Last night, while the world mourned the loss of Robin Williams, chaos broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, a town outside St. Louis. A crowd protesting the questionable death of Mike Brown, an 18-year-old man shot and killed by police on Saturday, was confronted by more police officers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters. After that, there came riots. (The Daily Beast has a good write-up of the incident here.) Today, in the Washington Post, Todd C. Frankel opines:
It’s still unclear why, this time, tensions boiled over. But to many people, it had little to do with this town. The violent reaction grew from something larger, something tougher to pin down.
Really, Todd C. Frankel? It’s tough to “pin down” that people are pissed about yet another unarmed, young African-American man getting gunned down by police? Where exactly is the vagueness you find in this issue?
Okay, I’m going to ignore Frankel’s weak-ass commentary for right now. What I want to ask is, were you watching TV last night, and if so, did you see this happening? I don’t tend to watch the 24-hour news stations anymore, but all over Twitter there were pleas for major media outlets to stop the mass orgy of sorrow that accompanies every celebrity death and maybe show some footage of the tear gas cloud that had descended over the streets of Ferguson.
You know, I was mourning the loss of Robin Williams last night. And I also tried my best to catch what was going on in Missouri. There was quite a lot of footage floating around Twitter. Sort of like when the Arab Spring took place on social media.
Is this what we’ve come to in this country, mainstream news outlets? A media machine so distracted by fame it can’t report two news stories at once? U.S. citizens forced by a silent news industry to report on events themselves? I think even Williams would have excused a cut-away from his own coverage. He might have even made a joke about the fact that he would, in fact, be polite and remain dead until the mourning could resume.
Ugh. I really want to be wrong about this. Someone tell me some news outlet somewhere broadcast coverage of Ferguson. Otherwise, I think I may beat my head against a wall.