What I want to talk about today is a bit premature, so I thought I would focus squarely on the media and I am going to use the tragedy in Ferguson, MO as a reference. Here are the facts as I know and understand them. A robbery occurred where cigars were stolen and a store employee was assaulted by a large man. A police officer completed a call to a residence where a child was not breathing properly and discovered two men walking down the middle of the street and he asked them to move to the sidewalk. They told him they were almost at their destination and refused to stop jaywalking. As the officer was driving away a call came over the radio about the robbery and assault and he realized the description matched that of the men walking in the street and went to confront them. As he was exiting the vehicle the larger man assaulted the officer and they struggled for his gun and a shot went off inside the car. After the shot the two men began to leave and words were exchanged between the larger man and the officer. The larger man was subsequently shot and killed by the officer. Some eyewitnesses said he had his hands up and was surrendering facing away from the officer, others say he was charging the officer. Those are the facts as I know them.
I’m not going to try to find the sources, but one media outlet keeps saying, “A teenager was slain.” Perhaps it would be right to call an 18 year-old a teenager, but somehow the media looses sight of the fact when someone is 18 and they commit a crime they are tried as an adult. So why wouldn’t the media say an 18 year-old man was slain, or a young adult was slain? Because it would not capture your attention. Now let’s take a look for a minute at the word slain. To most of us it means the act which created the death was illegal or immoral. It has yet to be proven if the officer was right in his actions or not, but if he was, the man wasn’t slain, he was shot and killed. At the core it is media sensationalism. Why not simply state the facts and avoid all the sensationalism?
If you want to know who I blame for what is currently happening in Ferguson, MO it is the media fueling the fire with reports which spin the news into something it is not. All these events could have been avoided if the media instead of showing a smiling teenager and one in cap and gown, would have taken the time to do a little research into his background or the background of the man he was with at the time. I don’t believe we should smear the memory of a young man taken far too soon, but we also should not paint a picture of a saint with a halo when there was no halo in the first place. No one is going to come away pleased after this incident, not the family of the deceased, not the police, not the officer, no one, but the media will not be held accountable for the riots they incited by putting their spin on the facts.