Lately, national media coverage has been laser-focused on the large-scale unrest and new COVID-19 cases that continue to seed doubt in the minds of the electorate ahead of the November presidential election. However, an uncontrolled surge in violent crime affecting many major American cities has received little investigative news coverage by the mainstream media. The media's failure to cover the sharp rise in murders in cities run exclusively by Democratic mayors who have all rebuked President Trump's law and order platform illustrates a noticeable double standard in holding politicians accountable.
Over the 4th of July holiday weekend, there were hundreds of shootings in cities throughout the nation, resulting in scores of murders; including those of at least six children. Ironically, the media has covered the horrifying rise in violence as a separate, unrelated issue to the recent uncontrolled unrest that have gripped these cities since the George Floyd protests started in May. Worse, the mainstream media has not challenged local mayors, prosecutors or police chiefs for their lack of ability to get crime under control. This is largely because the issue of rising homicide in communities of color are in direct conflict with the messaging of the need for police reform embodied by defunding and hands-off policing policies over the last month.
The unbridled criminality culminating in a wave of homicide can be attributed to the policies of political inaction, double standards and selective enforcement actions led by local mayors and prosecutors. These elected leaders were quick to strike an authoritarian tone with COVID-19 lockdown messaging, while simultaneously curbing arrests and releasing prisoners from jails. Then, when a wave of unlawful protests gripped the nation after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis; the same leaders failed to not only enforce COVID-19 policies, but laws ranging from obstruction of traffic to violent felonies as protests have continued for over six weeks now.
Partner this double standard in enforcement with a constant promotion of the false narrative of the police reform movement, and the result in an emboldened criminal element that no longer have a fear of law enforcement.
Predictably, the media has enabled local officials who have tried to obfuscate the responsibility for their inner-city crime surge on external factors, like age-old gun control talking points or the COVID-19 pandemic. In doing this, it's obvious that the media has no intention of holding elected leaders accountable for this life-and-death issue; and ask them what their tangible plans are to address it — especially if the proven means to do so are politically unpopular with their progressive base.
The mainstream media has been arguably complicit through their use in nearly uniform use of political language in their coverage. For example, when protests are consistently covered as "peaceful" or "mostly peaceful", it purposely fails to address the question as to whether the protest was "lawful" or "unlawful" (i.e., was it permitted and conducted within the law?). Likewise, when murders and shootings are labeled "gun crime" instead of "violent crime", it places the blame for the crime in the weapon used instead of highlighting the failures of the district attorney and police department to go after the criminals using weapons unlawfully.
Coddling language and collusive coverage by the media enable politicians to continue to "pass the buck" on addressing the issue of violent crime. Despite a myriad of existing gun laws ranging from the draconian to outright unconstitutional, mayors are still quick to blame guns for their violent crime rates. Meanwhile, the same jurisdictions have spent generations failing to address the breakdown in family structure, education and societal structure that have led to violent crime rates higher than other, comparably sized jurisdictions that have significantly higher rates of firearm ownership.
Instead, mayors and police chiefs have adopted the language of the police reform movement and have emphasized the need for "community involvement" and "communication" in vague plans to addressing their spike in murder rates. These national talking points sound nice but fail to address the time-sensitive question of how a community with a fundamental distrust of law enforcement is going to suddenly partner with police to turn in violent criminals who victimize their neighborhoods.
This is exhibited by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, who has blamed to Philadelphia's 30% rise in murders on "challenges between the pandemic limiting and weeks of protests in the city." Outlaw explained "We've been shifting and shuffling our resources which might, in the end, decrease visibility in some areas where we've been more prominent, but we'll get there. I think communication is key".
Communication with whom? The murderers?
The truth is that until the media holds mayors and prosecutors accountable when their crime prevention and social justice policies whose failures result in a rise in violence in their communities, any credibility they seek to establish for their social justice initiatives will be lost. It is disingenuous for a mayor to support the message of "Black Lives Matter" by allowing the painting of it on streets, while black and brown lives are being taken at a rate over 1,000 times more than are taken by unjustified police killings … on a daily basis. Therefore, it's important for citizens to hold both the media and politicians accountable with their ratings and votes.
A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.
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