The Conversation

The Racial Tit-for-Tat of Crime Reporting

Back when the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin story first exploded onto the national scene, with false accounts of a "white" shooter and edited 911 calls, we at Breitbart News made an editorial decision not to become involved in the racial tit-for-tat reporting that tempted many other sites. There was no reason to draw attention to the hypocrisy of the media and the so-called civil rights establishment regarding crimes where the racial labels were reversed, because the labels in the Martin case were wrong in the first place.

I dislike the tit-for-tat stories anyway. The fact that the media and the left are obsessed with race does not mean the rest of us must be. And there is the very real danger that in trying to demonstrate the hypocrisy of race-mongers like Al Sharpton and the journalists who follow eagerly in their wake, focusing on the race of perpetrators and victims ends up emphasizing stereotypes and inflaming passions--quite independently of the argument at hand. We risk becoming no better than those hypocrites whom we would criticize.

It is becoming harder for some conservative journalists to resist the tit-for-tat arguments when Sharpton et al. continue to pretend the Martin case was about race when everyone involved, including the prosecution, said that it was not. Even the Martin family, given the opportunity (before the verdict) to comment on the fact that there were no black jurors, said that they placed their faith in their fellow citizens and the judicial process. The fact that the racial argument has survived the trial and the facts is both sad and frustrating.

So the temptation to report the race of alleged perpetrators when the roles are reversed is now stronger than it was before--too strong for some conservative sites in the Christopher Lane murder, which reported initially (and inaccurately) that all three assailants were black. Yes, there is a crime problem in the black community. Yes, there is an failure among black leaders, from Obama on down, to do anything about it. That story doesn't need new white victims to make it potent. This is a game without winners. I'd rather not play.



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