News organizations are so focused on the racial elements of the unrest surrounding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Missouri because "they're addicted to race like crack," Democratic strategist and Newsmax contributor Hank Sheinkopf said.
"They can't help themselves," the president of Sheinkopf Communications told "The Steve Malzberg Show" Thursday on Newsmax TV.
"That's what creates news, gossip, entertainment, violence — but not facts.
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"Look at who's doing news today," he added. "Gossip, entertainment are not facts; it's very hard to get facts — and so where you don't have facts, you have to create tabloid entertainment.
"Why? Because that's what creates viewership and listenership and [watchers] and readership."
News coverage of the protests in Ferguson, Mo., have been steady since the Saturday shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Brown by a white police officer. Angry residents have looted stores, hurled Molotov cocktails — and have squared off with local police in riot gear using tear gas, smoke bombs, and rubber bullets.
Sixteen people were arrested on Wednesday, KSDK.com reports.
Two journalists were detained and released, and a St. Louis alderman was also taken into custody by police.
Gov. Jay Nixon said on Thursday that he was turning over
security operations to the Missouri State Highway Patrol because local police came under fire for using militarized tactics.
He named Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson, an African American who grew up in the Ferguson area, to oversee the security effort.
President Barack Obama also called for calm in Ferguson.
"There is never an excuse for violence against police or for those who would use this tragedy as a cover for vandalism and looting," Obama said from his vacation on Martha's Vineyard. "There's also no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests or to throw protesters in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights."
In his Malzberg interview, Sheinkopf praised Obama's speech.
"The president did the right thing. Restoring the rule of law is very important. Getting an investigation going, having a grand jury come up with the finding, is very important.
"Calming things down, the leader of the United States of America has the ability to do that," he said. "Whatever he does is news and creates impact."
Obama, however, should be as reassuring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, especially as tensions escalate with Hamas, Sheinkopf suggested.
"The problem here is that people expect Jews to be all the way on the left because they're the Jews they're used to seeing," he said. "They don't like right-wing Jews because they don't know what to do with them.
"This administration does not do well with centrist-right governments," Sheinkopf added.
"Israel is no exception.
"What the president of the United States forgets is that the only country to have taken on the Soviets directly in air combat during the Cold War was the state of Israel — and it was over Syria in 1982, and we know how that turned out: not one Israeli flyer out of the way.
"The Americans are having their interests defended by Israel," he said, adding that Obama "doesn't like Bibi Netanyahu and he doesn't like the state of Israel, and he doesn't like the fact that he can't tell them what to do. It's simple."
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