Most of the commentaries I write about Fox News are not the result of me actually watching Fox, but of specific research, tips, or other means. Every once in a very long while, though, I decide to take a break from the reality-based community, and actually turn on Fox News. This is almost always a mistake. On Tuesday morning, I wandered into an America’s Newsroom segment on the events in Ferguson that started out with the kind of black-on-black gun crime concern-trolling that has become de rigueur for the conservative media whenever black people are hunted down and killed under legal sanction.
For some reason, though, Fox Hard News Anchor Martha MacCallum only elected to highlight one specific case, and it didn’t involve a black victim of “inner-city” gun violence. For some reason, some mysterious reason, Martha MacCallum thought that the killing of Mike Brown by a white police officer connected well with the murder of 19 year-old Brendan Tevlin of Livingston, NJ. Tevlin must have been gunned down under color of legal authority, then, or maybe his killers are all cooling out at home collecting t-shirt money, right?
Well, no, actually, the three suspects in Tevlin’s murder are all in jail right now, on millions of dollars in bail, and none of them were alleged to have been acting under legal authority, or in self-defense, or even loud music-induced panic.
Let’s see if we can figure out what this particular crime has to do with the killing of Mike Brown:
Whatever word salad surrounded it, the purpose of this segment was to give Fox News viewers what they want, which is this image:
Now, I know you’re all thinking that this is the most nakedly racist thing you’ve seen in a long time, but in fairness to Fox News, they did secure the participation of a black Fox News contributor. Also in fairness to Fox News, David Webb did bring up another specific murder a few minutes later, the killing of Australian baseball player Chris Lane. They showed a photo of Lane, who is white, but for some reason did not show a photo of the suspects in his murder. As it happens, one of those suspects was white, unless you were watching Fox News at the time of the murder, in which case all three of them were black.
Like Tevlin, Lane’s killers were all quickly apprehended, and all are facing the full force if the criminal justice system, but that is not the point. The point, Fox News viewers, is that black people are a threat that the media is afraid to protect you from. Sadly, that’s not a message that really needs much reinforcing, never has been. But if you’re the kind of person who likes it when panicky white people shoot black people because they’re black, then rest assured that Fox News is helping that along.
But if you really want to take a lesson from the killing of Brandon Tevlin, then let it be this: one of the men suspected in his killing is also a suspect in the double-murder of two gay men in Seattle in June. There’s no way to know for sure, but perhaps if police in this country weren’t so busy choking out black men who carry too many cigarettes, or stopping and frisking innocent black men, they could have put that energy into catching the one who actually did kill someone, and doing so before he killed again four weeks later.