July 03, 2015
He did it to start a race war, he said, and he referenced the Trayvon Martin case, and, in particular, the media’s role in the Trayvon Martin case, to justify the bloodbath he’d just perpetrated in the name of preventing the takedown of his people. This brought the media up short and prompted a period of honest soul-searching and fearless self-reflection among the arbiters of public opinion.
Without the slightest whiff of introspection, the media fixated on the Confederate flag visible in a picture of Dylan Roof. With the assurance of superstitious children, the media asserted it was the public display of that flag that caused Dylan Roof to commit mass murder. Public opinion soon coalesced around the idea that the proper national response to the conditions that produced Dylan Roof was to take down the flag of his people.
Led by accomplished venom slingers at The New York Times and The Washington Post, the media’s attack on the Confederate flag successfully elevated Dylan Roof from the status of murderer to the status of whites attacking blacks.
Twenty-one years ago, Colin Ferguson, a black man with a long history of racial hatred, tried to ignite a race war by opening fire in a commuter car on the Long Island Railroad, killing six. Imagine a photo surfacing of him standing in front of a statue of Martin Luther King. Imagine that photo prompting a national drive to change the name of every street in America named after Martin Luther King back to its original name. Ridiculous? Divisive? Unhelpfully elevating Colin Ferguson from the status of murderer to the status of blacks attacking whites?
Also in 1994, Al Sharpton warned against what he called attempts to “demonize black dissatisfaction” by linking blacks to the Colin Ferguson murders. This past Saturday, Al Sharpton held a rally in response to the Charleston killings demanding a street in Brooklyn named after Robert E. Lee be renamed. Don’t wait for The New York Times to call Al Sharpton out. There is one group in this country The New York Times has no problem with demonizing: Dylan Roof’s.