Newspapers, magazines, The World at Six, but also: websites, apps, and podcasts: for a news junkie such as myself, there are so many exciting ways to get my fix each day. As independent media critics like Jesse Brown and Elon James White point out, however, the news that is reported by major media outlets is often a distortion of the bigger picture.
For those who want to learn more about the story behind the story, I present this post; one in a series which offers supplementary reading on the major events that made the news.
Part 1: #BaltimoreUprising
When Freddy Gray was killed in police custody on April 19th of this year, outraged Baltimoreans took to the streets to protest his murder and an overall pattern of police brutality against the Black community. Dismissed as “rioters” and “thugs”, representations of the protestors by reporters from CTV, CNN, and Fox News, in particular, have been subject to intense scrutiny by media critics and academics.
A common criticism of the mainstream media is that news coverage frequently lacks context. Editors for the Baltimore Sun, for example, have pointed out that what happened to Freddy Gray is part of a larger problem that includes a history of police corruption and “decades of social and economic devastation” in communities like Sandtown-Winchester, the neighbourhood in Baltimore where Gray lived and died.
To learn more about the overall context in which this story is based, check out these titles from our collection.
Red Summer: the summer of 1919 and the awakening of Black America by Cameron McWhirter
Racialized Policing: aboriginal people’s encounters with the police by Elizabeth Comack
Killing Rage: ending racism by bell hooks
The Condemnation of Blackness: race, crime, and the making of modern urban America by Khalil Gibran Muhammad
News for All the People: the epic story of race and the American media by Juan González and Joseph Torres
Reproducing Racism: how everyday choices lock in white advantage by Daria Roithmayr
Visitor: my life in Canada by Anthony Stewart