Monday, April 16, 2007

Racism Obsession in the Media

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut in the Major Leagues, breaking the color barrier in professional sports. It even predated Martin Luther King's civil rights movement, and marked a new era of social change. Unfortunately, the media has a way of killing the meaning of these historic events with their relentless coverage, in other words overkill.

For example, last week the Duke Lacrosse players accused of raping a black woman were cleared of all charges, a story the media had been devouring for the last year because of the archetypes involved. In the court of public opinion, thanks to the sensationalist coverage by the media, these innocent students were long pronounced guilty and dragged through the mud for the better part of a year.
Also recently, long-time radio show host Don Imus lost his job for his insensitive and politically incorrect 'joke' about the Rutgers women's basketball team. Once again, the media has demonstrated its ruthlessness by tearing him to shreds to guarantee his termination from the airwaves. The PC police perpetuated by the media has created an environment where the First Amendment has been severely restricted, but somehow allows for the relentless defamation of character in the 24-hour news world, superseding the larger issues of our time, including the war, and domestic issues such as health care costs.

In addition, lets not forget the infamous Michael Richards tirade of earlier this year. The point is, if you make a mistake and cross the line of what is deemed appropriate by the PC police, or are simply accused of a crime with no credible evidence which fits into a race stereotype, the media will eat you alive and spit you out with little left but your tattered reputation. If we as a society want to truly get past racism,, then the media needs to stop perpetuating the race issue in every instance possible. They must stop giving priority to the sensational stories and start elevating the public consciousness by covering the truly important and challenging issues, which unfortunately are usually the boring ones.