As is evident in the Kansas City Star’s coverage of the Uptown Theater shooting on Friday night, the primary way the mainstream media manipulate the news is to elevate some facts and suppress others.
The secondary manipulation strategy is to editorialize within a news story–or fail to editorialize. In its story on the shooting, the Star does both. The result is a meaningless and misleading story even if all the facts are accurate.
The Star headline is classic liberal boilerplate for black victims: “Man killed after concert at Uptown Theater was young father turning his life around.”
After the triple homicide in Lawrence following a rap concert last fall, the Star ran with a comparable headline: “Relatives say Lawrence shooting victim was trying to be best father to new baby.”
Upon seeing the headline, skeptical readers have to be asking themselves, ‘If the 20-year-old Topeka man was trying to be even a halfway decent father what was he doing at a late night rap concert in Lawrence?’
Mainstream media editors do not expect skepticism from their readers. Quite the opposite. They expect their readers to swallow whichever lachrymose story line they are fed.
In the case of the Uptown victim, for instance, readers are told that he “had begun turning his life around in recent months after sustaining immense personal tragedy — the death of his 3-month-old daughter in February.” This detail might have carried some weight if the Star had not casually mentioned that the victim had four other children under five years of age.
Skeptical readers don’t want an improbable sob story about the victim who even his mother acknowledged “had a background.” They want to know how the three-month-old died.
Skeptical readers want to know too who is going to take care of those remaining four children. They want to know what kind of society encourages and even rewards this kind of reckless parenting and offers no solution other than killing the child in the womb.
More immediately, skeptical readers want to know why so much violence flows out of rap concerts and why the media are mum about this connection.
The shooting after the Uptown event offers any number of cautionary lessons. The media simply choose not to share them. It is so much easier to write off their skeptical readers as racists.