“Hey, are you sad that 50 pedophiles were killed today? No … I think that’s great. I think that helps society. I think Orlando, Florida’s a little safer tonight,” spoken by Florida Pastor Roger Jimenez.
It would be remiss to shy away from writing about the tragic events that took place early Sunday morning, leaving 50 dead and another 53 hospitalized, at the hands of a lone gunman.
First, heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims. Your grief is our grief. Your loss is our loss.
President Obama (ICYMI) gave one of the most stirring speeches of his presidency, making certain to point out that this was an act of terrorism against all Americans , and gave recognition to the losses for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, a fact that was not reported by most media outlets for the first few hours of coverage.
Considering a single glance at the limited footage made it VERY clear that this was a gay bar and that many of the victims we gay, why was this underreported? If the media downplayed this fact, what was the motivation?
Also downplayed was the heroism displayed by the special SWAT team that took down the gunman and rescued dozens of people, people who were bleeding…gay men who were bleeding. Why hasn’t anyone mentioned the aids risk? Of course that’s not to prsume that any of the people at the nightclub had aids, but where there is a density of gay me, there is going to be a greater probibility.
Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick is another example of the piety problem reflected in Jimenez’s statement. Following the massacre, he tweeted “reap what you sow” along with this image.
He deleted the Tweet following a torrent of negative backlash. But, he is not alone in his pious, recriminative thinking, which is terrifying. We have Americans in leadership whose religious beliefs align with the actions of terrorist regimes.
So the questions are: did media downplay the facts to create less divide in the outpour and concern over this massacre, i.e. “do gay lives matter?” or were the facts downplayed to avoid the exposure of how many American extremists exist (today) with views that support these acts of terror.
Let me attempt to distil the questions:
1. Do gay lives matter?
2. Have many Americans become as pious and punitive as terrorists?
The point here is that many mainstream media (including CBS) didn’t fucking report on the fact that it was a gay bar filled with gay people, until hours after the fact.
This type of “underreporting” bias is pervasive, insidious and at its core threatens to evolve into nationalistic and corporation-serving propaganda. The function of #journalism is to report the facts, inform the people and expose wrongdoing.The job of media is not to tell us how to think, what to think or what to feel. While this may seem a bit of a rant about the state of journalism, it’s not.
I’m calling bullshit on mainstream media. It is an insult to the industry to hide behind the guise of uniting Americans – to avoid exposing a harsher reality – there’s no shortage of Americans who think just like these terrorists.
Nut up and take the heat. Let the conservative, crazy people comment on your site and call your stations with depraved sentiments like “there’s 50 less gays in the world, hallelujah and pass the ammo.”
Shame on media for downplaying hypocrisy in the hearts of many Americans.
Shame on media for downplaying the absolute debased culture of our day. And, shame for giving Donald Trump a platform, to further popularize, glorify even, this de-civilization of our country.
Fresher course on journalism:
- Public interest Example: “… to serve the general welfare by informing the people and enabling them to make judgments on the issues of the time” (American Society of Newspaper Editors)
- Truth and accuracy Example: “[The journalist] strives to ensure that information disseminated is honestly conveyed, accurate and fair” (National Union of Journalists, UK)
- Verification Example: “Seeking out multiple witnesses, disclosing as much as possible about sources, or asking various sides for comment… [The] discipline of verification is what separates journalism from other modes of communication, such as propaganda, fiction or entertainment” (Principles of Journalism, from Project for Excellence in Journalism)
- Fairness Example: “… our goal is to cover the #news impartially and to treat readers, news sources, advertisers and all parts of our society fairly and openly, and to be seen as doing so” (New York Times Company Policy on Ethics in Journalism)
- Distinguishing fact and comment Example: “… whilst free to be partisan, [the press] must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact” (Editors Code of Practice, PCC, U.K.)
- Accountability Example: “The journalist shall do the utmost to rectify any published information which is found to be harmfully inaccurate” (International Federation of Journalists, Principles on the Conduct of Journalists)
- Independence Example: “Journalists should be free of obligation to any interest other than the public’s right to know… [and] Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived” (Society of Professional Journalists)
- Transparency (regarding sources) Example: “Aim to attribute all information to its source. Where a source seeks anonymity, do not agree without first considering the source’s motives and any alternative, attributable source. Where confidences are accepted, respect them in all circumstances” (Australian Journalists Code)
- Restraint (around harassment and intrusion) Example: “The public has a right to know about its institutions and the people who are elected or hired to serve its interests. People also have a right to privacy and those accused of crimes have a right to a fair trial. There are inevitable conflicts between the right to privacy, the public good and the public’s right to be informed. Each situation should be judged in the light of common sense, humanity and the public’s rights to know” (Canadian Association of Journalists)
- Originality (i.e. not plagiarizing) Example: “An AP staffer who reports and writes a story must use original content, language and phrasing. We do not plagiarise, meaning that we do not take the work of others and pass it off as our own” (Associated Press Statement of news values and principles)
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