Did the New York Times kill Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos?

by Martin W. Williams
File under: Fake Culture23 Dec 2014 11:17 EST

According to the FBI, 312 people were murdered in the city of Detroit during 2013.  That's nearly one murder per day.  In 2012, there were 14,000 murders in the US as whole.  We're certain that the numbers for 2014, when they arrive, won't be much different.  Which begs the question: how does a journalist, or a news editor, choose which ones to report on, and which to pass over?

It's no secret that the major US media outlets prefer to focus on white-on-black crime.  Even so, there must be hundreds of those each year.  Why focus on one at the exclusion of others?  Well, an organization like the NYT might say, we are only interested in special crimes: "unjust" crimes.  The killing of Eric Garner, for instance, was obviously unjust, and therefore it deserves our special attention.  But an incredible hubris accompanies such a statement.  Were the other murders "just"?  Were they grounded by some rational basis while the murder of Eric Garner was not?

It would be hard to believe otherwise, given the sudden activist stance that many major media personalities assumed.  As was apparent on TV, in hashtags, in chattering mouths: this was not just another murder, but a moment of supreme injustice... perhaps even a Civil Rights Moment

What makes this particular injustice so special?  The answer is pretty underwhelming: as with the many 'special injustice' situations over the past few years, this one has maximum potential to agitate the public, to produce shock and conflict.  There's actually a term for this style of discourse: agitprop.  The events and characters lend themselves to exaggeration and can be sculpted into the familiar narrative.  The victim, Eric Garner, hardly an angel, becomes a "neighborhood peacemaker" in the press, while the killer — a white police officer — is, well, another cold-blooded and malevolent (and middle-class) "racist".  Real situations are hardly so binary.  The journalist makes them so, and profits by it.

But it should be noted that there are many ways to generate profits in journalism.  Racial exploitation is just one of the more unfortunate strategies.  A news source with any integrity would never engage in such a thing.  This is not just about "profits" but about the chosen path to those profits.  A rich pimp and a rich shoe-maker do not have the same moral standing.

So the media — and particularly the NYT — selected this story, skewed it for maximum dramatic effect, and then aggressively marketed it under the Civil Rights Brand, demanding "action".  What is the definition of an instigator...?  Yet a pathetically poor, uneducated, mentally ill, impressionable, barely-volitional vagabond named Ismaaiyl Brinsley from the Baltimore slums becomes agitated by the news, boards a bus to New York, and shoots two police officers... and he takes the blame.  Sort of.

You didn't think the media were going to blame themselves, did you?  But they found ways to reduce the pressure.  The NYT shifted the story by introducing a new character: Mayor DeBlasio.  He had "supported" the protests and therefore he could be painted as bearing some responsibility for the police murders.  The so-called conservative opposition would eat this up, and go after the liberal DeBlasio, instead of railing against the media.  After all, surprise surprise, some police officers don't like the mayor!

Perhaps needless to say, this strategy was a stunning success, and while the heavy-fingered e-readers had become too preoccupied with a so-called radical mayor to examine the media's role as such, the NYT lifted the pressure on DeBlasio... and started in with a brand new Civil Rights Story.  Yesterday, in the NYT's "Afternoon Update" email, here are the two major headlines, one right after another:

Another Civil Rights Opportunity Narrative for all those young people who weren't lucky enough to be born a Boomer.  The cycle repeats again.  It can repeat again, because nobody did anything the first time.  The "opposition" won't help you, the "empathetic journalists" won't help you, "average Americans" won't help you, and the pathetically duped "activist community" won't help you (in most cases they've even partnered with the media, embracing the false advances for the promise of that oh-so-coveted viral popularity, the dream chance to have those 10K followers on Twitter!).

Help yourself.  Every time you type in the URL for the CNN website, every time you check the HuffPo app on your phone, you are providing lifeblood for the cultural cancer that is destroying you.  Don't sanction this evil.  And don't tell me "I have no other option" — because I know you're not that much of a coward.  No one can force you to destroy yourself unless you give them permission to.  Not even the Good People at the New York Times.

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