(EDIT – I wrote this yesterday, 04/17/07)
Go take a look at MSNBC and tell me what is missing… Go ahead. I’ll wait.
What happened yesterday was tragic. I sat at home and after work and quietly watched Cassidy do homework at the kitchen table and tried to imagine what parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, grandparents must be going through. Waiting by a phone for a call to come in. I just couldn’t. It made my throat close and my eyes well up.
I really don’t know what else to say about it. It’s just.. tragic. So until I have more, until we know more, I’ll get to my point.
So what’s missing on the front page of MSNBC? Anything at all about Imus. Well, there is ONE thing down at the very bottom of the page that is just a link to Dateline who’s doing a segment of a show on it**.
I had a pretty long post about the Imus situation. You just couldn’t seem to get away from it for a week there (until the media had something else to focus on) and like everybody else, I had an opinion. The main point of the post however, was how tired I am of people pointing fingers wildly in the face of racial drama.
I have to be perfectly honest though, I WAS one of those people. The first time I brought it up to Ben I fell into the trap. “Well, what Imus did was fucking stupid but SNOOP DOG! And Al Sharpton! And who else can I point my finger at?!?” And it wasn’t until I watched the webcast of Meet The Press on Monday that I had an epiphany. HOLY SHIT I’VE TURNED INTO A MEDIA FED DRONE!
It was a great segment and you can watch if you want. This exchange is the one that I think most stood out in the entire round table:
MR. ROBINSON: But back up, back up a step. I mean, we should have the discussion about, about rap music, about gangster rap and, and, and that language, and, and Iâ€”and thatâ€™s a discussion, for example, those are issues that Al Sharpton has raised, that Jesse Jackson has raised. And, and, by the way, I got a lot of mail onâ€”when I wrote about the Imus situation as well, and, and one strain of it was, was, â€œWell, who appointed Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson to, you know, to be spokespeople?â€ And my answer was this business did. You know, weâ€™re, weâ€™re the ones who call them up every time anything happens and kept going back and kept going back. And what does he think today and what does he think tomorrow? So…
MR. RUSSERT: And it was fair to ask Jackson about Hymietown, and it was fair to ask Sharpton about Tawana Brawley.
MR. ROBINSON: Of course, itâ€”of course itâ€™s fair, but, but the idea that, that, in this case, they were self-appointed is not really quite right because that was certainly abetted by, by a news media establishment that, that went to them, you know, 50 times a day.
And it’s TRUE! The media knew the best way to get the most play from the story was to make it as sensational as possible, so they went to the racial injustice ‘Go To Guy’. And it worked! Before we knew it, both sides of the story were wildly throwing around their index fingers going, “But, but, but HE does it!! And you don’t punish HIM!” It was basically a national version of a kindergarten playground. One idiot move does not cancel out the other and tryng to point out that another moron does the same thing only make you look like THAT MORON! You MORON!
The fact that Gangsta Rap is a deplorable display of racial slurs and sexist dribble IS a problem that should be discussed. But NOT as a way of trying to defend another instance of racial slurs and sexism. Or as a way to try and point fingers away from a mistake that should have been able to stand on it’s own for what it was.
MSNBC today displayed why doing this fails. Nobody cares about either issue now because another story came along. Now the media won’t focus on Spoop Dog OR Al Sharpton till another reporter want’s to sensationalize a story on racism.
The only reason Imus became such a big deal was the press made it one. The only reason that people like Rev Shaprton were involved is because the press asked him to voice his opinion. And we all bought it. Hook, line and sinker.
**Dateline canned the Imus show and covered the VT shooting instead.