It’s obvious in media these days there’s prejudice, anywhere from slight to blatant. Sometimes so apparent on TV it leaps out and depending where you are on the bias barometer yourself, it either bites or pets you.
Depending on where their readers or viewers are, news media noticeably lean in that direction, either to the left or right, but seldom do they report news straight down the center or cover both sides or all sides of a story giving equal time and weight.
A striking example of this is the coverage of the trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin.
Am I a fan or supporter of Chauvin? Hell no! Did he handle poor George Floyd’s arrest right and proper? No, your honor. He either wasn’t listening or didn’t believe Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe. He was dead wrong to keep his knee on Floyd, pinning him down in that prone position that long with his hands cuffed.
But was Chauvin guilty of murder or second-degree murder or manslaughter? That remains to be seen how the jury decides.
Watching CNN coverage of this trial, a creature landing here from Mars would conclude Chauvin deserves the death penalty.
While media bias abounds on the left and right, CNN is one of the more glaring examples of bias I see ballooning and fired up by elected agitators like confrontation-inciting Rep Maxine Waters. Ironically, her rallying calls on the street may be grounds for an appeal.
Each day, the three or four commentators on CNN, plus the host, sound all solidly in agreement that Officer Chauvin used unlawful force in pinning George Floyd to the ground with his knee on Floyd’s back and neck for the infamous 9.29, the 9 minutes and 29 seconds. In their collective minds, case closed! Chauvin guilty!
While this is probably a correct and reasonable assessment, isn’t it incumbent on news media to at least present the other side? Yet, during CNN’s coverage of the trial, that didn’t happen much during trial breaks when commentators weighed in, slicing and dicing Chauvin.
Day after day, each of the CNN commentators tried to outdo the other in expressing outrage at how savagely and torturously Chauvin treated Floyd to the point it “obviously” caused his death, despite the broad range of contributing factors Chauvin’s defense lawyer kept citing during the trial as possible causes of poor Floyd’s disgusting demise.
In the post-mortem segments during trial breaks, where was the point and counter point? Where was the coverage of arguments in favor of the defendant?
Where was a commentator addressing merits of the defense case like CNN would have Republican Rick Santorum balancing blasts by Democrats on political panels?
No, the coverage was blatantly one sided. In effect, right from the start, just looking at the video of Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s back was enough evidence. Guilty as charged! Off with Chauvin’s head.
The point of this criticism is that all news media, not just CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, etc., need to cover the other side of issues with equal intensity and not just the outcome they presume is justified.
If in the unlikely event Chauvin is found not-guilty, I hope the news media bias will turn decidedly one-sided against the mobs of rioters and looters.
If not, we’re going to have a lot more smoke and fire in city streets and police killings of people out of control and perhaps unfortunately more young, innocent victims shot.
Tom Madden is an author, speechwriter and public relations expert who is founder and CEO of the international PR firm TransMedia Group (www.transmediagroup.com). Prior to launching the firm in New York City, Madden was Vice President, Assistant to the President, of NBC and was head of PR Planning at American Broadcasting Companies. Among his books are his autobiography “Spin Man” and “King of the Condo,” a murder mystery thriller that satirically depicts life in a Florida condo based on his own harrowing experience as a condo president. His latest book WORDSHINE MAN is due out this summer. He currently writes a blog called “MaddenMischief’ (https://maddenmischief.com/), which chronicles his sometimes whimsical, comical and critical views on politics, media and other subjects