Throwback Feature: Media Racism



As Posted on

The Seemingly Ignored Factors In Media Racism

Jon Stewart’s monologue highlights some key points

Jon Stewart’s recent monologue during ‘The Stewart Show’ rightfully brought attention to the blatant racist stance of America’s Fox News and the media in general, in their coverage of the current protests in Ferguson, Missouri; following the police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

The monologue began with Jon completing the “Ferguson Challenge”, which involved him being sprayed with mase and tear gas. The news anchor’s response was to splutter; “I don’t nominate anybody” and ask “can I do the ice bucket challenge now?” This not only shows sympathy for the Ferguson protestors, but also symbolises the diversion of social media from the topic of police brutality to the playful ice bucket challenge, in honour of ALS sufferers. The ALS Foundation has since been proved to be an unreliable source for donations.

Of course both are worthy causes, but worryingly mainstream media seems to be taking the trivial option more seriously in terms of its coverage of both news stories. Jon goes on to talk about other ways the media are undermining the importance of holding police officers to account for how they handle the public and minorities in particular. One media tactic involves downplaying the involvement of the NAACP and their ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ initiative; which was launched by President Obama to tackle the issue of education and job opportunities for young men/boys of colour and from low income backgrounds.

Another tactic employed by Fox News, involves making loose comparisons between the experiences of white and black men in dealing with the police, to make it seem as though minorities are just pulling the “race card” unnecessarily. As part of his hilarious parody, Jon asks “did you just apply the who smelt it dealt it to racism?” Reporters are also known to deflect attention from the clear discrimination occurring by criminalising the victims and raising the unrelated topic of gang crime.

To put the issue into perspective, Stewart lists some of the statistics proving the disproportionate amount of minority arrests and officers of colour in America. With these statistics he also mentions the monetary benefit for the officers of making these racially profiled arrests. But despite these facts, Bill O’Reilly claims that the main issue in the case of Michael Brown is how the story is being reported; and not the injustice itself or the lack of transparency from the police department. Did Jon let him get away with that comment? Of course not!

With the growing amount of cases of police brutality in the states, from racially aggravated ones to homophobic instances and attacks on women; this is an issue that needs serious attention and urgent action. The exaggerated response from police to the Ferguson protests (officers “appear to be auditioning for Robocop”) proves that the power of law enforcement is being abused. Protestors should be allowed to exercise their right to free speech, without having to be beaten and then arrested for bleeding on the officer’s uniform. As Stewart adequately concluded, if you’re tired of minorities using the “race card”, imagine actually having to live in the shoes of a minority in “post-racial” America. Food for thought Fox News.

For the cast of LHHNY’s views on race check out my interview below:

Latino DJ, Tony Touch, also adds his two-cents on the issue of racism:


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