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Our Media’s Return to 1925

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa

Editor's Note: This piece was co-authored by Loyd Pettegrew.

Eldridge Cleaver may have died at age 62 on May 1, 1998, but you would think that he was organizing and leading the national riots about George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks. Black Lives Matter has now become the new Black Panther Party. The mainstream media are now lionizing these riots just as they did in 1968 after Cleaver wrote Soul on Ice when the New York Times writer Lindsay Patterson effused that the work was brilliant and revealing, in an article titled "Eldridge Cleaver: Post-Prison Writings and Speeches."


It has been 52 years and media journalists, an occupational misnomer, just can’t get enough of racial violence aimed at American society. Major newspapers have given up on their promise to present factual news. Instead it’s 24-7 progressive propaganda with salacious stories like the Duke Lacrosse team raping a woman of color, Covington High School student, Nick Sandmann confronting an elderly native American man. The fact that newspapers routinely print propaganda and falsehoods as fact, no matter whose reputation is impugned, brings us to our current topic.

After Germany’s defeat in the Great War in 1917, Adolph Hitler began reshaping Germany’s new democracy into an authoritarian state that could last a thousand years. By 1925 he had penned his Mein Kampf (My Struggle). With Germany in the throes of defeat and war reparations, Hitler hoped to reunite the country through a common struggle over which he would preside.

One of the essential tools that he used to perform the transformation was the mass media of the time–the press and the radio.  In August 1933, Joseph Goebbels, his Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda, claimed, “Our way of taking power and using it would have been inconceivable without the radio…” The Nazis were masters of shaping thought and feelings, garnering support through the news channels of the time. Goebbels' specific purpose was shaping the news to indoctrinate and control Germans. Volume 1 of Hitler’s Mein Kampf was his master plan for the Third Reich. Hitler wrote, “the task [of the press and media] is not to make an objective study of the truth, its purpose is to serve our Reich, always and unflinchingly.” News’ sole purpose was to propagandize, awakening public imagination and feeling through false appeals.


As university scholars, we have analyzed and see clearly that most current news outlets no longer inform but propagandize citizens using emotional appeal to control readers’ and viewers’ psychological disposition. There can be no more vivid example of this similarity than the MSM coverage of the death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter and Antifa propagated riots. Michael Goodwin in the New York Post said, “The [Times’] mandate of opinion-free news coverage was tossed overboard during the heated 2016 presidential election, and the paper now displays its bias on every page. The quaint motto is still there, but these days the Times doesn’t cover the news as much as promote an agenda. As it says repeatedly, the paper has a “mission.” A. G. Sulzberger pressured editorial page editor James Bennet to “step down” for his temerity of “allowing” Republican Senator Tom Cotton to write a conservative editorial in the paper because the millennial and GenZ reporters threw an ideological hissy fit. As Goodwin said, their “mission is obvious: The Times aims to elect left-wing Democrats to virtually every office in the land and transform America culturally, educationally and politically.”

The recent death of George Floyd was the lynchpin for the MSM’s propagandization of the truth by shaping facts and perceptions to match their leftist political sensibilities. Following in the footsteps of Geobbels, they aimed to stir the emotions of the American public to support their go-to liberal claim that the United States remains a racist nation. Their fawning reports of the ensuing Floyd riots demonstrated their inability to tell the truth without putting their fingers on the scale.


Riots are the low-hanging fruit of today’s journalism. It’s always the white man’s fault. As recently as Sunday, a police officer was attempting to apprehend Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. Mr. Brooks fought with the policeman, broke away and while being chased, pulled out a tazer gun and hit the policeman. The cop fired back killing Brooks and Atlanta went up in flames. This sequence was posted on every news outlet for the world to see, but thus far our news media is presenting it as “Details of Atlanta Shooting Fuel Debate on Use of Force!” Why not post “Why Are So Many Black Men Committing Crimes?”

Claims of institutionalized racism fit nicely with the Democrat Party’s call for all black citizens in America to support Joe Biden. “You ain’t black if you don’t vote for me.” The black vote is critical to their chances of retaking the White House and the George Floyd incident provided the spark to inflame emotions and distrust, forming the psychological framework for a powerful campaign tactic—America is plagued by structural and institutional racism. Blacks are routinely cast as the victims of police brutality, never treated equally before the law and denied equal opportunity for advancement in America. One would understand if the promoter of these falsehoods was just Al Sharpton, not the MSM’s gospel.

Officer Chauvin’s actions showed poor judgment, if not latent racial discrimination given his violence-prone record as a cop. But nowhere was there MSM consideration of the difference in size between Floyd and Chauvin, Mr. Chauvin being 6’6”, weighing about 280 lbs. His ample arrest record including sticking a gun in the belly of a pregnant woman was excluded. 


There are three other news stories involving black men that the MSM edited to create nonracial narratives.

In 2018, Lauren McCluskey, 21 years old and a charming senior student-athlete at the University of Utah was stalked and killed by a 38-year old black man. For several days before her death, Lauren had been terrified and expressed fear for her life to University authorities. This news story never mentioned the issue of race. 

In 2019, McKenzie Lueck, a 21-year old senior also at the University of Utah was kidnapped and murdered.  Her alleged killer was a 31-year old black man. Again, race was also not an issue in this case.

In December 2019, Tessa Majors, just 18 years old freshman at Barnard College was attacked, robbed and stabbed to death by a group of black teenagers. Somehow race was again missing from media accounts. In all of these cases, racist condemnation was absent from journalist coverage--any attention on black-on-white crime was intentionally avoided. 

Why has the MSM make race such an important issue in the George Floyd case, while virtually eliminating it from the three murdered white college students?

The murders of these three white female students by black men could have sparked news stories, documentaries, and in-depth commentaries on violence in black culture, the effects of the dysfunctional black family dynamics that lead to a host of societal problems. But we saw no White Female Lives Matter protests. Equivalently their funerals should have been given nation wide media coverage. Their families loved them as much as the Floyd family loved George. Journalists and news outlets could have tried to enflame emotions and feelings regarding the actions of the black individuals towards these three white, female college students. They might have recalled Eldridge Cleaver’s, “Soul on Ice”, that, in part, legitimized black violence toward white women. Crickets. 


If they had they would have been totally wrong to do so. Responsible journalists should never use the death of these three white college students to stir-up vitriol about race. Doing so would sow seeds of anger, social division, and injustice. Race should never be exploited or sensationalized in the news media. This is precisely why the MSM media coverage of George Floyd’s death has hurt the nation at a time it was already hurting from Covid-19. It has been thoughtfully designed to incite negative feelings and emotions, not inform. It was used to support Joe Biden and Democrats. It has resulted in property destruction and the loss of life. It has fractured our society. It has pulled scabs off wounds, thereby reversing a healing process that was already taking place.

During the past weeks the MSM has revealed several progressive truths: 1) They can’t be trusted; 2) If a white cop kills a black assailant, it’s always the cop’s fault; 3) White privilege and systemic racism explain everything about why many blacks suffer in America—it’s simply not their fault!

As long as the MSM incites emotions and enflamed feelings for political purposes, we will always face the prospect of America suffering. Goebbels was the quintessential example, the worst of the worst. Any imitation of his actions is reprehensible. The MSM must not perpetuate or fan the flames of racism to achieve political objectives! 

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