I have to ask if Black Lives Matter believes that black lives matter only when police are involved. As a black man, I understand the initial aim of the movement--to promote that the loss of black lives to police aggression is a sign that the lives of blacks are held in extremely low regard by law enforcement--but what about the rate of black-on-black murder that makes it appear that we don't give two sh*ts about the lives of our own kind?
Make a statement about this, people. Hold a rally. Encourage life. Expand your position to explain how Black Lives Matter is meant as a call to peaceful and lawful action against police abuses and perhaps incorporate the need for blacks to respect each other's lives as well. Acknowledge that each and every human life on this Earth is precious, and that your specific area of concentration is on the preservation and re-valuation of black lives.
Who knows? Perhaps that is on the agenda. I can only hope that it is and they close this gap in their message even as they are expanding to address matters of importance to the LGBT community and others. Black Lives Matter is a decentralized movement in that it is chapter-based, so we'll have to wait and see if the gap is eventually shut across the diffuse and diverse organization.
Beyond the actions taken by the Black Lives Matter movement, I can only wonder what the mainstream media--especially the conservative media--finds so distasteful about the ever-growing movement itself such that Right-wing pundits often fly into a rage upon its mention. Do they not understand that the Black Lives Matter movement was never about de-valuing the lives of non-blacks as much as it was initially about the specific concern I mentioned above? Are they truly that dense or is theirs a pretext of some kind?
It is a mystery. Yet I must remind everyone that the actions of Black Lives Matter at political events and their formerly narrow focus merely follows the lead of a previously successful group that vociferously campaigned for change, held protest marches, and interrupted presidential candidates--a group whose disruptive actions and stated beliefs were defended, and even championed, by powerful conservatives.
A group called the Tea Party.
Conservatives favored the Tea Party, itself an organization that started out in a manner similar to Black Lives Matter, though with much greater financial backing. Conservatives helped give birth to the Tea Party, they enabled it, and they helped it grow. Given the similar origins of Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party, I again wonder if the conservative backlash against Black Lives Matter is in response to the things Black Lives Matter has done in following the Tea Party's lead or something Black Lives Matter has yet to do (such as I illustrated above).
In examining why Black Lives Matter is so vilified by the conservative media, I have gained a new understanding of it as an (allegedly) decentralized grassroots organization fighting for the beliefs of many on a state-by-state basis, much as the Tea Party fought for the beliefs of a like-minded political body. That I disagree with their methods, their linkage to Black Liberation Movement, their admiration of "Assata Shakur" (alias the cop-killer former known as Joanne Chesimard) does not change the fact that Black Lives Matter is the embodiment of many freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, just as the Tea Party has purported to be from the start. Amazingly, the more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that Black Lives Matter, by virtue of their strategies and narrow focus, is the child of the Tea Party.
Conservatives birthed the Tea Party, and the limited scope and disruptive tactics of that movement were appropriated by Black Lives Matter. In the strangest and most unexpected of ways, Conservative activists are at least partially responsible for inspiring the creation of the ultra-liberal, pro-black, pro-LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter movement.
The mess that is America in 2011. We have an absolutely polarized American electorate. We have a void of leadership that same electorate sent to Washington, D.C. The federal credit rating is diminished. So, how did we get here? How did we move from widespread visions of hope and change in 2008 to equally widespread fear and discontent in 2011? How did "We, the People" become "We, the angry masses"? How did this happen, America?
According to an essay written by Val E. Limburg for the Museum of Broadcast Communications, it's a long, long story, one that begins with President Ronald Reagan and a former policy of the Federal Communications Commission called the "Fairness Doctrine". According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the Fairness Doctrine was a policy begun in 1949 meant to ensure that all coverage of controversial issues by broadcasters was fair and balanced since broadcasters were viewed as "public trustees" given the limited number of broadcast frequencies available at the time and the massive number of people who could be reached (and influenced) despite the scarcity of those frequencies. The doctrine wasn't a law, however, although the Supreme Court sanctioned it in 1969 when it ruled in favor of the FCC in the case of Red Lion Broadcasting Co., Inc. v. FCC. Despite its intent, the doctrine upset many who considered it a violation of First Amendment rights of free speech and free press through which the freedom to make stories as balanced or unbalanced as reporters saw fit should be granted to the media. Lacking that freedom to slant coverage, some reporters avoided certain controversial issues simply to avoid the FCC's requirement to find alternate points of view.
The doctrine remained in effect until the 1980s, according to Limburg, at which point two things changed: Ronald Reagan became President and cable television began to spread across the nation. Reagan, a champion of smaller government and federal deregulation, noted that the consideration of broadcasters as "public trustees" due to the scarcity of broadcast resources was rendered moot since the proliferation of cable systems meant that diverse opinions on controversial topics would be readily available to viewers, and Mark Fowler, the new Chairman of the FCC as appointed by President Reagan, publicly vowed to end the doctrine. In 1985, the FCC, still under the control of the Reagan administration, issued its Fairness Report in which it validated earlier concerns about the doctrine's constitutionality and its effect on reducing the press coverage given to controversial topics. In 1987, the case of Meredith Corp. v. FCC saw the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit verify that the Fairness Doctrine was not law, but policy, and as such the FCC did not have to continue to enforce it. The FCC dissolved the doctrine in August of that year.
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