Wolf Blitzer disinterested condescension is palpable
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer displayed one of the most serious problems with the media. The media generally show a disrespect for certain people in a manner that sometimes is not immediately evident.
Wolf Blitzer interviewed Ferguson / Baltimore activist Deray McKesson on CNN. Unlike many untrained interviewees, Deray McKesson showed a poise more social justice and minority activists must display.
The interview started innocently enough. Wolf Blitzer asked Mr. McKesson what were the plans for the nightfall. Deray McKesson effectively used his first response to set the proper narrative as opposed to allowing Blitzer to do it. He said protests had been occurring for several months peacefully. He stated the fact that police officers have been killing indiscriminately. He also stated the fact that the system is corrupt.
Wolf Blitzer then attempted to regain the narrative. “You want peaceful protest right?” Blitzer asked. McKesson responded affirmatively and added an important fact. While the protests pre-riots had been peaceful, many police officers have been the ones effecting violence against many. He told Wolf that over 300 people have been killed by police this year. He said the property damage was unfortunate.
Wolf Blitzer then went on to enumerate the number of officers hurt, cars damaged, and structures damaged. He then asked Mr. McKesson, “There is no excuse for that kind of violence right?” McKesson appropriately took back the narrative. “There is no excuse for the seven people the Baltimore Police Department has killed in the past year, right?” Mr. McKesson asked Wolf.
This is where Wolf Blitzer’s condescension came in. “We are not making comparisons,” Wolf Blitzer said. “Obviously we don’t want anybody hurt. But I just want to hear you say that there should be peaceful protests, not violent protests in the tradition of Martin Luther King.” Why does Wolf Blitzer believe it is his place to tell McKesson what he must say?
Deray McKesson said he wants peaceful protest. He then put Wolf Blitzer in his place. “You are making a comparison. You are suggesting this idea that broken windows are worse than broken spines,” Deray McKesson said. “What we know to be true is that the police are killing people everywhere. They are killing people here. Six police officers were involved in killing Freddie Gray. And we are looking for justice there and that’s real. The violence that the police have been inflicting on communities of color has been sustained and deep.”
I wish Deray McKesson had added that the media had been derelict in their duties as police violence and killings have gone virtually unreported. That said, each time he spoke he made sure to be the one driving the narrative. That is how one must use the traditional mainstream media when the opportunity arises.