Sometimes a negative reaction to what you say is the best indication that you have hit upon the truth. I believe that was that case last night in my appearance on “Headline News TV” with Mediaite founder Dan Abrams.
The subject was my column from Monday where I outline the case that the news media is, once again, recklessly rushing to judgment in a case involving race and a police shooting. This time, over the killing of Philando Castile in Minnesota.
In the exceedingly short amount of time which cable news channels allot for such “discussions,” I stated the essence of my perspective that the news media has shown themselves to not be trustworthy on cases of this nature. This is largely because the subject matter is so explosive that they are afraid to contradict the narrative being supported by any sort of “black” group. I specifically mentioned that we had already seen this phenomenon with the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” lie of Ferguson (and, if time had allowed I would have also added the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore).
I also laid out the basic argument that the facts of this situation have already changed rather dramatically and that the original narrative created by the live Facebook “broadcast” of the event seems to be collapsing. Not only do we now know, based on scanner audio, that the police officer involved thought that he was dealing with an armed robbery suspect, but (perhaps as a result of this revelation) the girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds has radically altered her story with regard to the circumstances surrounding Castile’s gun.
Finally, I theorized that two scenarios are vastly more likely than the idea that a police officer simply decided to randomly murder a man driving a car (seemingly with a woman and a child in it at the time) simply because he is black. The first, this was simply a misunderstanding that resulted in a tragic accident. The second, that Castile really was the armed robbery suspect and that he panicked, pulled the gun, and the police officer shot him in self-defense.
In a rational world (I know), such statements in a televised “debate” might be met with a substantive response with regard to the merit of my argument. But we clearly don’t live in such a world, especially on cable television.
Instead, when we returned from commercial break I was attacked by the other two black guests for my “body language” and “attitude.” They also implied that I am a racist because it was insensitive to the “feelings” of the “victims” for me to be pointing out inconvenient facts and putting forward theories which, no matter how logical, are in contrast to their preferred narrative.
The most shocking thing about this reaction is that I wasn’t shocked by it.
This is kind of response is exactly why the news media marches in lock step to nearly everything the “black community” claims in these types of situations. Being called a racist is about the worst thing that can happen to a public figure in today’s media world and one of the surest ways to lose your job if you are a reporter or television host. Of all of the many, sometimes hidden, agendas which dictate news coverage, the most powerful is the desire to protect one’s own precious job at all costs. Almost no truth is worth such a risk to vast majority of media people, especially in today’s economic environment.
This is why, especially for white reporters, it is far easier to simply blindly follow the narrative than to go outside the herd and risk getting run over if it turns out you aren’t proven 100% correct. The way I was treated by black commentators is exactly what causes the vast majority of media personalities to just let the politically correct story play itself out, regardless of what the truth is and which innocent people may have their lives permanently destroyed while it does (Darren Wilson and George Zimmerman immediately come to mind).
All of this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy aspect of false media narratives where an on obvious confirmation bias dramatically distorts all new information which may contradict the original storyline. Once we decide who the “victims” are (even if we do so without being sure that’s an accurate description), as my TV appearance proved, we now live in a media world where it is literally “incentive” to state the facts of the case and use basic logic. Of course, we all know what a mortal sin it is in today’s world to be “insensitive” to someone (unless it is to a police officer accused of killing a black man for no reason).
Effectively, whoever achieves “victim status” first (according to the media, this will be the person of color unless dramatically proven otherwise) will almost always win, regardless of the actual truth of the matter.
After all, we wouldn’t want to be somehow seen as racist. We might lose our gig, or not be invited back on television. In the eye of the average media personality, THAT would be a REAL tragedy.
John Ziegler is a nationally-syndicated radio talk show host and documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.