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New York Times sets new tone for race and journalism

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The New York Times is reporting that there is a new posture in news coverage, and that it was shaped in Ferguson, Missouri. The Times says that coverage of today’s protests over the killing of George Floyd originated when journalists became activists in 2014 during the Ferguson, Missouri protests and riots.

In the Sunday Times, media columnist Ben Smith, wrote:

“Historical moments don’t have neat beginnings and endings, but the new way of covering civil rights protests, like the Black Lives Matter movement itself, coalesced on the streets of Ferguson. Seeing the brutality of a white power structure toward its poor black citizens up close, and at its rawest, helped shape the way a generation of reporters, most of them black, looked at their jobs when they returned to their newsrooms.

Smith’s opinion suggests that blacks see “brutality” and an oppressive “white power structure” in unison but not all blacks agree.

The Times, which just fired an editor for running an opinion editorial written by conservative Senator Tom Cotton, reckoned it was in its new interests to retract the editorial and apologize to its minority journalists for ever running it. The Times never explained the racial component it found objectionable.  

Times alums such as left-leaning Judith Miller and Alex Berenson have called the retraction of the Cotton opinion piece “cowardly.” Many see this as part of a larger movement in the media, both on issues of race and agenda.

For example, the Times now admits what Trump supporters have suspected for nearly four years, that the media has sharpened its news coverage to a point and is aiming at its perceived political enemies:

“Some of the lessons learned in Ferguson — about race and the particular experience of black reporters, among others — carried over into the next challenging era: the arrival of Mr. Trump, whose bigoted language and tactics shattered norms. Black reporters were joined by other journalists in pushing, inside newsrooms and on Twitter, for more direct language — and less deference — in covering the president,” writes Smith.

Many blacks resent that the news media treats members of its race as a monolith, with only one point of view with regard to everything from police brutality and poverty to opportunities for minorities to thrive in current American culture.

Author Shelby Steele sees it more as a cynical power-play by white liberals:

“It seems to me, it’s about power,” Steele said in an interview on Fox News Channel over the weekend. “To pursue power as [liberals] do, you have to have victims.” Steele’s implication is that white Democrats seeking political power use instances like the death of Floyd to provoke anger against Republicans.    

Black columnist Deroy Murdock wrote in 2019 that the news media avoids reporting on news that portrays President Trump in a favorable position regarding race:

“Rather than give Americans this news, and confirm that President Trump is neither anti-immigrant, nor anti-black, nor anti-Semitic, the [media] maintain a sarcophagal silence in hopes that their socially corrosive ‘Trump is a racist!’ lies will stick until November 2020. This is evil.”

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