How the Media Has Affected the Portrayal of Ferguson
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

How the Media Has Affected the Portrayal of Ferguson

How the Media Has Affected the Portrayal of Ferguson

Today’s media holds a remarkable power over society – a power that is frequently overlooked. Viewers are often too engaged in the news being covered to recognize the massive influence that the media has on our opinions of the world. However, in the recent Michael Brown and Darren Wilson case, the impact of the media has appeared indisputable. 

Days prior to the announcement of whether or not Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson would be indicted over the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the U.S. media seemed to have no other concern than covering the case and unveiling every detail accountable thus far. Networks like CNN and Fox News spent countless hours broadcasting the facts of the case, including their own personal predictions of the grand jury’s decision, before St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch announced the decision. 

News reporters also took this time to voice their predictions regarding how the community would respond based on the announcement of the grand jury’s decision. Some reporters anticipated peaceful protesting regardless of the jury’s decision, while others expected a chaotic riot to take place in result of a jury decision that protesters would not support. 

As if tensions were not already high enough within the community, the media did not hesitate to advertise this uneasiness and its negative effect on society. News stations highlighted the anxiousness preceding the grand jury announcement and created a sense of unrest in viewers while counting down the minutes until the decision was announced. 

Finally, Bob McCulloch made the announcement on Nov. 24 that officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the shooting of Michael Brown. 

The announcement culminated a wave of mixed emotions within community members – anger, confusion, and dissatisfaction. This led to the continuation of protests, peaceful and violent, and only the latter of which were covered by the media. 

The Michael Brown case and its aftermath does deserve immense coverage. Protesters do deserve attention and do deserve to have their voices heard. Reports should be covering a case that has caused so much controversy. However, although I believe today’s reporters are well-educated on their facts and the background of the case, I do not believe that they have delivered justified, unbiased news coverage. 

It has now been one week since the grand jury announcement was made. These passing days have shed light on the true power of the media. 

Think about it: what have you seen on the TV, heard on the radio, read online within the past seven days? Have you seen the mass amount of positive efforts community members are making to improve the division at hand? Or have you only seen coverage of violence? 

This is what I, myself, have seen thus far in the media: coverage of Ferguson businesses being burned, malls being loitered, and police being ambushed. Videos of people screaming, crying, and cursing. Statistics of how many shots have been fired and how many arrests have been made. These are some of the things I have seen. 

And then, somewhere in between the lines, I manage to find those few headlines reflecting the peaceful protesting that has occurred and the constructive endeavors that have been made by citizens to try and achieve a sense of hope. 

It is fair and necessary that the violent protests and negative repercussions are being covered by the media. My point, however, is that there has not been enough coverage of the positive

It really puts things in perspective – when did media become targeted toward events that people want to hear, rather than what people need to hear? When did tragedy become an opportunity for media to increase ratings rather than increase the variety of voices that are heard? What ever happened to unbiased, transparent news coverage? 

It is time for the media to, not move on from the Michael Brown case, but rather begin to highlight all aspects of its aftermath. It is time to include coverage of citizens volunteering to clean up the Ferguson community, citizens donating to the police stations who have worked unending hours to protect the community, and citizens protesting peacefully. It is time to uphold fair, unbiased coverage. 

Here, I am a journalist criticizing journalism. And in doing so, I hope to see a change toward fairness in the field I aim to pursue.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments