The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Ace on ‘Context’

Posted on | February 24, 2011 | 6 Comments

The thuggery against Tabitha Hale compels him:

The media slips an awful lot past the public with the word “context.” They frequently claim they don’t carry stories like this because the “context” doesn’t support making it worthy of mention. . . .
1. We don’t have to patrol the left for violence because the left is entirely non-violent and law-abiding. This assumption is of course false on its face and absurd even in postulation.
2. We don’t have to patrol the left for violence because we have such moral certitude about the goodness of our ends that we are justified in using otherwise-immoral means, such as violence, to attain them.

Go read the whole thing, because Ace is awesome when he’s really pissed off. And it pisses me off, too.

Ten years ago, I did a news article for the Washington Times examining the dearth of coverage about the murder of Jesse Dirkhising, an Arkansas teenager who was raped and suffocated by two men. One of the two killers had just been convicted, and another was still on trial. Why had the murder of Matthew Shepard merited wall-to-wall coverage while the death of Dirkhising — an equally horrendous and senseless crime — got no national coverage at all? I called up the networks to ask, and one response was particularly memorable:

“We’ve been watching the trial and will continue to monitor it,” ABC News spokesman Todd Polkes said Wednesday. “Currently, we have no plans to report it in our national newscasts. It appears to be a local crime story that does not raise the kind of issues that would warrant our coverage.”

What kind of issues do “warrant coverage”? And why are some issues so transparently more equal than others? Who decides these things?

No one ever satisfactorily answered those questions, and here again we see how media bias involves preconceived ideas of what issues “warrant coverage.”

Look, just from the standpoint of sensationalistic “if-it-bleeds-it-leads” newsworthiness, isn’t “Brutish Man Attacks Pretty Girl” kind of a catchy story? You don’t have to politicize the story in order to tell the story, yet reporters seem so afraid of what the story’s political impact might be that they refuse to tell it.

Just like poor Jesse Dirkhising.


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