Watch the nightly news on any mainstream television network and you will probably come away believing that the police are on an indiscriminate rampage to murder as many black men as possible. Media coverage of shootings by cops reflects what Valerie Richardson (The Washington Times, April 21, 2015) calls, “…a widespread view that blacks are routinely targeted by law enforcement while whites shot by police are a rarity. Outrage has surged in recent weeks over the high-profile deaths of black men at the hands of police, notably 50-year-old Walter Scott of South Carolina, who was shot in the back and killed April 4 as he tried to run away from an officer after a traffic stop.” Then, of course, there is the case in Baltimore of Freddie Gray; a case that has the mainstream media wringing its hands because the mayor of Baltimore and the police commissioner are black as are most members of the city council and most of Baltimore’s citizens. Baltimore has really thrown a money-wrench into the bigoted-white-cops narrative favored by the mainstream media.
Before proceeding with this column a clarification is in order. Michael Slager, the police officer who shot Walter Scott in the back, appears to be a cold-blooded killer and the video of the shooting appears to validate this supposition. If the facts produced in his trial prove what the video appears to show, Michael Slager should get the death penalty. There is no question that there are bad cops. However, there is also no question that the overwhelming majority of police officers of all races are decent, honest, committed professionals who do their jobs with integrity. There is also no question that even good cops make mistakes—sometimes tragic mistakes. But the truth is that the mainstream media’s portrayal of these unfortunate events as bigoted white cops on a malicious rampage is a gross exaggeration that flies in the face of the facts; a narrative that stretches the limits of journalistic responsibility and ethics.
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