The Buffalo Anti-black Attack in Main Stream Media

Published May 16th, 2022 - 06:45 GMT
buffalo attack in the media
People gather outside of Tops market on May 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. Photo by SCOTT OLSON / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

With every racially-charged crime taking place in the United States, the conversation over media coverage resurfaces with viewers and readers noticing major differences in terms of coverage.

On Saturday, Americans were shocked by an anti-black terrorist attack in Buffalo, New York, during which an 18-year-old white shooter killed 10 black people in a supermarket while non-fatally injuring 3 others.

The crime was immediately identified as a racist one, as the gunman had released a hateful manifesto against black people shortly before opening fire in the Buffalo supermarket.

The white supremacist gunman identified as Payton Gendron is believed to have been inspired by the 2019 anti-Muslim shooting that took place in Christchurch, New Zealand, one that had also released a manifesto detailing his views on immigration and non-white newcomers.

Yet, American viewers were quick to notice major differences in the coverage US mainstream media offered for incidents involving white and black Americans, saying that they still express softer stances on crimes committed by white people, compared to coverage of incidents committed by black people.

Some commentators also noted that US media refuses to label Payton Gendron as a white supremacist, local terrorist, or killer, as most outlets opted for softer and apolitical descriptions such as gunman and teenager, even though he had already expressed political and racist motivation for the crime.

Others also noted that Payton Gendron was arrested by the police without being harmed, comparing him to incidents in which black suspects are killed by the police even before confirmations that they broke laws, famously the May 2020 George Floyd killing over possible fake dollars, an accusation that was proved incorrect following Floyd's death.

Some social media users also expressed discontent with media coverage that tends to provide what they described as "a human context" to white shooters, showing their photos at younger ages, and questioning their mental health, two practices that are exclusive to killings committed by white people. 

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