Normally Hot Air's Jazz Shaw is a pretty reasonable guy for a conservative and regularly resists the kind of overt wingnut impulses of the rest of his compatriots. I say normally, because he greatly disappoints me with this Sunday article where he finds enough "evidence" to indict the media on mentioning black people by race in criminal cases only if they are the victims, and never the suspects.
In all these instances we see a pattern which deserves an explanation from the nation’s media gatekeepers. If America’s reporters are so concerned about race relations in the country that such descriptions are included immediately when discussing a case where a white person is charged with injury to an African American, how is such discussion less valid when the roles are reversed? Violence takes place all the time, and the fact is that both attackers and victims cover the full spectrum of skin tones. If it’s an important question for us to ponder as a nation, are not all examples pertinent to the discussion? As much as some of these news outlets may hate to admit it, black people do, on occasion, commit acts of violence. And sometimes the victims of that violence are white.
But somehow that’s not a story. When reporting those types of crimes, there is an embargo on The B Word. You never read a headline where “a black man” or ” a black cop” stands accused of this or that crime against “an unarmed white man” or “a young white woman.” I was reminded of this yet again watching all the coverage of the arrest in the disappearance of Heather Graham. Read this thirty paragraph story at HuffPo about the arrest of Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr., a suspect in the case. If you open that page and place your hand over the picture of Heather you would have no clue as to the races – or even general descriptions – of the persons involved.
Why? Of course, even posing the question immediately brands me as a hopeless, hateful racist in the minds of half the nation and the conversation immediately shuts down. But a responsible media, if they truly wanted to have a frank conversation about racial conflict in America, would be honest enough to tackle this issue.
Note what Shaw has done here: accused the media of being too political correct for his taste, protests that he "can't find any examples" of the media naming the race of the victim and suspect in a crime when the suspect is black and the victim is white, and then preemptively deflects all criticism of his extraordinary claim as accusations of racism, pretty much the Wingnut 101 on race relations. It boils down to "I'm right, liberals are wrong, and anything they say otherwise is them accusing me of racism."
Frankly, I expect better from Shaw, but I guess I no longer should.
The funny part is Shaw is making the same argument that groups who are very much proud of their racism make, the argument of a somehow unreported epidemic of "black on white crime" in America and that there's a massive conspiracy to keep it that way. Of course, these white supremacist groups are very eager to push such a narrative:
On Stormfront, a popular white supremacist Internet forum, one poster recently asked people to join in a planned rally against black crime in Knoxville, Tennessee, scheduled for June 2012. The purpose of the rally would be to protest against new trials for black assailants who allegedly tortured and murdered a young white couple in that city in 2007. At that time, the incident mobilized the white supremacist community, which held rallies and distributed flyers that accused the media of ignoring what they considered to be a heinous hate crime. Police in Knoxville who investigated the crime said that the victims had not been targeted because of their race.
In May 2012, the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) announced that it would investigate a number of alleged incidents around the country in which whites were reportedly the victims of crimes committed by black youths or other minorities. In particular, the NSM mentioned an alleged attack against two white reporters by black youths in Norfolk, Virginia, and assaults against white men in Mobile, Alabama, and Baltimore, Maryland. The NSM has called for hate crime charges to be filed in these cases and wrote on its Web site that "if the roles had been reversed and it was a White mob that had attacked a Black citizen, it would have been labeled a 'lynching' by the major media…We have discovered a disturbing pattern of the systematic cover up and refusal of prosecutors to prosecute offenders under these [hate crime] statutes when the perpetrators are Black and the victims are White."
That same month, the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan posted "a warning for white Americans" on their message board that claimed that there has been a significant rise recently in violent black-on-white crime across the country and that "this new racially motivated pandemic is mostly ignored by the liberal news media." The group asserted that it will organize a national distribution of fliers across the county "warning White Americans of the dangers to them and their families when approached by large groups of blacks." They added: "The Liberal Government jew [sic] media refuse to report fairly on these hate crimes so it our duty war our fellow Kinsmen of the violence being perpetrated against our Great Race."
On May 11, 2012, the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) posted an article on its Web site that claimed that a New Jersey newspaper had "censored" the race of the alleged assailants in what it called "savage mob attacks" on five white concertgoers in New Jersey. The CofCC dismissed both the newspaper and police accounts portraying the incident as an "isolated event." According to the CofCC, "almost as alarming as the epidemic violent crime being perpetrated against white people is the blatant media censorship and black-out of the racial element of the incidents."
I'm not racist. I just make the same argument popular with racists. Oh sure, maybe I am dismissing his argument because of the very big implied racism message.
Maybe there's a valid reason for that if you sound like Stormfront, WorldNetDaily, the NSM and CofCC?
You're better than this, Jazz.