CNN’s Brian Stelter Gets Backlash After Police Shootings Tweet Is Perceived As Condescending


In the past two days, there have been two separate instances of recorded police shootings of black men. Both the death of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile have captured the public’s attention and inspired fury because many view them as proof that the police are killing people of color who are not holding weapons or posing a threat. Sterling was lying on the ground when he was shot; Castile was sitting in a car and, according to his girlfriend, disclosed that he was licensed to be carrying a weapon and did not reach for it, but was shot.

Obviously, tensions are very high right now.

CNN’s Brian Stelter sought to comment on the ways that access to technology have helped shape the discussion around police brutality. He tweeted this:

He was immediately responded to by people who questioned his motives for putting it that way.

To Stelter’s credit, he didn’t delete the tweet. Instead, he stood by it. More to his credit was his response. He didn’t get defensive. Instead, he understood the place of anger many of the comments were coming from and responded, “I agree,” to a number of them.

By pointing out to him that the Facebook Live video from Castile’s girlfriend is what enabled national media coverage of an event that may well have been dismissed as her word against the authorities’, they proved Stelter’s article’s point, but by remaining civil and understanding, Stelter kept the conversation going for the better.

There were times before cell phones and streaming video, which is important to remember. There are those who are angry to have lived through those times when they were not believed by the public, let alone the authorities, and when their loved ones didn’t become trending topics or national news if they were killed by police. There is a lot of anger surrounding the fact that we do have the technology to have seen what happened to Eric GarnerTamir Rice, and the kids of color on whom an officer drew his gun last year at a pool party, yet little progress seems to be made in preventing these incidents from continuing to happen and continuing to be documented.

Every aspect of this national conversation is imbued with anger. We can all learn a thing or two about understanding that anger and encouraging discourse.

[image via Twitter]

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