While Fox New’s Greg Gutfeld is obviously right about the media’s sensationalizing the police protests, it is not a trivial issue and is one that needs to be covered. While BBC World and other international, as well as local and domestic media head to any protest with an andrenaline-charged glee as if they were heroically uncovering a dark truth, there is a problem and it is especially a problem because police are dying. The point is not merely to place the issue in context, although inflaming an issue does tragcially endanger law enforcement and other first responder’s lives is irresponsible to say the least. The problem is the perception among parts of the African American community that they are being targeted is a reality, and needs to be covered, even if the perception is not always accurate and encourages the breakdown of law and order. How to do that in a way that does not justify the looting is not easy, but saying the issue should take a back seat to Ebola or ISIS does not solve what is a real problem.

In a nation of over 300 million, that a policeman has to shoot to defend himself, or herself, is statistically inevitable, perhaps even on a daily basis. It’s what happens afterwards that causes the real problems. Don’t like a grand jury ruling? Go shoot a police officer seems to be the sickening response. That it is a few lone psychotic, violent individuals that actually pull the trigger seems not to matter at this point. The evidence, for example, seems clearly to suggest that Michael Brown charged the officer and had fought with him, trying to gain control of his firearm. That does not matter to his rioting defenders. What is being indicted on the streets is the rule of law. And the violence entrenches opposing sides, with police logically more reluctant to respond to calls and protesters looking for any excuse to trash and burn, and lone wolf crazies, looking to shoot the men and women who place their lives on the line to uphold the law. In order to avoid sensationalizing the issue, should we, for example, ignore the lives of the two police officers in New York who were gunned down as they ate lunch in their squad car?

Greg Gutfeld would never say that of course. So it seems a little late to quibble about media bias. Of course there is bias, much of it anti-police. Of course it endangers lives of first responders. Of course it can have dangerous implications. Moving forward, enacting police reforms that do not shackle their ability to do a dangerous, often thankless job will be necessary, whether it seems an impossible task at the current time or not. The other part of the solution is making rioters understand that the rule of law is the only way forward and that rioting and looting will be punished. That, of course, is already being done. And inbetween the gleeful sensationalism, those stories also have to be told. I’m sure that Gutfeld would say that’s exactly what he’s doing, but he knows that freedom of the press comes with the risk of excess. The best answer to sensationalism, especially dangerous sensationalism, is to take on the same story being sensationalized and tell it in a better way.

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