Media Mashup: June 19, 2015


In a somewhat troubling assault on the media coverage of the South Carolina killings, some critics blame journalists for treating the white gunman differently from black shooters and victims.

In a column in The Washington Post, Anthea Butler, an associate professor of religion and Africana studies at the University of Pennsylvania, contends, “U.S. media practice a different policy when covering crimes involving African Americans and Muslims. As suspects, they are quickly characterized as terrorists and thugs, motivated by evil intent instead of external injustices. While white suspects are lone wolfs… violence by black and Muslim people is systemic, demanding response and action from all who share their race or religion.”

Another Washington Post column maintains that the 21-year-old gunman, Dylann Roof, underlines that millennials are nearly as racist as their fathers and grandmothers. “The danger in invoking the myth of the presupposed racial tolerance of millennials (and subsequent generations) is that it works to absolve today’s society of actively confronting and undoing the damage of the legacy of slavery, segregation and institutionalized racism,” Post digital editor Karen Attiah wrote.

We often criticize the media, but we think these analyses are a bit over the top. We do think the media were slow to cover the story on Wednesday night.


Nate Silver at reports that presidential candidate Donald Trump has some of the most negative polling numbers in recent history.

For example, 57 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of Trump, according to an average of most recent polls. That rating beats Pat Buchanan, who had a 43 percent unfavorable rating at this point in the 2000 election cycle. 

Silver finds that Trump’s net favorability rating (favorable minus unfavorable) of -32 percentage points is by far the worst of more than 100 presidential candidates since 1980. For more details, see


As we noted yesterday, Brian Williams will be returning to the NBC family. He will relinquish the role of NBC anchor, but he will still have a job at MSNBC.

We think this is a sad day for journalism ethics!

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