I try to stay away from the comments section of Facebook stories posted by our local media, unless I’m bored and looking for entertainment.
Every now and then, though, I stumble in and I see opinions that fortunately don’t normally appear in my feed.
I have to send you to one of these story threads. I apologize in advance. But you need to see it.
Friday WLBT posted a story about a Jones County man who admitted to eating drugs at a traffic stop. The story included a photo of the man, who is shirtless in the picture. On his abdomen is a large swastika tattoo. WLBT shared the story on Facebook, and apparently Mississippi Facebookers had a problem with seeing his racist tattoo (the story itself doesn’t mention race at all). They went ballistic, accusing WLBT of “racebaiting,” “making blacks angry at whites,” and “wanting to make Mississippi look bad.” You know, because they didn’t Photoshop out the tattoo, or find a picture of him at a picnic with black people, or dig up a Metro Center portrait of him sitting on Santa’s lap in the 80’s.
1. If the problem is WLBT’s decision to post a photo of a drug suspect shirtless,
Where are all these commenters whenever the media posts pictures of black and brown criminals shirtless, with tattoos? I can’t ever remember seeing a story about a black criminal, with a photo of him in suit and tie. And it was never a problem before. Why is it a problem now?
2. If the problem is the man’s tattoo,
That’s his problem, not WLBT’s. He’s the idiot who got a Neo-Nazi symbol inked on his tummy. WLBT didn’t do that. Sure, WLBT can choose other pictures of this guy, but judging by how proud he looks in it, it seems fairly representative of him. I’m not sure he’d object to being characterized as a Neo-Nazi sympathizer in the media. And if he would, then he shouldn’t have gotten a frickin’ swastika tattooed to his chest.
3. If the problem is WLBT’s making Mississippi look bad by posting this,
I’m sorry that you’re offended by reality. That guy actually exists, he actually got caught, and WLBT reported it. They have no obligation whatsoever to pretend it didn’t happen (that’s called suppression of truth), or to do extra legwork to find a nicer looking photo of a criminal because it would help to prop up a false narrative that Mississippi has no race problems (that’s called bad journalism). Truth is, Mississippi does have some outspoken racists- enough, in fact, that it shows up in stories that have nothing to do with race (like THIS guy!). You can blame WLBT for exposing it all you want, but it won’t change the truth, and it won’t solve the problem any faster.
My take is, I’m thankful for WLBT’s reporting, and I’m glad the police are getting scum like this guy off the streets.