During tonight’s screening I was struck by the language used in news footage covering the the Watts Riots. The incident was described in a way that almost sounded like how one would talk about some sort of insidious virus, needing to be controlled before it spread to other neighborhoods. This, coupled with the fact that the footage does not reference the source of this unrest and instead makes it look like organic destruction for the sake of destruction, sends a very distinct message about the Black community and is incredibly ignorant. As the documentary tonight pointed out, the news routinely chronicles riots and looters, but ignores why people are behaving this way and the actual source of issues at hand. One of the reporters spoken to says “I don’t think, I report,” as a defense when asked about the content he reports, which just begins to capture the flawed nature of mainstream media.
As a side note, after Professor Lamb asked us to think of black-run news reports today, I did actually think of “The Nightly Show,” hosted by Larry Wilmore on Comedy Central. Yes, the show runs on a comedy oriented network, but just as Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” has been recognized as being an important pop culture symbol and source of news for many people, the show focuses on news content often with humor, but not ignoring the gravity of the situation. I am linking below a clip from the show where he talks about Sandra Bland’s arrest and subsequent death.