Televised Injustice – A Muted Media on Mehserle’s Killing of Oscar Grant

July 9, 2010

There are people all over television news tonight crying, with actual tears; grown men characterized by grotesque beer bellies hanging out of disheveled t-shirts, faces contorted, whining like hapless children, yelling into cameras wildly flailing their arms in thunderous accusations that Mr. LeBron James committed some sort of injustice in announcing his choice to join a new N.B.A. team.

It’s nauseating.

Such disproportionate coverage of protests trivialize the name of justice on a day like today, when a real injustice has occurred. I don’t blame the icky, irritated men here, but am shocked at an absurdly mute televised media this evening. There’s an excruciatingly distasteful sensation of irritation and astonishment that many experienced after hearing the “Involuntary Manslaughter” verdict in the killing of Oscar Grant, a young , unarmed African American shot in the back by a BART officer. Yet no mainstream t.v. pundit, not even the loud, proud, ferocious prosecution hawk Nancy Grace discussed this issue.

And i’ll leave the debate on whether or not the Mehserle trial was fairly carried out, from jury selection to evidence presented and the larger issue of racial bias seeping in our justice system to legal professionals who have issued the following statement:

“The verdict is a painful example of what we already know, the criminal justice system treats white, police officers with deference and poor people of color with hostility,” said Carlos Villarreal, National Lawyers Guild – San Francisco Chapter – Executive Director.  “It is shameful that irrelevant aspects of Grant’s past were put before the jury and troubling that the jury included no African Americans.”

So legal technicalities that could have caused injustice aside, there’s another injustice taking place by way of the media. Nauseating is the fact that I rarely watch television but caught glimpses of T.V. news throughout the day at work, the gym, the mall and when I got home, finally wanted to hear some rational, educated discussion on this case and got nothing from the television.

What did we get? We got simian looking men, hot and bothered about basketball rather than coverage on the loss of life and the grave injustice of a man getting away with what the victims mother cries is “murder”.

And why this is nauseating as opposed to just annoying is because the coverage major T.V. outlets, including local Bay Area channels did offer said absolutely nothing about the fact that an injustice might have taken place. There was zero discussion, let alone debate on the verdict from any news station.

Instead, we were fed repeated talk of riots; most specifically, footage of a Foot Locker being raided by protestors and empty Nike shoe boxes on the Oakland streets hours after the verdict was announced. Again, I’ll not delve into how the images and commentary of the protests could have easily been construed as racist, but will leave that to someone who has studied sociology of media and has weaved this injustice into the larger issue of force in America; Michael Moore.

Yes many say he’s gone too far left after Sicko and I’ll be the first to say Capitalism: a Love Story was off the deep end. However, Moore’s best work to date is Bowling for Columbine. It’s one of the most poignant documentaries of our time, and we as American’s would be wise to revisit that work today.


One comment

  1. AOA


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