Police brutality has become an increasingly hot button issue over the past few years. Stories detailing misdeeds committed by law enforcement officials have sparked numerous national conversations on the topic. But is America having the right conversation on this matter?
The nature of media reportage on incidents in which an officer abuses his or her authority is geared to highlight race, instead of focusing on the overall issue of violence. As a result, the American public focuses on the supposed influence of racism rather than the blatant overstepping by government officials, and the real problem goes unaddressed.
News Outlets Focus On Black Victims
You have seen it many times. A police officer shoots an unarmed black man, and the incident sparks a national debate over racism and excessive force. People from all political persuasions argue over the validity of the shooting, and the public becomes even more divided on the issue.
But why don’t we see the same scenario when an officer shoots an unarmed white or Hispanic man? According to the data, blacks were killed in more police shootings per head of demographic population in 2018, but the actual number of white victims was higher. The Washington Post reports that last year, 18 unarmed blacks and 23 unarmed whites were killed by the police.
It’s important to note that the majority of these shootings were committed by the officers in self-defense. Nevertheless, there have been several instances in which law enforcement officials overstepped their bounds.
It is essential to remember that police brutality does not just involve shootings – it also occurs when an officer uses excessive or unnecessary force to apprehend a suspect. In 2016, Harvard professor Roland G. Fryer conducted a study examining both lethal and nonlethal uses of force. His analysis found no racial bias when it comes to fatal police shootings, but the results were different when he looked at nonlethal force.
According to Fryer’s findings, blacks were more likely to be handcuffed without being arrested, pushed up against walls, or thrown to the ground during an encounter with law enforcement. Indeed, even during situations in which the officer admitted that a black civilian was compliant, greater force was used.
What If Every Victim Was Reported?
While the data shows that police are not more likely to shoot a black suspect than a white suspect, the establishment media still insists on focusing primarily on black victims. It is rare that a white victim receives much, if any, attention at all. But why wouldn’t the press want to report on victims of every race? The answer is simple.
The major news outlets typically push these stories to exacerbate ethnic tensions and paint a picture of a racist America. It furthers the leftist agenda by persuading the nation to believe that blacks are helpless victims of bigoted and bloodthirsty police who hunt them down on a daily basis. But this victimhood narrative isn’t the only result of such reportage.
By focusing primarily on black victims of police shootings, the press ensures the deeper issue is never addressed in a meaningful way. When these incidents occur, on what is the public focused? The lion’s share of the outrage is aimed at the police – not because they abused their power, but because they are supposedly racist. In this way, the press is essentially using the specter of racism to distract from the real issue: tyranny.
If the media brought every unjustified shooting to the attention of the American public regardless of race, there would be nothing distracting from the fact that government officials – who have the ability to violate our rights – are behaving in a tyrannical fashion. When an officer punches a compliant civilian in the face for no valid reason, Americans shouldn’t be encouraged to focus on the race of the victim.
Instead, we should see this as an example of a rogue official who is not performing his duty. If this were the case, there would undoubtedly be changes in law enforcement. Perhaps the few officers who engage in this behavior would be held accountable. Maybe it would make for better relations between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
Media Complicit In Tyranny?
If the press truly wished to shine a light on the issue of violent police conduct, they would focus on more than one type of victim. Their news reports would expose the issues that contribute to the problem. Put simply; they would engage in journalism.
The intended role of the press is to expose corruption and keep the public informed. Unfortunately, the Fourth Estate is now using its influence to pursue political objectives, which means reporters only reveal government misconduct when it suits their purposes. Unfortunately, as long as the press refuses to report honestly on the issue, police brutality will be nearly impossible to resolve.