I won’t pretend to suggest the Covington Catholic kids were perfect. I don’t care who they are or where they are from. That many kids, white, black, male, female, whatever, there are going to be shenanigans going on. But that’s the point. These are kids, should be treated as such, and let their parents, church, and school address any teachable moments.
But that’s not what is happening, and that is not what we are seeing through our media. The media keeps digging in its heels and making sweeping generalizations and condemning people for outrageous things. And few get punished.
This needs to stop. We need to find a way to hold the media itself accountable. It is a tool for politics and nothing else. Most of the media is an arm of only one party. The media, with its power to influence by its mere presence, can be dangerous. And it is dangerous now.
This is why it must be held accountable, because the media will tear us apart or put us all into shackles. If the CovCath incident were not isolated, we could use this as a teachable moment for the media and us as consumers. While we can still do so for both, the likelihood is that nothing is going to change. More stories will be manipulated for partisan and political gain in the future, because we as people cannot help ourselves.
I would love to say we can just emphasize the need for restraint and that be it. Of course, that is the ultimate answer, but humans have a propensity to be unrestrained. Restraint will never be 100% followed and won’t last. So what do we do?
And that is where I struggle. Besides not watching or buying media we find objectionable, such embargoes goes both ways and does not eliminate the craziness. We can embargo all news, but that’s not likely to happen, either. We could develop a professional organization to monitor the ethics of publicists and writers, but there are so many problem with that its not really worth discussing at all.
The best thing, I think in the end, we can do is contribute to the marketplace ourselves and call out the outlets that are irresponsible. We cannot repeat their sins and must be reasonable ourselves, but we must speak up nonetheless. Don’t be afraid to write a letter to the editor of your local paper or write to your local and national leaders. Call in, do whatever but speak up.
If enough do it, we can change the trajectory of media direction. But we have to try. We have to hold them accountable.