Author Topic: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn  (Read 3887 times)

Jeff Fairchild

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Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« on: March 22, 2012, 09:32:04 PM »
A tour of Facebook land and internet media sites illustrates a disparity in treatment between two tragic stories, with one of the stories focusing on something that rarely occurs and the other of the stories focusing on a spike in something that frequently occurs.  Can the disparity in treatment be explained away simply because one is more novel than the other, or is there something more at work here?

Fla. shooting stirs memories of civil rights era

Chicago Weekend Shootings: 10 Dead, At Least 40 Wounded

How many here were aware of the first story but not the second?   

Grant

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2012, 09:56:30 PM »
I was aware of the first story but not the second.  Both stories are important and point to the need to stop the violence.  An issue I see in the first is that the shooter was someone tasked to make the neighborhood safer for children who instead made it more dangerous for them.

Denise Goodman

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2012, 10:00:01 PM »
Jeff -- Any death is tragic.  If there is a difference in treatment, I think it has to do with that Florida law and the way the local police department handled or mishandled the case.  There seems to be no question in the Chicago shootings that when apprehended, the shooters will be arrested and prosecuted.  In the Florida case, I heard -- so don't hold me to this -- that the victim was tested for alcohol and drugs but not the shooter.  There seems to be no question that the shooter, despite being warned off by the police dispatcher, chased the victim and confronted him.  I think this is seen as related to the civil rights era in that police then not only could not be trusted to protect people of color and/or actively pursue and arrest suspects but, in some cases, were doing the shooting. It would be understandable if the victim attempted to flee. The first "race riot" in Dayton, Ohio in the 1960s followed this scenario:  there was a Shriners convention in town and at 2 a.m. a couple of undercover cops wearing fezes approached a black man, said they thought he had a weapon and that he attempted to flee, so shot and killed him.  The "weapon" was a tobacco pipe.  And what black man would not have attempted to flee what appeared to be a couple of white conventioneers out on the town at 2 a.m. and (in the victim's mind) potentially drunk and looking to beat up a black person.

I can identify a bit with fear of police playing that role.  In the mid-1960s I was dispatched to Mississippi by my newspaper just after the three civil rights workers -- Goodman (no relation) Schwerner and Chaney -- were discovered missing but before their bodies were found.  I was warned by all involved in that Mississippi summer project -- white and black -- to not only not trust police there but to make sure I didn't commit the slightest traffic infraction that would give cause to pull me over.  It was scary for one who had always been taught that "the policeman is my friend."

Of course, there remain isolated incidents in the north, midwest and west where cops run amok and maim or kill persons of color from a racist bent and I think a good bit of attention has been paid to those cases.

Having said all that, surely the Chicago situation -- and like ones in other cities -- are tragic and require broad-based attempts to address them. 

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2012, 10:02:42 PM »
Grant,

I agree that both stories are important. Can the disparity in treatment be explained away simply because the shooter's actions in the first story were contrary to one of his primary tasks? Is that why one story has achieved national attention and the other has achieved national inattention?

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2012, 10:12:22 PM »
Jeff -- Any death is tragic.  If there is a difference in treatment,
If there is a difference in treatment???????  Denise, are you saying you don't see a difference in treatment?

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I think it has to do with that Florida law and the way the local police department handled or mishandled the case.  There seems to be no question in the Chicago shootings that when apprehended, the shooters will be arrested and prosecuted.
Denise, Perhaps if the Chicago story had received the same attention as the Florida story you would know how difficult it is to "apprehend", "arrest", and "prosecute" many of the shooters in Chicago and you would have a few more questions in your mind than just "no question".

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In the Florida case, I heard -- so don't hold me to this -- that the victim was tested for alcohol and drugs but not the shooter.  There seems to be no question that the shooter, despite being warned off by the police dispatcher, chased the victim and confronted him.  I think this is seen as related to the civil rights era in that police then not only could not be trusted to protect people of color and/or actively pursue and arrest suspects but, in some cases, were doing the shooting.
Who is being "trusted" to protect "people of color" (and people "not of color" to use your terminology) in Chicago?  How many weekends during the civil rights era were there 10 people killed and 40 wounded by shootings in just ONE city?

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Having said all that, surely the Chicago situation -- and like ones in other cities -- are tragic and require broad-based attempts to address them.
Perhaps there would be more attempts to address them, broad-based or otherwise, if there was a whole lot more attention payed to them, or at least the amount of attention that has been payed and will continue to get payed to the shooting of one person in Florida.

Grant

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2012, 10:56:24 PM »
Jeff,
I think part of the issue is that in Florida, the shooter is known but no charges have been made.  The police say there wasn't enough evidence.  If they had listened to the witnesses there may have been enough evidence.  Another issue is that apparently in Florida, someone can pursue someone else and kill him and then get off by saying it was self defense.

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2012, 11:36:47 PM »
Grant,  I think you make a good point about the shooter being known but not arrested.  I think Denise was also touching on that point. 

As for self defense, I think that Florida is going to require more than just the shooter claiming it was self defense.


Does anyone else see how failing to adequately address the underlying problems evidenced by the shootings in the second story could potentially have been a contributing factor to the tragedy in the first story?   In short, there is extreme violence occuring on a regular, consistent basis in many of our urban areas, over time people have built stereotypes based on that violence, and occasionally people act in fear driven by a belief in those stereotypes.  If the violence was less extreme, less consistent, and less concentrated in our urban areas, perhaps there would be less stereotypes and fewer fear driven actions based on those stereotypes.

Grant

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2012, 12:08:46 AM »
Jeff,
I hope you are right regarding Florida needing more to accept a self defense claim.  However, so far, the police are accepting that explanation.

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2012, 12:23:21 AM »
Grant,
I don't know what explanation the police are accepting or not accepting, in large part because I don't know what all the police have been told or what all the police have determined.  Even though the shooter has not yet been arrested, I wouldn't assume that the police and the prosecutor have accepted his explanation. 

Grant

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2012, 12:52:27 AM »
They did not make an arrest that night, citing that it was self defense.  It is going to a grand jury.  We will see what happens then.  If the grand jury chooses not to indict, we will not know why because grand jury deliberations in Florida are closed.

Denise Goodman

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2012, 04:07:41 AM »
Jeff -- I think there have been attempts to address the Chicago-type situation that have been covered by the media but they don't lend themselves to 60-second news updates.  They are complicated and require a many-pronged approach -- community policing, developing some kind of positive peer pressure against gang membership/violence; developing alternative activities; perhaps even police "surges" in those neighborhoods and much, much more and so are sometimes the subject of longer news reports on CNN or network weekend hour-long news programs.  I do agree that the media should be devoting much more time and attention to those situations.  Certainly just citing the weekend statistics can fit into a 90-second news bite and would be a start, especially if there was frequent reporting of similar multi-victim tragedies and some attempt to keep a running count.

By the way, I wasn't suggesting it is easy to apprehend and prosecute suspects of urban homicides, only that there is a generally agreement to try.  What made the Florida situation different is, again, no apparent attempt to gather crime scene evidence or to hold the shooter, apparently because of that law.  I have heard on TV and public radio that since that law was adopted, homicides without prosecution have tripled and that most police agencies oppose it.

Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2012, 05:17:46 PM »
Jeff -- I think there have been attempts to address the Chicago-type situation that have been covered by the media but they don't lend themselves to 60-second news updates.
Denise, I am talking here about more than just media coverage.   Why is there more buzz not just in the media, but also in Facebook land? I think the Chicago story lends itself to 60-second news updates just as much as the Florida story.  As for prior coverage, the problem is ongoing, so I don't think prior coverage can explain away the inattention to the Chicago story vs. the attention to the Florida story.

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They are complicated and require a many-pronged approach -- community policing, developing some kind of positive peer pressure against gang membership/violence; developing alternative activities; perhaps even police "surges" in those neighborhoods and much, much more and so are sometimes the subject of longer news reports on CNN or network weekend hour-long news programs.
I think one of the reasons that the media and others are not giving the attention that the Chicago story deserves is that so many of their preferred prongs of a many-pronged approach have failed and they don't want to face that failure.    I think the underlying cause of the Florida story is complicated and is related to the underlying problems that caused the Chicago story.   

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I do agree that the media should be devoting much more time and attention to those situations.  Certainly just citing the weekend statistics can fit into a 90-second news bite and would be a start, especially if there was frequent reporting of similar multi-victim tragedies and some attempt to keep a running count.
I watched an MSNBC report last night where they were covering what they claimed was a 30,000 person gathering down in Florida,  complete with all of the usual racial politics celebs taking the stage to highlight the Flordia story instead of the Chicago story and an in studio interview of some hack college professor claiming that the Flordia story was probably the greatest injustice that had occured in his lifetime.  The disparity in attention for these two stories goes way beyond just the new media.

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What made the Florida situation different is, again, no apparent attempt to gather crime scene evidence or to hold the shooter, apparently because of that law.
I agree that the Florida story has its share of apparent injustice on which to focus, but are they really greater, or even of more interest, than the injustices involved in the Chicago story?  Which is the bigger problem in our society today?  That everyday there is open battle, with multiple injuries and murders, in almost every major urban area of our nation, or that there may have been one vigilante who wasn't brought to justice with the swiftness that we all would desire?

« Last Edit: March 23, 2012, 05:20:32 PM by Jeff Fairchild »

Denise Goodman

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2012, 05:51:39 PM »
Jeff -- One reason for the disparity may be class.  The Florida situation happened in a gated community and the Chicago one in, I'm guessing, a poor mostly black neighborhood.  We have become inexcusably hardened to urban low income violence.


Jeff Fairchild

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2012, 07:06:43 PM »
Denise,  I think it has to do more with one story fitting memes that are favored by many, including those in the main stream media, and the other story not fitting memes that are favored by the main stream media.


In keeping with the disparity of treatment for these two stories, the national setting of the UCC has now pronounced on the Flordia story while ignoring the Chicago story:  UCC joins prayers, protest in the shooting death of Florida teen.   Their statement is stocked with a couple of their favored memes, "gun ownership is the problem" and "racism", while the Chicago story has elements that do not fit those favored memes, namely "people of color" on "people of color" violence (to use one of their favored language memes) and overwhelming gun violence in a city with some of the toughest gun laws in the nation.   I find this quote in the article from Rev. Derrick Rice of Sankofa United Church of Christ in Georgia worth noting:
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"We are forced to grapple with an ugly reality that a group of people [in our country] undervalue the lives of black citizens, as evidenced in a litany of people that this exact same type of incident has happened to."
  I think that "group of people" is perhaps more evidenced by the disparity in treatment of these two stories.

Denise Goodman

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Re: Facebook/news media buzz vs. Facebook/news media yawn
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2012, 08:08:29 PM »
Jeff -- As I wrote, I think we have become unacceptably and inexcusably hardened to or blase about inner city violence.  But another thought occurs to me.  Inner city violence is a difficult nut to crack -- many causes and lots of attempted solutions that have not worked.  In the Florida case, it is easier to point to one contributing cause -- that Stand Your Ground law -- so a remedy may be easier to propose and, if implemented, may be more likely to have a positive effect.