Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Re-Packaging Of Reality.....-

Today we live in the age of unending information. We are bombarded by news, good, bad and everything in between. There is a 24 hour news cycle and a bevy of outlets designed to put their own unique spin on the facts. These outlets specialize in twisting and bending information into a form that is palatable for their readers, listeners, or viewers. Mass media have become contortionists with the ability to bend and stretch facts into fiction and fiction into facts.

The Associated Press is under fire for an asinine tweet about the trial of the man who fatally shot Renisha McBride.

Theodore Wafer was on trial for-shooting and killing 19 year old McBride who was unarmed, on his porch last November. McBride was intoxicated, and banged on his door in the early hours of the night. He shot her through his locked screen door. 

Here's how the AP framed the verdict in Wafer's case:

 Suburban Detroit homeowner convicted of second-degree murder for killing woman who showed up drunk on porch:

— The Associated Press (@AP) August 7, 2014

The AP later revised:

The AP's original tweet is the latest in a series of the news outlet's recent missteps on social media. After the last problematic tweet, a spokesperson for the AP said that the organization is "reviewing our procedures" for Twitter.

This kind of tweet, commentary, or headline is not at all unique, or surprising. In fact it is quite common, although not at all in line with the agenda of a liberal or progressive news outlet like The Associated Press. But it is problematic, disgusting, disturbing and it distorts the facts of this case.

Let's disect this tweet.

The phrase "Suburban Detroit home owner" is used to describe the killer, as if to say that he is no different than you, me, or any other "suburban home owner" who may read this tweet. This automatically conveys a sense of empathy through identification. The author of this tweet obviously identifies with Wafer and hopes that many others will also.

Next, the word "killing" is used instead of murder even though Wafer was convicted of murder. Killing has many different forms. It can be accidental or unintentional. But murder is a very different animal. One in which "intent" is the key to its ferocity.

Ranisha McBride was refered to as a woman. Indicating a certain level of maturity. But the fact is, she was only 19. Although she is legally considered an adult, the concept of a mature 19 year old is a myth. Technically she was still a teenager.

Lastly, there is the contortion, and destortion of the facts. She did not simply "show up" on this mans porch drunk. In addition, she was dazed and confused because she had just been in a car accident. McBride went to Wafer's house looking for help, and the mere mention of the porch is telling. Packages from FedEx or UPS show up on porches, not human beings. So when the phrase "showed up drunk on porch" is applied to a unarmed woman who posed absolutely no threat, it objectifies her. Further more there was a time when African-American's were referred to as "porch monkeys", so I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that fact that there could be a Freudian slip buried within the text.

If I were a reader he didn't know anything about this story my perception would be that McBride was responsible for her own murder. This is a classic example of reality edited, and re-packaged to fit an agenda.

Goodbye Associated Press. Your app has been deleted from my phone for all eternity!


1 comment:

  1. Well, I must say that I have the bare minimum on my phone--I don't even have video--but if I had the Associated Press AP, I, too, would remove it.

    I felt that the facts surrounding the death of Ranisha McBride were suspect. It was not until later that I found that she had a car accident, and even when that information was given by the local news media they made it seem as though she were drunk.

    I'm glad that I didn't notice the subliminal reference to "porch monkeys" because I really believe that the blogger was trying to convey a message to other bigots.