Following the killing of 12 people and wounding of 58 others by a White male in Aurora, Col., I decided to see how the bloodbath would be covered by the eminent Fox Terriers, Sean Hannity and Bill O’ Reilly. It was a fascinating, revealing and would have been an amusing experience had the circumstances not been so serious.
The first thing I noticed was the attempt of the usually boastful, know-it-all bloviators to be serious journalists. Both of them went into the pure journalistic posture of presenting the facts and nothing but the facts.
On “The O’Reilly Factor,” O’Reilly – the slickest of the two – seemed almost aloof when commenting on the case and interviewing quests. It was obvious that he was determined to keep the focus on the suspected shooter and killer as being a lone loon, not a representative of a larger destructive White male problem in this country. This was confirmed at the end of his program when he ordered members of the O’ Reilly cult to make sure to tell their children that the bloodbath in Aurora is an aberration. One can bet that his regular viewers did just what their divine leader ordered.
As for Sean Hannity, it was almost amusing to see someone who has made millions of dollars by being shallow, smart-alecky and bitchy struggling to look and act like a knowledgeable, professional journalist. His efforts were to no avail. Hannity still came across as an ambitious boy from a modest background who now operates with the misguided notion that he is a major White male power broker.
Both Hannity and O’ Reilly are among those politicians and pundits in this country who, if the shooter in Aurora had been a Black male, would be pontificating – not about that particular person as they do when the subject is a White male, but about “the pathology of Black males.” Their attitude is best explained in an observation made by Michelle Alexander in her must-read book, “The New Jim Crow.”
“In the state of Washington,” wrote Ms. Alexander,” a review of juvenile sentencing reports that prosecutors routinely described Black and White offenders differently. Blacks committed crimes because of internal personality flaws such as disrespect. Whites did so because of external conditions such as family conflict.”
What the Fox Terriers and most of the other commentators failed to note in their coverage was that on July 16, 2012, just four days prior to Aurora, another White male shot up a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in which 17 people were shot or otherwise wounded. It would seem that at least a mention of the closeness of the Tuscaloosa shooting to Aurora would be required. Maybe it wasn’t a big deal because no one was killed.
These two incidents, which occurred within one week, should at least raise a question about what is happening when members of the most pampered and powerful special interest group in this country – White males – indulge in such pathological, savage, destructive behavior?
Contact A. Peter Bailey at email@example.com, or 202-716-4560.