Mainstream Media Enable Black Lives Matter, Legitimize Cop-Killing
The ambush murders of five Dallas police officers on July 7, followed ten days later by the murders of three Baton Rouge cops, outraged the nation. To the social media network of provocateurs called Black Lives Matter (BLM), however, these massacres were equivalent to recent white police “murders” of blacks. Though evidence negates such equivalence, many journalists are insisting that we see these events through the group’s lens. Rather than objectively pursue truth, they selectively use facts and manipulate language to propagate the view that blacks are being targeted for death and are justified in taking matters into their own hands. Case in point: Last December, as part of its annual Person of the Year issue, Time magazine praised BLM as having “weaponized protest.”
Since the start of this year, National Legal and Policy Center has published more than a half-dozen highly critical stories of Black Lives Matter and its assorted allies. There is good reason for this newfound focus. The informal meetup organization, armed with smart phones, Twitter accounts and emotional overkill, has become a noxious force on city streets and college campuses. It was BLM that organized the “peaceful” Dallas rally of the early evening of July 7 at which five local police officers were murdered; the black sniper, Micah X. Johnson, admitted after being cornered by cops that he was inspired by the group’s rhetoric. By regularly blurring the line between protesting and rioting, Black Lives Matter’s tactics often go beyond even those of longtime black shakedown artists such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. Unwilling to separate cause and effect when reacting to a violent incident with racial implications, the group goes out of its way to intimidate public figures whom it deems apathetic. BLM members hectored Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley, despite each being a natural ally, during the recent primary season. Black Lives Matter activists may deny it, but when they speak of “justice,” they do so with a conviction that whites aren’t entitled to it.
Black Lives Matter coalesced in July 2013 in the immediate aftermath of a Florida state jury acquittal of a white anti-crime patrol volunteer, George Zimmerman, in the February 2012 shooting death of a black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Media outlets across the country from the start peddled the view that Zimmerman, a resident of Sanford, Fla., was a trigger-happy racist on the prowl, while Martin was a harmless, “unarmed” black child. Yet as facts became known during the course of a hasty and abusive special prosecution, reality revealed itself: Trayvon Martin, a tall, strapping high school student from the Miami-Dade County area visiting family in Sanford, had assaulted Zimmerman that evening without provocation. Indeed, Martin likely would have killed Zimmerman had the latter lacked a gun and a willingness to use it. In rendering “not guilty” verdicts for murder and manslaughter, the jury ruled correctly. The prosecution had no case. But facts did not deter blacks across the nation from seeing a grave injustice and holding demonstrations which in certain cities descended into rioting. Three black community organizers – Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi – took a different approach: They created Black Lives Matter. Using social media, especially Twitter, to win supporters, the group’s base of supporters grew exponentially.
This networking paid off a year later in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., following the death of another “unarmed” black youth, Michael Brown. A local white cop, Darren Wilson – the revelation of his identity by authorities itself being an act of capitulation to black radicals – had shot Brown shortly after noon on August 9, 2014 on a local residential street. For the next couple of weeks, Black Lives Matter activists hijacked a section of Ferguson, providing pliant media outlets with the misleading claim that Officer Wilson wantonly killed Brown. The group’s ad hoc spokesman on the scene, DeRay McKesson, became a media superstar. Yet as it turned out, Officer Wilson had acted properly, and in doing so, saved his own life. Brown, at 6’4” and nearly 300 lbs., was anything but harmless. Evidence showed that in rapid sequence, he had: 1) sucker-punched Wilson while the latter sat in his patrol car; 2) attempted to steal Wilson’s service revolver with the obvious intent of using it; and 3) violently wheeled around and charged at a standing Wilson shortly after leaving the immediate area on foot. The oft-cited claim by several eyewitnesses that Brown had raised his hands in surrender and pleaded, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” was a misperception or a hoax. Either way, it had no basis in fact. But thanks to dishonest reporting and editorializing, this account became the coin of the realm. And Black Lives Matter quickly acquired a reputation as speaking truth to power. Blacks, already having rioted in Ferguson in August, did so far more destructively that November in reaction to a county grand jury decision, rendered after an exhaustive review of evidence, not to indict Wilson. Months later, in March 2015, following the U.S. Justice Department’s announcement that it would not file civil rights charges, another BLM-organized street rally exploded into anti-police violence just as the proceedings were about to break up. Police, acting on a tip, arrested a black demonstrator, Jeffrey Williams, supposedly “not with the group,” for shooting and wounding two St. Louis-area cops who were trying to keep order.
Now with around 40 chapters nationwide, Black Lives Matter has continued to ramp up its profile. For a couple weeks late last fall, BLM activists illegally set up a blockade in the middle of a street in front of a Minneapolis police precinct station to protest the fatal shooting by two white cops of a black male, Jamar Clark, before belatedly being removed. As National Legal and Policy Center described at length several weeks ago in the wake of separate decisions of state and federal prosecutors not to file charges against the officers, Clark not only had violently resisted arrest, but had grabbed the gun of one of the officers. On December 23, Black Lives Matter activists in Los Angeles shut down several lanes of a freeway for roughly a half-hour to dramatize police “murders” of blacks across the U.S. And BLM student activists during the 2015-16 academic year, in the wake of revelations of “racist” incidents of highly questionable veracity, intimidated administrators, faculty and fellow students at the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas, Yale University and other institutions. To Black Lives Matter, academic “diversity” does not include a diversity of opinion.
So how did this band of demagogues come to play such a prominent role in American public life? Character deficiencies and social network technology aside, it would seem that the main explanation is the moral legitimacy conferred upon the group by people who should know better. Black Lives Matter, put simply, is socially respectable because its benefactors are. That’s why people who object to their views or tactics usually find themselves on the defensive. Even the benign rebuke, “All lives matter,” now can be cause for a public grilling. President Obama did much to advance the standing of BLM this February 18 by hosting a White House summit on race, crime and policing that featured more than a dozen black leaders (but no police), including Black Lives Matter’s DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett. “Conservative” Republican politicians have paid their respects, too, most notably, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., during a re-election campaign speech. Social media corporate multibillionaires also have lent key support, going so far as to help bankroll McKesson’s recent unsuccessful Baltimore mayoral campaign. National Legal and Policy Center, in response, on July 18 asked the CEOs of Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg), Google (Eric Schmidt) and Twitter (Jack Dorsey) to cease all personal and corporate support of Black Lives Matter; neither they nor their spokespersons have responded yet. Higher education leaders also have been running interference for Black Lives Matter. The BLM-led takeover all but in name of the University of Kansas during most of the 2015-16 academic year occurred because Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little and other campus administrators were too feckless to push back. Indeed, they gave every indication of tacitly supporting the campaign.
Perhaps the most insidious source of Black Lives Matter enabling, however, is mass media, especially print media. Many newspapers, magazines and websites are giving this rude bunch the benefit of any doubt. Happily, they provide a platform for radical journalists to express their half-baked grievances. Rare indeed is the account on the Ferguson crisis that doesn’t refer to the deceased black attacker, Michael Brown, as “unarmed.” Even reasonable journalists are shying away from criticizing BLM, lest they be accused of racism and possibly terminated. The preordained script of “white oppressor, black victim” is now almost mandatory. Should the facts lead to an opposite view, journalists ignore those facts, minimize their importance or create a false human interest drama on behalf of the “victims.”
Examples of advocacy masquerading as straight news abound. Last September, a senior political reporter for NBC News, Perry Bacon Jr., lambasted what he saw as a “backlash”
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