Over-Covering Ferguson

Why have the protests and riots lasted so long in Ferguson?: 

Why have out-of-town agitators and opportunists like the Communist Revolutionary Party and the New Black Panthers flocked to a St. Louis suburb?: 

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Why, 12 days after Michael Brown was shot to death by a policeman, do the good people of Ferguson who want to see a fair and just investigation into the facts surrounding Brown’s death still have no peace?: 

It’s the national news media, stupid.: 

It’s the ratings-hungry, pot-stirring, sensationalizing TV media that never misses a chance to milk – and perpetuate — a white-on-black news story.: 

Ferguson is not just big news on network TV and in the Washington Post. It’s become a nightly action-packed reality show on CNN, MSNBC and FOX.: 

The images of tear-gassed protestors squared off against militarized police make for great TV. So does the tension and drama.: 

Will protests turn more violent tonight? Will a provocateur throw a bomb, burn down a variety store or shoot a cop with a deer rifle?: 

We all hope not. But if anything exciting happens, don’t you worry, America.: 

Jake Tapper, Chris Hayes, Steve Harrigan will be there on the sidewalks of Ferguson to capture it live for CNN, MSNBC and Fox.: 

Then Anderson, Rachel and Greta will analyze and discuss everything until the country falls asleep.: 

Obviously, no one can or should stop the news media from stampeding in a herd to Ferguson. We need and want the national print and electronic media to thoroughly cover tragic events like this.: 

But we need the news media to do its job right – and with restraint.: 

We need journalists to dig up accurate new information, challenge the authorities, debunk rumors and lies and provide perspective, thoughtful analysis and commentary.: 

At this point in Ferguson the TV media’s saturation coverage – and saturation commentary — is only making things worse.: 

Its round-the-clock presence is not only attracting publicity seekers and troublemakers who give Ferguson’s good people a bad name.: 

What’s worse, the media attention is encouraging residents of Ferguson to continue the unnecessary daily protests that are destroying daily life in their town.: 

The people of Ferguson deserve to learn the truth. The investigation should be done properly, and state and federal agencies have come in to make sure that happens.: 

But the process of determining whether police officer Darren Wilson was justified or not in shooting Michael Brown is going to take months, if not years.: 

The autopsies are not complete. The grand jury hasn’t finished its work. We don’t have the police incident report yet. We’ve heard conflicting eyewitness reports.: 

Instead of standing around on sidewalks in the dark waiting for something exciting to happen, the TV news guys should do everyone a favor and back off for a while.: 

That will never happen. But if it did, overnight Ferguson’s streets would be filled with cars again, not protest marchers, riot police and Al Jazeera camera crews.: 

Everyone involved – especially the TV news media – needs to calm down and wait for all the facts before they start spouting their pre-conceived conclusions.: 

The shooting death of a young black man like Michael Brown is an American tragedy. Unfortunately, it happens all too often.: 

Too many unarmed citizens of all races are being killed each year by our cops. No one knows for sure how many. But in a handful of highly publicized cases, it’s a white cop killing an unarmed black man without justification.: 

Maybe that’s what happened to Brown, maybe not. We’ll see.: 

Meanwhile, while the national media herd waits for all the facts about Brown’s death, they might want to spend some quality time in Chicago.: 

Last year 500 murders were committed there. As in most inner cities, most of the victims and the perpetrators were young black men engaged in gang warfare.: 

Chicago’s permanent murder spree is not as sensational or as racially charged as a white cop killing an unarmed black teen. But its causes and cures could use a lot more media attention.

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