I just watched the Kelly File on Fox News from——————-. One would think I would put this under politics but it deals so directly with how African-Americans are seen and treated that I am putting it under Diaspora.
In the program she is covering the reactions in Chicago to the release of the video showing Officer Van Dyke killing Laquan McDonald. Tobin is the reporter in the streets with the protester. He gives a very balanced report and talks to someone described as an “emotional” protester emotional, yes, but articulate would have worked, too. Then Kelly showed a photo from the day before of this protester engaged in a staring match with a police officer. Kelly described this as disturbing, that a protester would dare engage in a staring match with an officer.
Kelly repeated labeled the shooting as a matter of a “White police officer” shooting a “Black man” while on MSNBC I heard “a police officer”, not a White police officer. So who is making it a matter of race? Does that make Kelly a “race hustler”?
She had on two spokespersons, one a Black man who spoke eloquently about the need for transparency, the other an author who said the protests bled police forces away from protecting us from terrorism. So that was balanced.
The Kelly File is commentary, so I have no problem with Kelly saying what she said although I disagree completely with her. Here is what I saw her presenting and why I disagree:
she presented the situation as racialized, emphasizing the identity of the officer and the victim as White and Black. Most discussions of this I hear Blacks and liberals engage in deal with the abuse of authority, which includes Black police officers. The whole point is that the police abuse their power in the Black community in a way they would not be allowed to do in the White community. Kelly doesn’t see it that way.
Also, she made comments that skewed the discussion toward the idea that protesting police abuse is not right. She did not engage either the person asking for more transparency nor the author stressing the harm to national security done when people do not accept what the police do. She asked if policing was now more dangerous, a softball question to the author, a former policeman, when in reality police deaths are down from previous years.
If you listen to MSNBC, you do hear their commentators bringing in facts like the last but they also present concerns expressed by the author and Kelly, that the police may feel under siege or that the protests drain away needed protection. Fox commentators slant their coverage much more. Again, that’s OK b/c it is commentary; it’s just commentary I disagree with as one-sided and uninformed if not downright propaganda. Notice the street reporter, Tobin, did a straightforward presentation with no slanting. That’s b/c he was reporting, not making commentary.
To broaden this out, I would put this squarely in the frame of maintaining White supremacy in the sense of maintaining authority in general and in the hands of the police in particular. The reason I qualify it with “White” is because I think Kelly might say, “Authority is White. It just is.” 🙂
But more about that anon.