USA Today proclaims the aftermath of the shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri is a “defining moment for race relations in USA.” Sadly, the paper also gave space for one protester to call for murder to be committed for the “cause.”
Like many in the media, the paper seems to accept at face value that Ferguson is a seminal moment for race in America based on the hyperbolic claim that little has changed in race relations. And in its story the paper quotes a woman who lives in Ferguson just to that point.
“This is 2014, and we are still confronting the problems that our mothers and fathers confronted back in the civil rights era,” the paper reports.
This irresponsible narrative does not help solve the problems that do exist in race relations today. It only exacerbates them.
Certainly USA Today is correct when it writes, “The anger in the African-American community” over the non-indictment of officer Wilson “hasn’t subsided.” This in unquestionable.
Still, even in this paper there are no concrete goals or solutions presented. The ever present shout to “fight for justice” and the need for “diversity” are included in the story, but what does this really mean? The story does not say.
But the paper does note that the message is muddled.
“Even in Ferguson, some protesters said there were disparate groups with differing messages that made it difficult to get everybody on the same page,” the paper says, “as has happened with the Occupy Wall Street protest movement that began in 2011 against social and economic inequality worldwide.”
Unfortunately, the paper also gives room for a man calling for deaths for the “cause.”
“Some people are going to have to die for the cause,” Jay Daniels, 27, of Charlotte said. “It’s sad to say, but this is the new civil rights movement for our generation, and there will be casualties and there should be bloodshed.”
It seems irresponsible for USA Today to throw fuel on the fire by repeating the call for bloodshed for a “cause” that is neither clearly defined nor easily understood even by those who feel aggrieved.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.