Vital Signs

Race, Crime, and the Media

If five whites carjacked a black couple, tortured them for hours, then dumped the bodies, the national news media would descend upon the benighted city in which the dastardly crime occurred and, having reported the unspeakable deeds, subject the rest of us to rants on racism and harangues on hate.  It happened with James Byrd, the black man dragged to death behind a car in Jasper, Texas, and it happens even when the crimes are fictive, as with huckstress Tawana Brawley and, more recently, the lacrosse team at Duke University.  In such cases, we are told that whether or not the crimes actually occurred does not matter: We learn a lesson simply in contemplating them.

The truth is, we are never permitted to contemplate the truth about race and crime.  Most interracial crime involves blacks harming whites, and federal statistics show that blacks commit more hate crimes than whites.  The news media’s stiff-necked refusal to report these facts is escalating and indisputable, as several recent cases show, and invites us to question why so many news professionals—so dedicated to disclosing so many unwelcome facts about so many subjects—are so unwilling to examine this one.  “Liberal media bias” isn’t the only answer.  Something else is at work.

First, a few examples.  The murders of Christopher Newsom and Channon Christian in Knoxville, Tennessee, merited almost...

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