Monday, May 17, 2010

Most murder victims aren't attractive white females?

I've mentioned before my disgust with the way that our national tv news media exploit the deaths of attractive, young white females by elevating those stories for obsessive coverage. I consider such behavior vulture like: the networks feed off of the corpses of the women. The purpose of such stories is not to serve any of the civic purposes of journalism, but to increase ratings with sensationalistic stories that require no actual journalistic work.

And while they are busy doing hard hitting stories about such issues of national importance as the death of the father of a murder suspect (are you f'ing kidding me, Nancy Grace?), the real story of homicides in America is lost

Now a senior reporter at the L.A. Times, Jill Leovy started The Homicide Report in 2007 after noticing the huge disparity in the way murders were covered by the news media. The sensational stories, mostly the outliers and anomalies, got the most attention. But the majority of homicides were largely ignored.

"The first year I was in the Watts homicide unit, that unit had 60 murders that year," she tells NPR's Guy Raz. "I was shadowing the detectives, and we were running on murders every other day. Every morning they had CNN on, or something on, and it would have the latest installment of the Laci Peterson murder." The sensational case of a pregnant wife murdered by her husband enthralled the nation for months.

"The detectives in that unit were fascinated with it. Every day, we would have a moment of discussing the newest development in that case, and then they'd go on to do the 60 other murders that year — and that is homicide in America.

"The truth about homicide," she says, "is that it is black men in their 20s, in their 30s, in their 40s. The way we guide money and policy in this country, we do not care about those people. It's not described as what's central to our homicide problem, and I wanted people to see that. I wanted people to see those lives and to see that that's our real homicide problem in America.

"The money needs to go to black male argument violence," she continues. "Anything else … you're dealing with the margins of the problem, statistically, and it's not right."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should watch Bill Moyer's interview with David Simon (creator of The Wire, which you must watch, if you have a whole week's worth of time that you can spare).

David Simon points out that most of these people, are ignored, because his America, i.e. the suburban capitalistic America, has no use for these people.

Fantastic interview (although depressing) and moreso if you've already seen the wire.