INDICTED: Reckless Negligent Corporate Media

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[Elections 2008: Speaking Truth To Power]


The current ongoing media manufactured circus regarding Rev. Jeremiah Wright and how it's being used to niggerize Barack Obama is instructive in understanding America's institutionalized racism, especially, in "mainstream media's" coverage of the day's "news."

This past week we once again witnessed the denial of justice, when three officers were acquitted in the Sean Bell Case, where it seems apparent the Queens D.A.'s Office colluded with "Justice" Arthur Cooperman and defense attorneys to scri pt a preordained "judgment" in favor of these killer cops.

The Bell verdict has largely been ignored by media. They would rather beat the Wright story to death, while, telling us about some irrelevant affair Barbara Walters had 30 years ago.

Shouldn’t there be a law to protect people from the dangerous consequences from such diversionary, irresponsible, and reckless “journalism”?

Political players and their counterparts in the establishment media have been trying for months to generate controversy and to muddy Obama and drive-up ratings while throwing an assist to Hillary Clinton. We saw early attempts at character assassination.

There was the infamous photo of Obama wearing Islamic garb that was sent to the Drudge Report by the Clinton campaign, according to Matt Drudge himself, and the furor over a college paper his Obama’s wife Michelle wrote, as well as her comments a few months ago about this being "the first time” she was “proud” of her country. There have also been attempts to link Obama to one-time 60s radical, William Ayers, who was a member of the Weather Underground, even though Clinton as president actually pardoned two ex-underground members.
But none of these attempts stuck like the acrimony created and manipulated surrounding some of the views of Obama's former pastor: Jeremiah Wright. Much of the controversy regarding Rev. Wright started when media "gatekeepers" decided to saturate the airwaves with sound-bite clips of Wright sermonizing about the evils of America.

Ironically, much of those sound-bites were of Wright paraphrasing statements made by American Ambassador Edward Peck; of course that little detail wasn't emphasized to the public. Wright echoed Peck and warned about "chickens coming home to roost" because of U.S. hegemonic foreign policy.
When the Wright firestorm first broke, it forced Senator Obama to tackle the issue America has been running away from for centuries: racism. Obama's reluctance before this to speak of race is itself an indictment of America's collective racial denial. Quite deftly, Obama delivered a historically potent speech, "A More Perfect Union," by far one of the most honest, given by a politician. Yet, a moment which could have been used to heal racial divisions and move the conversation forward was lost, thanks primarily to the White corporate dominated media.

The greatest barrier to honest conversations over race in this country is entrenched corporate media. Let’s consider some of the corrupt impact that corporate media has had on the Bell Case.
Sean Bell wasn't murdered only by the killer cops. Like Amadou Diallo and so many others, Bell's life was prematurely cut short by American racism.
Some people have declared that because two of the three cops who stood trial were Black, race couldn't have been a factor. That assertion is erroneous. Wasn't Bell's blackness the impetus for him being targeted in the first place? Does anyone believe there are comparable examples of cops shooting innocent whites, 41 or 50 times anywhere in America? Don't the 31 shots fired by Officer Michael Oliver, the White officer who reloaded his gun, represents the sum total of his racial fears and phobias?
Instead of offering insightful critique of the Bell Case, media would rather whip-up animosity about the Jeremiah Wright diversionary story. As if Wright’s sermons, whether one disagrees with them or not, have the same impact in terms of exacerbating racial animosities in this country as the execution of an innocent unarmed Black man in a hail of 50 bullets.

Did any of the media houses devote as much reportorial hours focusing on the aftermath of the Sean Bell case as they did to “investigate” Wright? Was Wright somehow a danger to the national security? The media overplay, combined with the Clintons’ dirty tricks politics, amounted to a tag-team attempt to derail Obama’s quest for the Presidency. 

Following Rev. Wright’s appearance before the National Press Club, media provocateurs started stroking controversy by over-blowing some of the statements Wright made. Even some Black commentators are now blaming Wright, for, as they see it, continuing to be an albatross around Obama's neck.

The idea is that somehow Rev. Wright should just shut-up, even though, his reputation and good work of nearly half-a-century have been continually trashed. But isn't Obama's main impediment in wrapping-up this nomination his color and American racism? If Obama was the candidate who had been trailing for weeks, and and had lost 12 contests in a row at one point, media would have railed against him as a “spoiler” ruining the Democrats’ chances of regaining the White House and he would have been hounded out of the race.

As Geraldine Ferraro famously claimed, had Obama been a White man his campaign would have been over. She implied he was nothing more than an exotic novelty. This calumny coming from a woman whose campaign fizzled in a spectacular failure.

Anyone, with half a brain, knows the opposite is in fact the truth. If Obama was a hundred percent white, instead of half Black, Hillary Clinton would have been sent packing many months ago.
In classic opportunistic fashion Clinton has been very vocal about her opposition to the alleged hate she says Wright stands for. But where was her moral indignation for the innocent blood of Sean Bell that was shed? As a New York senator, what has she done on the issue of police brutality and murder? The fact that she hasn't uttered a word about the repetitive killings of Blacks by members of the NYPD speaks volumes.

Media behavior has been much more scandalous.

It’s remarkable how things have not changed since the 1968 Kerner Commission Report that assessed media's function in American society. The Report found a correlation between the riots of the 1960's and the corporate media's failure in informing the public. People had been kept uninformed and clueless to the pent up social woes and conditions of extreme poverty and alienation. The report found that "the journalistic profession has been shockingly backward."

In light of the establishment media's recent performance – saturating print space, airwaves, cable and Internet media with the relatively trivial Rev. Wright story, while ignoring the Bell case and critical issues such as the mortgage meltdown, job losses, the war, lack of healthcare coverage – it’s clear that we’ve travelled backwards since the Kerner Report.

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