The media displaying a bias is nothing new. This is evident in many different forms of media, from article titles to Instagram posts, and appears daily. In the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery, it makes one think about the slant the media can have in regards to racism.
The Ahmaud Arbery story aside, the media has pushed racism in many top story lines. Take for example, the story of Nick Sandmann, who is a high school student that stood in front of a Native American while wearing a MAGA hat. The Native American, Nathan Phillips, played a drum while Sandmann stood very close to him. Many different details of the story have come out, but the most glaring is how big time media impacted the life of a high schooler. Sandmann received so much criticism because of the media that he sued CNN. Sandmann did this because the media made it about race. “However, several mainstream media outlets, including CNN, portrayed the incident with Sandmann and the other teens as being racially charged” (Wulfsohn). With the fact that Sandmann is a white male and wearing a MAGA hat, it makes it easy for the media to make this an argument about race, regardless of what the issue is actually about.
When the story gets reversed, however, the media becomes silent. Last Friday, Sheldon Francis killed two elderly people in a cemetery. While the race of the victims has not been released, Francis was an African American. Also, it is being classified as a hate crime because of Francis’s recent social media posts. The mainstream media, however, has been silent about this incident. “The media has been oddly silent about much of these details. In some cases, the media loves to point out the race of the victim and suspect and they are never shy about using the term “unarmed” in some cases” (Law Officer). With a lack of mainstream media in regards to this incident, it shows the bias that the media has in terms of reporting on race.
Perhaps one reason that the media decides to focus on racism, even when there isn’t any present, is because of blame. According to “Why The Media Loves A Racist Story,” the idea of focusing on individuals is key. “We think the reason lies in the fact that by pointing out other individual racists, people can feel good about themselves without actually doing very much” (Wilkes). The need to feel validated could lead the writers of certain media outlets to claim racism in cases that do not actually involve any forms of it. Clearly the media chooses what type of news to report, often leaving out stories that do not fit their narratives.
Law Officer. “Man Kills Elderly Couple In Cemetery, Media Is Silent About Potential Hate Crime.” Law Officer, 12 May 2020, www.lawofficer.com/man-kills-elderly-couple-in-cemetery-media-is-silent-about-potential-hate-crime/.
Wilkes, Rima, and Howard Ramos. “Why the Media Loves the White Racist Story.” The Conversation, 28 Apr. 2020, theconversation.com/why-the-media-loves-the-white-racist-story-110952.
Wulfsohn, Joseph A. “CNN Settles Nick Sandmann Defamation Lawsuit in Covington Catholic High School Controversy.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 8 Jan. 2020, www.foxnews.com/media/cnn-covington-nick-sandmann-defamation-suit-settled.