The past few weeks, media coverage of Ferguson has spiked immensely. Often, when news is covered at a quicker pace, facts can be fabricated or misconstrued. I decided to look up what fact checking organizations have to say about the media’s coverage.
Here are some examples from PolitiFact:
- “93 percent of blacks murdered by other blacks” (from Rudy Guiliani, GOP presidential candidate) is rated “Mostly True”
- ““The conviction rate is almost exactly the same” for whites and blacks who commit murder” (also from Guiliani) is rated “False”
- ““99 percent of the time” police aren’t charged for killing people of color” (from Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump) is rated “Half True”
These are just a few examples, more of which can be found here.
When I look at how many claims are “Half True” or “False”, it can be disheartening. After all, at least for me, the media plays a large role in influencing my opinion as I use it as a source of information.
Another article from The Huffington Post also provides some perspective on the matter. Media claims to be objective, and yet, according to the article “Media treatment of black victims is often harsher than it is of whites suspected of crimes, including murder.” Treatment can vary from a photo that portrays a suspect better or a victim worse, a headline that hints at doubt at the white killer’s actions, or one that gives an opinion on character.
This is why I have found it so interesting to use Twitter to follow #Ferguson coverage as well—because the mainstream media is not allowed to fully dominate the conversation. Citizen journalists posting on Twitter and sharing videos, photos, and ideas are contributing to new sides to #Ferguson.
What do you think? Where do you get your news? How much do you trust the media? How much does it influence you?