What the media say (and don't say) about violent extremists on the left speaks volumes

I can't think of one mainstream, respected conservative pundit out there arguing that the violent actions of white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville were justified. 

But I can remember quite clearly several moments where left-wing violence and destruction have been justified by well respected mainstream pundits.

Here's just the first that comes to mind.  Let's go back to Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri and the fabrication of the "Hands up, don't shoot!" narrative that quickly gained popularity among the left, there were myriad examples of wanton violence and destruction from the Black Lives Matter protests (better described as riots) that ensued.  In his screed for Time addressing all of this, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar castigated not the violent criminals creating all the carnage, but American society as a whole.

He called it "a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice."  He railed against economic inequality and the greediness of the "1%," which he blames for the economic disparity, and suggested that the reaction is a justifiable response to the condition of poverty afflicting the black community.

But take a look at this gem from that article (emphasis added):

By focusing on just the racial aspect, the discussion becomes about whether Michael Brown's death – or that of the other three unarmed black men who were killed by police in the U.S. within that month – is about discrimination or about police justification. Then we'll argue about whether there isn't just as much black-against-white racism in the U.S. as there is white-against-black. (Yes, there is. But, in general, white-against-black economically impacts the future of the black community. Black-against-white has almost no measurable social impact.)

Black-against-white violence "has almost no measurable social impact."  I am not missing the context in which he is offering this thought.  I get what he's trying to say here – he's generally offering a prediction of the (typically useless) kind of discussion that tends to follow after such an event as the Michael Brown shooting.  But as this is an aside, we can presume that these are his genuine thoughts on the matter.  He is speaking as the voice for blacks, and he suggests that white violence against blacks is more important to focus upon than black-on-white violence, because the latter just doesn't have nearly as much "social impact" on the black community.

Imagine, for one moment, that Richard Spencer had published a piece in a supposedly venerable and respected magazine in response to the Charlottesville incident suggesting that, sure, white people commit violence against blacks at a significant level, but that has "almost no measurable social impact" upon economic or social outcomes for the white community.  Therefore, black-on-white violence is the much more pressing issue in our national discussion.

We know well that Richard Spencer saying such a thing would be received as racist commentary, and rightfully so.  How is it that the exact opposite position is not evidence of racism?  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is generally presumed to be a sober-minded and acceptably mainstream voice in our discussion over race relations.  But his statement here could easily have derived from the mind of a Black Nationalist hate-monger.

No one seemed to care. 

Little could we have known when Abdul-Jabbar penned this piece in August of 2014 that we would, only a short while later, have direct evidence that the media at large share his opinion that black-on-white violence just isn't as important as white-on-black violence.

On Nov. 30, 2017, just a short drive away from where a few St. Louis Rams players took to the field in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter rioters with the now infamous "Hands up, don't shoot!" gesture on that day, white Bosnian Zamir Begic was driving with his young newlywed wife when they were accosted by a group of black youths, and he was beaten to death with hammers.  Perhaps it's pertinent to note that St. Louis has the largest population of Bosnians in the United States and that those Bosnians led protests afterward, believing that ethnic Bosnians were being targeted for violence.

Clearly, there was a "social impact" in this black-on-white violence.  The media just didn't care to "measure" it.

Given all of the very, very clearly localized black animosity towards whites that the St. Louis community had been experiencing in the past months, what was the public verdict that was issued?  "We think it was the wrong place, wrong time," police representative Schron Jackson offered.

It just wasn't newsworthy beyond the requisite local chirps, and it certainly was not indicative of any deeply rooted racial problems having been created by the violence and class warfare being waged by the Black Lives Matter rioters.  After all, as Abdul-Jabbar so eloquently wrote, black-on-white violence just doesn't have the "social impact" worthy of broader coverage.

It raises a question: it doesn't have the "social impact" upon whom?  Isn't the lesson here that the public discourse, as directed by the mainstream media, clearly is more focused upon the "social impact" on people of color and less focused upon the "social impact" upon America's white citizenry, which becomes endangered by the hatred and anger of the left, which is cultivated by the mainstream media?

And ask yourself: if, in the coming months, somewhere in the general vicinity of Charlottesville, Virginia, a young black man taking a leisurely drive with his newlywed bride were pulled from his car and beaten to death with hammers by young white men, would the media's response be "wrong place, wrong time"?  Or would they rightfully condemn the people who did it and associate the event with the racial animus and the violence we just witnessed at the hands of white supremacists in Charlottesville?

You know the answer, as does anyone with the slightest interest in facts and evidence.

After much thought and reflection, I've concluded that Trump was right to condemn both sides for the violence exhibited in Charlottesville in his immediate response, rather than play into what is very clearly the media's narrative suggesting that hatred and violence from one side are somehow more of a threat to American culture than hatred and violence from an equally dangerous group who happen to own an ideology of which the media generally approve.  After all, Antifa opposes the presidency of Donald Trump as the media do.

Just as in Ferguson, the media see their violence and hate as justified.

But violence and hate are never justified in the American social discourse.  Again, Trump had the appropriate answer, and it's an incredibly simple one.

We are not imagining the very obvious media bias that benefits violent left-wing extremists.  And we can be sure that the mainstream media's continuing to function in this biased manner serves only to perpetuate the peculiar brand of hate and violence among the left that they seemingly condone.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.

I can't think of one mainstream, respected conservative pundit out there arguing that the violent actions of white supremacist protesters in Charlottesville were justified. 

But I can remember quite clearly several moments where left-wing violence and destruction have been justified by well respected mainstream pundits.

Here's just the first that comes to mind.  Let's go back to Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.

In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri and the fabrication of the "Hands up, don't shoot!" narrative that quickly gained popularity among the left, there were myriad examples of wanton violence and destruction from the Black Lives Matter protests (better described as riots) that ensued.  In his screed for Time addressing all of this, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar castigated not the violent criminals creating all the carnage, but American society as a whole.

He called it "a tipping point in the struggle against racial injustice."  He railed against economic inequality and the greediness of the "1%," which he blames for the economic disparity, and suggested that the reaction is a justifiable response to the condition of poverty afflicting the black community.

But take a look at this gem from that article (emphasis added):

By focusing on just the racial aspect, the discussion becomes about whether Michael Brown's death – or that of the other three unarmed black men who were killed by police in the U.S. within that month – is about discrimination or about police justification. Then we'll argue about whether there isn't just as much black-against-white racism in the U.S. as there is white-against-black. (Yes, there is. But, in general, white-against-black economically impacts the future of the black community. Black-against-white has almost no measurable social impact.)

Black-against-white violence "has almost no measurable social impact."  I am not missing the context in which he is offering this thought.  I get what he's trying to say here – he's generally offering a prediction of the (typically useless) kind of discussion that tends to follow after such an event as the Michael Brown shooting.  But as this is an aside, we can presume that these are his genuine thoughts on the matter.  He is speaking as the voice for blacks, and he suggests that white violence against blacks is more important to focus upon than black-on-white violence, because the latter just doesn't have nearly as much "social impact" on the black community.

Imagine, for one moment, that Richard Spencer had published a piece in a supposedly venerable and respected magazine in response to the Charlottesville incident suggesting that, sure, white people commit violence against blacks at a significant level, but that has "almost no measurable social impact" upon economic or social outcomes for the white community.  Therefore, black-on-white violence is the much more pressing issue in our national discussion.

We know well that Richard Spencer saying such a thing would be received as racist commentary, and rightfully so.  How is it that the exact opposite position is not evidence of racism?  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is generally presumed to be a sober-minded and acceptably mainstream voice in our discussion over race relations.  But his statement here could easily have derived from the mind of a Black Nationalist hate-monger.

No one seemed to care. 

Little could we have known when Abdul-Jabbar penned this piece in August of 2014 that we would, only a short while later, have direct evidence that the media at large share his opinion that black-on-white violence just isn't as important as white-on-black violence.

On Nov. 30, 2017, just a short drive away from where a few St. Louis Rams players took to the field in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter rioters with the now infamous "Hands up, don't shoot!" gesture on that day, white Bosnian Zamir Begic was driving with his young newlywed wife when they were accosted by a group of black youths, and he was beaten to death with hammers.  Perhaps it's pertinent to note that St. Louis has the largest population of Bosnians in the United States and that those Bosnians led protests afterward, believing that ethnic Bosnians were being targeted for violence.

Clearly, there was a "social impact" in this black-on-white violence.  The media just didn't care to "measure" it.

Given all of the very, very clearly localized black animosity towards whites that the St. Louis community had been experiencing in the past months, what was the public verdict that was issued?  "We think it was the wrong place, wrong time," police representative Schron Jackson offered.

It just wasn't newsworthy beyond the requisite local chirps, and it certainly was not indicative of any deeply rooted racial problems having been created by the violence and class warfare being waged by the Black Lives Matter rioters.  After all, as Abdul-Jabbar so eloquently wrote, black-on-white violence just doesn't have the "social impact" worthy of broader coverage.

It raises a question: it doesn't have the "social impact" upon whom?  Isn't the lesson here that the public discourse, as directed by the mainstream media, clearly is more focused upon the "social impact" on people of color and less focused upon the "social impact" upon America's white citizenry, which becomes endangered by the hatred and anger of the left, which is cultivated by the mainstream media?

And ask yourself: if, in the coming months, somewhere in the general vicinity of Charlottesville, Virginia, a young black man taking a leisurely drive with his newlywed bride were pulled from his car and beaten to death with hammers by young white men, would the media's response be "wrong place, wrong time"?  Or would they rightfully condemn the people who did it and associate the event with the racial animus and the violence we just witnessed at the hands of white supremacists in Charlottesville?

You know the answer, as does anyone with the slightest interest in facts and evidence.

After much thought and reflection, I've concluded that Trump was right to condemn both sides for the violence exhibited in Charlottesville in his immediate response, rather than play into what is very clearly the media's narrative suggesting that hatred and violence from one side are somehow more of a threat to American culture than hatred and violence from an equally dangerous group who happen to own an ideology of which the media generally approve.  After all, Antifa opposes the presidency of Donald Trump as the media do.

Just as in Ferguson, the media see their violence and hate as justified.

But violence and hate are never justified in the American social discourse.  Again, Trump had the appropriate answer, and it's an incredibly simple one.

We are not imagining the very obvious media bias that benefits violent left-wing extremists.  And we can be sure that the mainstream media's continuing to function in this biased manner serves only to perpetuate the peculiar brand of hate and violence among the left that they seemingly condone.

William Sullivan blogs at Political Palaver and can be followed on Twitter.