Sunday, October 23, 2005
Here is a copy of an email I sent to CBS this morning:
I would like to lodge a complaint about the CBS Sunday Morning Journal segment covering the Toledo race riots, and yes, they were riots, although you wouldn't know that from the coverage. Your reporter's coverage of the event was dismally politically correct, as evidenced by the limits of its scope.
The story began, appropriately enough, by covering a white resident's building of a fence to keep out his black neighbor's children, his regular videotaping of black youths, and his myriad complaints about the same youths to police, whom he thought were "suspicious." Eventually, he received the support of American Nazis, who then in turn protested Toledo. So far so good.
Just when the real story had begun to develop, the plug was pulled to avoid any suggestion of political incorectness on the part of the reporter. The sad fact was that the Nazis, for all their ideological fallaciousness, were PEACEFULLY PROTESTING. Their peaceful protest was responded to with VIOLENCE, LOOTING, and ARSON on the part of some of Toledo's black residents, who your reporter completely exonerated by blaming the Nazis for inciting them. In fact, the report barely even touched on this aspect of the story at all, which, unfortunately, was not at all surprising.
It would have taken guts to accurately cover this story, and the fact that some of Toledo residents completely lack tolerance for the OPINIONS of others. In our society, we are all legally obligated to respect the opinions of others. In fact, it's written into the First Amendment. For example, veterans of the Iraq war are obligated to respect Cindy Sheehan's right to protest the war; Jews are obligated to respect the right of Louis Farrakhan to express anti-Semitic beliefs; and on and on it goes. Likewise, blacks are LEGALLY OBLIGATED to respect the expression of beliefs by others, no matter how stupid. By letting certain members of the public off the hook when they egregiously violate the rights of others, your news organization becomes complicit in the same sort of "tolerance" that accompanied violent reprisals against certain forms of speech in Nazi Germany during the 1930s. In your silence, you become more like your ideological enemies than you would ever be brave enough to admit.
Another troubling aspect of this coverage is the suggestion that black Americans just can't control themselves, and therefore can't be blamed for their conduct when incited in any way. This same attitude is expressed, unfortuately, in the low expectations of may public school and correctional systems throughout the nation, which assume, without saying so, the same thing. Low expectations, I believe, are the cause of low school performance and deviant conduct. As long as people like you are reinforcing these stereotypes, it will be almost impossible to make any improvements in our society. Not that you would care, as long as the ratings keep coming in.
Jeffrey C. Marty
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