WEEKEND EDITION AUGUST 29-31, 2014
The Media: When in Doubt, Blame Blacks
Bad Apples in Ferguson
by ISHMAEL REED
“The killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown, as he was unarmed and reportedly surrendering, has triggered protests in Missouri against aggressive police action. The protests have been met, quite expectedly, with aggressive police action. This aggressive police action will be met with more protests and on and on we go. Sound familiar?
“The similarities between Ferguson and Palestine are stark. Shared experiences, sentiments, and anger abound. As it turns out, being black here and being Palestinian over there aren’t really that different.”
The smarmy Joe Klein waded in for Time about how black culture was responsible for the death of Michael Brown. He used the same argument in New York magazine May 7,1989 that was typically lengthy and pompous piece about the Central Park Five. All about our morals from a man who lied about his authorship of “Primary Colors.” Of course, the five were innocent. Is there such a thing in journalism as plagiarizing oneself and getting paid by an organization like Time for engaging in this practice, repeatedly? No wonder FAIR calls Klein, “the media spokesperson for white people,” well he’s not quite white to young whites, who, according to The New York Times article about how the American Nazis are recruiting them. Klein is the guy who claimed, recently, and unopposed, that black men were responsible for the country’s rape problem. Black girls get raped by their mother’s boyfriends according to him. Tell that to the white co-eds who are raped by white men in college on a regular basis. Black men aren’t in college. They’re in jail.
We can’t get Joe to comment on the domestic violence against Jewish women in the United States and Israel. He’s part of the cover-up. How about a lengthy piece about this problem for New York magazine?
Predictably, just as the media were stenographers for the Pentagon during the Iraq war, they, like Marc Fernich, behaved as a sort of a press agent for Ferguson law enforcement and a cheering section for Darren Wilson, who might have shot an unarmed Michael Brown twelve times. The media concentrated on the violence committed by a few, who were present in the mostly peaceful demonstrations and not on the violence of the police, who putout a lower case tonkin gulf propaganda spiel, which the media also fell for. All about Molotov cocktails provoking them into action. Three black ministers who were present where one Molotov cocktail incident was supposed to have taken place said that they didn’t see any. This gave the police, which was armed as though they were in Afghanistan, to assault men women and children with tear gas, while calling them “niggers.” Those who called 911 to report Michael Brown’s death, his body being allowed to lie in the sun for four hours (to show what happens when you fuck with the police), said that the dispatchers called them monkeys.
The Times told me that they had enough comments about Ferguson. The majority was written by white men. The police show them their Dr.Jekyll side. We get Mr. Hyde. These commentators are the ones who put out the lie that only a few bad apples in police departments are responsible for racial profiling; thirty police were involved in a scandal in Harlem Precinct in the 1990s.
On Thursday, Aug.21, Civil Rights Atty. John Burris, appearing on KPFA’s “Letters and Politics,” said there had been four shootings of Hispanics by Salinas, California’s police since March. In one case, a Hispanic man, Carlos Mejia, was attempting to solicit some gardening work. According to Burris, he carried the gardening shears in his hand. Someone called the police. The police shot him when he turned toward them after walking away. The video is eerily similar to the Michael Brown. After this May 20,2014 shooting, Hispanic demonstrators protested. Some threw rocks and bottles at the police.
Predictably, Jeff Zucker’s CNN even rushed on a Town Meeting about a rating driven Black and White divide. No Hispanics appeared on the panel even though the police have used lethal against them as well. Apparently nuance doesn’t draw ratings. Native Americans have issues with police brutality as well. Joy Reid should read the online Native American news service, Indian Country, from time to time. But for the men who own and whose POVs dominate the media, we lie.
One could conclude that since the word of whites has more credibility, historically, than that of blacks, not to include the testimony by Hispanics, Native Americans and Muslims about their sometimes terrifying encounters with the police is to isolate blacks and cast them as unreasonable malcontents. Paranoid even and whining about “victimization,”and set up for a mismatch.
Finally, E.J.Dionne and Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post discussed one of those White/Black polls on MSNBC.
You can understand why the regular pundits and their producers like Jeff Zucker might want to stage an opinion UFC match between Blacks and Whites for the entertainment of their viewers, but that these men of intellectual heft would cling to an outmoded model for race relations is depressing. The United States is no longer just Black and White.
Ishmael Reed is the publisher of Konch. His information is at IshmaelReed.org.
1 Pacifica’s Mitch Jeserich hosts “Letters & Politics,” a look at burning political issues and debates, and their historical context, within the US and worldwide.(Burris interview was aired).
copyright© 2014 Ishmael Reed
Since 2012, Ishmael Reed has maintained the honor of being the first SF Jazz Poet Laureate from SF JAZZ, the leading non-profit jazz organization on the West Coast. An installation of his poem “When I Die I Will Go to Jazz” appears on the SFJAZZ Center’s North Gate in Linden Alley. LitQuake, the annual San Francisco Literary Festival, honored him with their 2011 Barbary Coast Award
Among Reed's other honors are writing fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts. In 1995, he received the Langston Hughes Medal, awarded by City College of New York; in 1997, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Award, establishing a three-year collaboration with the Oakland-based Second Start Literacy Project in 1998.
In 1998, he also received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship award. In 1999, he received a Fred Cody Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association, and was inducted into Chicago State University’s National Literary Hall of Fame of Writers of African Descent. Other awards include a Rene Castillo OTTO Award for Political Theatre (2002); a Phillis Wheatley Award from the Harlem Book Fair (2003); and in 2004, a Robert Kirsch Award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, besides the D.C. Area Writing Project’s 2nd Annual Exemplary Writer’s Award and the Martin Millennial Writers, Inc. Contribution to Southern Arts Award, in Memphis, Tennessee. A 1972 manifesto inspired a major visual art exhibit, NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith, curated by Franklin Sirmans for The Menil Collection in Houston, where it opened on June 27, 2008, and subsequently traveled to P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York City, and the Miami Art Museum through 2009. Buffalo, New York, celebrated February 21, 2014, as Ishmael Reed Day, when he received Just Buffalo Literary Center's 2014 Literary Legacy Award.