It’s the other side of fake news: the side where the news source doesn’t overtly lie but stops its coverage short of the whole truth.
Consider a short item that appeared this morning on CBS New York under the headline “Police: Man Attacked, Robbed By Two Groups Of Suspects In The Bronx.” The story reports that the incident on June 18 was captured on surveillance video before going on to note:
The 37-year-old victim was walking at the intersection of Aqueduct Avenue and Buchanan Place when police said he was approached by two men.
Police said one of the men then punched the victim in the head, knocking him unconscious in the middle of the intersection.
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When the two left, police said several other people came by and started going through the man’s pockets, stealing his cell phone and other items.
Police said the man who threw the punch then returned and took cell phone photos of the victim lying in the street before both groups of people left the scene.
The report ends with the grim fact that the victim sustained a fractured skull and is in critical condition.
But there is much that the story not reveal that might be useful to “anyone with information,” who is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline. For starters, there is no physical description of any of the participants in this rumble. An accompanying video, reproduced below, offers visual clues, showing clearly that the assailants were black, and the victim is white.
But why are these details, along with detail about their body types, height, weight, clothing, and anything else that might aid the police, not included in the body text?
The part about the perpetrator who threw the punch returning to the scene for a “trophy” photo makes the crime sound like a new iteration of the knockout “game,” which reached its height of popularity in 2014. This was coincidentally a time when reports of police shootings of unarmed black men were a regular occurrence, each incident followed by a new round of speechifying and editorializing about the putative “open season” on black males.
Why do our news media insist on remaining colorblind unless the color fits its political agenda?