— Lauren Krisai (@laurenkrisai) November 30, 2015
The latest internet blunder to come out of Atlanta, surprisingly, isn’t related to Love & Hip-Hop, it has to do with CNN and the not-so-subtle prejudice underlining its coverage of the trial of one officer involved in the killing of Freddie Gray which began today.
Following the nutgraph of a report explaining that fact, writers Ann O’Neill and Aaron Cooper made an interesting editorial choice when, in attempting to explain the impact of this case, eulogized Freddie Gray as “the son of an illiterate heroin addict” — a fact that had nothing to do with the circumstances of his killing, but one that could certainly color people’s opinion of the slain 25-year-old.
This type of thing is common in mainstream media where the inability to see people of color as victims manifests itself in labels such as “thug” being used to describe deceased individuals and unrelated details of one’s past (like being the child of an illiterate heroin addict) are made public to lessen the burden of blame on the perpetrator. Meanwhile, white women like Kiersten Rickenbach who died of an overdose after a night of partying get described as a “beautiful Long Island dermatologist and mother of three.” Nevertheless, there are some outlets where this type of lowbrow journalism is considered par for the course (Fox) and others where you expect better. CNN has always been in the latter category as far as the liberal population was concerned, and even the general public according to this 2010 poll, but as of late they’re starting to look like the Fox of the right-wing.
From employing a man like Don Lemon, who we could only hope was just trolling everyone with his obnoxious and inappropriate questions but seems to really be as incompetent as he comes across, to actually debating which racial slur is worse, the n-word or cracker (another brainchild of Lemon’s), to far too many instances of racial insensitivity (like the paragraph above) in a time where overt racism is at an all time high, many find themselves asking what’s going on over there.
There used to be a time when CNN was considered reputable and neutral. Everyone knew you go to Fox to get the conservative view and MSNBC for the liberal side of things, while CNN would deliver unbiased fact. Now, it appears, in a quest for ratings the Atlanta-based network has forsaken its reputable reputation in favor of being first (even if the details of the report haven’t actually been proven) and as salacious as its competitors — at the sake of black folks of course. It’s a switch a former correspondent says has a lot to do with the network merging with AOL, the absence of founder Ted Turner, and the fact the cable news channel “can’t remember what it used to be and what it needs to be.”
While by 7:29 pm the network did eventually remove the details of Gray’s mother from their article, adding an editor’s note explaining the reference was removed because it appeared out of context, that does little for many whose respect for CNN was already hanging on by a thread, including us.