[Ed. – ??? I’m not sure what the beef is here. Did the rioters in Baltimore engage in a big firefight with each other, trying to kill each other with guns, knives, pieces of metal, and fists? No. So they weren’t having a “gun battle.” Did the bikers in Waco rampage through the streets looting businesses, attacking vehicles, and burning buildings down? No. So they weren’t “rioting.” They killed 9 people as opposed to the zero who were killed in Baltimore, and everyone recognizes that. Clearly, they’re criminals. News reporting has accurately reflected this basic difference in the nature of what happened. How is race even an issue? This piece is so irrational, there’s no finding common ground with it. One more note: the political side that most incessantly connects the looting and vandalism in Baltimore with race is the LEFT. Can’t have it both ways. If it isn’t about race, then stop talking about race and join the Right in talking about how government actively promotes fatherlessness, dependency, poverty, and despair.]
The dominant corporate news media have used the Baltimore uprising and other similar events to attack Black America’s character, values, and culture. The argument is clear: The events in Waco were committed by white men who happen to be criminals; the Baltimore uprising was committed by black people who, because of their “race” and “culture,” are inherently criminal.
Racial bias in news reporting has been repeatedly documented by scholars in media studies, critical race theory, political science, and sociology. As anti-racism activist Jane Elliot incisively observed, “People of color can’t even turn on the televisions in their own homes without being exposed to white racism.” The centuries of racism, and resulting stereotypes about the inherent criminality of Black Americans, are central to why the events in Waco and Baltimore have received such divergent news coverage.
In an interview about the Waco shootout, Harrold Pollock, co-director of the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab, makes this point very clear:
I have never encountered a gang incident in Chicago remotely like this. The number of perpetrators involved — not to mention the nine deaths — far exceed the typical urban gang-related shooting. Maybe there was some gang incident in Chicago like this decades ago. But this sort of pitched battle? I’ve never heard of anything like it. If these biker gang members were non-white, I think this would cause a national freak out…
But I do think that our views about urban crime are so framed by race and inequality in a variety of ways. When criminal activity seems unrelated to these factors, it doesn’t hit our national dopamine receptors in quite the same way. People tend to view these motorcycle gangs as a kind of curiosity.
Yet, there is a deep resistance by many in White America to accepting the basic fact that the mainstream American news media is habitually racist in its depiction of non-whites.