Monday, November 17, 2014

Jon Stewart on Pointergate

Among the stupidest stories of the year is the Pointergate scandal. Not because it doesn’t beg serious questions about political coverage and racism, but because it shows just how pathetic the media is without providing any real pathway forward. For those who haven’t heard about the story, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges was out a few days before election day getting out the vote with a young African American man named Navell Gordon. The young man had a criminal record but had turned his life around and become a community activist working to improve his home town. While out talking to potential voters, the two posed for a picture with each pointing at the other. The subsequent KSTP news story, using an ex-police chief, then claimed this was a gang sign and that the Mayor was thus stirring up gang violence and putting police officers at risk. The obvious racist undertones were hard to ignore and the local and then national media did almost immediately condemn the station for their coverage. And yet the Hubbard Broadcasting Chair said he would not apologize for the story (MPR NEWS).

Racism is, of course, rampant across the television dial, on the evening news as much as anywhere else. But the clear political undertones here are hard to ignore. In fact, in recent years it appears that the conservative bias on the news has only gotten worse. So it was no surprise that Jon Stewart would finally chime in on the story, as he recently did (clip here). Best of all was his list of “Innocent Things Black People Can’t Do or They Look Suspicious:”

· Don't wear a hoodie
· Don't carry Skittles
· Don't carry keys
· Don't reach for a wallet
· Don't drive in a car in a nice neighborhood
· Don't drive in a car
· Don't be a passenger in a car
· Don't knock on a white person's door
· And now……don't point!

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