Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Does censored news serve in the public interest?

Thomas Sowell challenges the prevalent practice of censoring race from news accounts. Sowell specifically cites what he sees as a trend sanitizing a growing number of reports involving black-on-white violent crime:
Trying to keep the lid on is understandable. But a lot of pressure can build up under that lid. If and when that pressure leads to an explosion of white backlash, things could be a lot worse than if the truth had come out earlier, and steps taken by both black and white leaders to deal with the hoodlums and with those who inflame them.
Recently, Kyle Rogers at Examiner.com caught a South Carolina TV station reporting the race of a white burglary suspect, while omitting race in a similar story involving a black one. People are catching on to the media code.

But should people really have to work at deciphering the news to know the descriptions of people committing crimes around them? Seems to me, leaving folks to fill in the blanks with guesswork only fuels potential problems, especially when they know facts are being intentionally omitted. Many may even come to assume the problems they perceive are far more widespread than they actually are.

The media already suffers a credibility gap with increasing numbers of the population. How much deeper will it allow the gap to grow before it returns to unbiased, uncensored reporting?

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