There are 3 ways in which I think the mainstream media is missing the mark on the events in Charlottesville. First, they are basically just talking about what happened and not talking nearly enough about the people involved. I first glanced at Facebook at about 9 a.m. (Prague time, but it doesn’t matter.) That’s where I learned the victim’s name. Heather Heyer. Anti-racist. Paralegal. 32. Quite pretty. Last Facebook post “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
I turned on the T.V. Alternating between BBC and CNN, it was about 3 in the afternoon (Prague time) before I heard them mention it. Maybe they did, I don’t have proof of a blackout (or reason to think there was one, except for general distrust of the media), but it definitely was not their emphasis.
Second, their conflation of her death with those of the two cops who died in a helicopter crash, hours later, while observing the area. Unless somebody shot the helicopter down, the two incidents are completely unrelated, yet I heard one poor announcer on CNN, who was undoubtedly reading from a script, start a sentence with the car and end the very same sentence with ‘in the helicopter crash.’ I got the feeling even she was embarrassed.
But both of those can be put down to sloppy editing, being in a hurry to get the story out, and the inherent confusion of an ongoing, violent situation.
Where I really take exception is the way people are lambasting Trump’s statement. Not that it doesn’t deserve to be lambasted. What he said was “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides. It has been going on for a long time in our country — not Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. It has been going on for a long, long time. It has no place in America.”
All of the pundits are angry with him for not specifically condemning the racist neo-Nazis who were responsible for the violence. Eh. He probably should have, but that’s one thing that bothered me about so many of the criticisms of Obama. The Republicans just kept shrieking that he didn’t use the word ‘terrorist’ enough, that his statements lacked the bellicosity she craved.
What bothered me was not what he didn’t say, but what he did. “On many sides, on many sides.” Bullshit. The white supremacists showed up with guns, pepper spray and shields. It was one of them driving the car. Except for a few fistfights here and there, which require two participants and are very seldom fatal, 100% of the violence came from the racist’s side.
His statement was wrong, and it was designed to muddy the waters, and change the argument. “Both sides do it.” That’s what he was saying.
But both sides don’t. That’s the reality. I wish at least one of them would point that out.