead, all such tragedies should be covered and judged based on whether there is evidence that race was a factor.
If not, downplay or ignore the headline-seeking opportunists. If race was a factor, then report it as such.
We have made remarkable strides in this country on race, especially in recent years. However, racial tension remains a difficult and sensitive issue for us, and the double standard in the media for covering race stories only makes matters worse.