This is your warning that posting will be light to nonexistent this holiday weekend. Anything you want to yap about, do so here.
Jack Dunphy has an excellent piece at Pajamas Media regarding what it takes to get a murder reported by Big Media nowadays. His piece begins:
It’s often difficult to predict when a crime story will tickle the media’s antennae. I still recall the puzzlement I felt when, early in my police career, I would be at the scene of some gang murder in South-Central Los Angeles waiting for the newspaper and television reporters to arrive. They seldom did, and I came to learn that most crimes in the inner city, even murders, were somehow considered less than newsworthy. Little has changed.
Jack sets out the calculus for whether a story gets coverage:
The Los Angeles Times and the local television stations seem to employ a peculiar calculus when deciding to cover a crime story, and in the event they do, how much coverage to give it. Among the factors weighed in this calculus are the number and age of the victims, their perceived culpability (i.e. the sympathy factor), and the crime’s proximity to a white neighborhood. . . . Today, with violence in Los Angeles on the decline, there is a new variable in the calculus of determining a given crime’s newsworthiness: the inter-racial factor. When a black gang member kills another black gang member it will most likely be ignored in the media, just as when both the murderer and the murdered are Latinos. But let a Latino gang member kill a black one, or vice versa, now that’s a story.
Read it all.
This is a good day for this piece to come out, because it dovetails nicely with the post immediately below, about Hillary’s pandering visit to Compton yesterday. There is no indication that she talked about the war in our inner cities. Why should she? The newspapers don’t.
In that post, I talk about a shooting case I handled where four teenaged boys were shot, blocks from the church where Hillary spoke. Four boys. Did you hear about it on the news? Was it a nationwide story? Of course not. Just another day in Compton.
Down the street from the church where Hillary spoke, I used to teach classes of fifth-graders about staying out of a life of gangs and crime. I talked about it in this November 2003 post:
[T]here was a skit that involved someone being shot. I asked the students to raise their hands if they had ever heard gunfire from their houses.
Every hand in the room went up.
I asked them to raise their hands if a family member or friend had been shot.
Every hand but two went up.
How does Hillary not talk about that? How does the Los Angeles Times not talk about that? Why does our California section report the deaths of soldiers from Indiana with no connection to California who died in Iraq, but not the deaths of young teenaged girls gunned down in Compton?
Read all of Jack’s piece for more insight into the question. Click here.
What do Hillary and I have in common? We were both in Compton yesterday.
I was doing a trial at the Compton Courthouse, while Hillary was giving a campaign speech at the Citizens of Zion Missionary Baptist Church, 2 1/2 miles away.
I wish I could have gone to watch her speech. I would love to have seen whether she used her accent that she uses to talk to black folks, like she did here:
I rather suspect she did, given this line from her Compton speech:
“Compton is birthing a community, but you can’t do it alone,” Clinton said. “You need to know that someone all the way across the country is rooting for you and will be thinking about you every day. What is it that I can do to make sure this birth is easy and successful and [help] you bring forth a beautiful new Compton?”
Well, I don’t know anything about birthing communities, but if we’re looking for ways to make Compton better, I think Hillary’s answers would be different from mine. Here’s Hillary’s grand vision for revitalizing Compton:
In her address, Clinton laid out her program to help struggling communities. She said she would take steps to retrain workers for jobs developing new energy sources. She also advocated a 90-day freeze on housing foreclosures, counseling for people facing foreclosure, and an expansion of unemployment insurance.” . . . Criticizing the penal system, she said she would spend $200 million over five years to help people re-enter the community after leaving prison.
In a nutshell: throw more money at the problem. In an even smaller nutshell: pander — just like the phony-baloney accent she’s putting on in those videos. (By the way, Hillary was born in Chicago, and grew up in the town where I was born: Park Ridge, Illinois. She went to the same high school my brother went to. She went to college at Wellesley. When did she learn to talk like that? And when’s the last time you heard her talk like that when she wasn’t standing in front of a room of black people?)
What’s my answer for how to make Compton better? Well, there aren’t any easy answers. But I think we need to start by focusing on the right issues.
The church where Hillary spoke is two and 1/2 short blocks from the scene of a shooting in a case I handled, in which four school-age kids were shot in broad daylight as they walked home from high school. (It never made the news. These things rarely do.) If you walk down the street from where these boys lay bleeding on the sidewalk towards Lime Ave., and turn left, within a hundred yards or so, you hit the defendant’s house. If you instead turn right, within a hundred yards or so, you hit the church where Hillary spoke today.
There’s a war zone in our inner cities. It claims lives as surely as the war in Iraq. It is largely unreported even by hometown newspapers; if a young girl is gunned down in Compton, the Los Angeles Times is likely to reject the story to make space for stories about Paris Hilton going to jail, or Britney’s latest craziness, or Zac Efron getting his appendix out. But reported or not, the war goes on. (I’m told Jack Dunphy will elaborate on the media’s blindness to the killing in our inner cities in a piece in Pajamas Media today. Stay tuned for details.)
The reasons the war is taking place are varied, but are rooted in LBJ’s Great Society and the breakdown of the family. As Jack Dunphy said on my site: “It’s the fathers, stupid.” If you don’t think the lack of fathers out there makes a difference, you’re not paying attention.
Hillary didn’t talk about that. It’s a tough way to pander to a crowd. Much easier to put on the phony accent and tell people how you’re going to give them money.
Hillary and I don’t have much in common after all. But then, when you read the post title, you pretty much knew that.
UPDATE: This post links and discusses Dunphy’s piece, which is now up.