HOW THE MEDIA DISTORTS BLACK FAMILIES
The systemic racism of our culture is reinforced by the media. In a Washington Post article this was reported:
“…a research team at the University of Illinois that studies media patterns to examine what an average news consumer might have “learned” about black families (and white families) during the last election cycle. The results were disturbing.
The research team examined more than 800 relevant stories published or aired from January 2015 through December 2016, encompassing coverage from national broadcast and cable news outlets such as ABC, CBS and MSNBC; national mainstream newspapers like The Washington Post, the New York Times and USA Today; and online news sites. In both written and television reporting, the researchers found that the news media systemically misrepresented black families.
When the media outlets examined in the study reported stories about poor families, they chose to feature black families in their coverage 59 percent of the time, even though only 27 percent of families living below the poverty line are black. Similarly, in coverage of welfare, 60 percent of families portrayed were black, even though only 42 percent of families receiving welfare are black. This pattern was widespread across numerous sources — among the worst offenders for networks were Fox News and CNN, and the New York Times and Breitbart for national print and online news organizations.
Additionally, the news media habitually reinforced the myth that black fathers are less involved in their children’s lives. We found that photos and videos in the study showed black mothers, white mothers and white fathers interacting with their children at the same rate. Black fathers, however, were shown with their children half as often, and the news media regularly perpetuated the conventional wisdom that missing black fathers explain social inequity. On “CNN Tonight,” for example, conservative commentator Larry Elder said, “The primary problem with the black community in this country is absentee fathers.”
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