by John Ziegler
Recently, I’ve written four columns here that all had a similar premise: The news media is afraid to tell the truth when it comes to issues of race because nothing can get them in more trouble than being seen as racist, even if all they are really doing is stating facts.
Well, we now have at least two new pieces of strong data suggesting that I am dead right. In fact, the evidence is so overwhelming that it seems as if they must be a fake news stories written by the parody website “The Onion.” Sadly, they are very real.
The first comes from CNN’s coverage in the aftermath of the killing of at least three police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by Gavin Long. Long was a black man with an extensive social media profile littered with numerous racist statements against whites and connections to racist black groups. However, one liberal black commentator wanted to make sure that no one rushed to any conclusions based on the fact that we now have two massacres of police officers perpetrated by young black men within just a week (after all, rushing to a guilty verdict is an act usually reserved by the news media mostly for white police officers and college football coaches).
Interestingly, CNN, probably by coincidence, effectively took this advice to the extreme. When Anderson Cooper seized the anchor desk at the top of the hour, any discussion, or even direct mention, of Long’s race was immediately eliminated (though I counted at least four references, with zero evidence, to Long’s mental illness). In fact, it was not until the ten-minute mark before the closest allusion to Long’s race during the entire hour came in the form of citing his apparent membership in a “black sovereign group.”
What made this absurd factual omission even more ridiculous was that CNN had two live reports from Baton Rouge and one of them, by “senior investigative reporter” Drew Griffin, was specifically devoted to what was known about the killer. Amazingly, Griffin not only never mentioned Long was black, CNN inexplicably never showed his photo and even blurred out his avatar when they showed a screenshot of his final tweet.
What made these obvious lapses even more interesting is the fact that Griffin is a white male (and therefore highly vulnerable on any story that is race related) and was being heckled by a very belligerent black male protestor during his live report. I have to believe that his fear of how that protestor might have reacted to him bringing up Long’s race had to have played at least some role in why it was never even mentioned (anxiety over being seen as “racist” by silencing a black protestor was also very likely why no one from CNN, including Griffin’s fellow CNN reporter Chris Cuomo who was standing right there, had the guts to eliminate the disturbance to begin with).
The bottom line here is that a black reporter would have been far more likely to at least make mention of the very relevant aspects of Long’s racial history (later in the night, black anchor Don Lemon at least had the courage to get his butt kicked by black Sheriff David Clarke on the issue). A white reporter decided to not take a risk and allowed an important aspect of the story to be needlessly, and almost laughably, lost.