There have been two weeks of outrage over the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The details of the shooting are still fuzzy, but the anger is crystal clear and exposes a still deep and ugly divide in America.
In sharp contrast, the beheading of James Foley by Islamic State extremists did not prompt the same outrage or protests. The details of the beheading are on video for anyone with the stomach to watch (WARNING: GRAPHIC). The international divide it exposes is equally ugly and far more dangerous. It should unite us as Americans, as the Islamic State on the other side of the divide wants to kill us all, regardless of color or class.
And yet the growing threat of the Islamic State is a secondary story to Ferguson. It speaks more to our national media than the greater population. Ferguson is easier and much less expensive to cover. The growing threat of ISIS — the greatest threat to America and the civilized world in recent history — is more dangerous and more expensive to cover.
And besides, stories that divide us rather than unite us make for better TV. Two sides yelling at each other is the formula for cable news success. The importance of a story and journalistic responsibility lost in the battle for ratings and revenue long ago.
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People protest Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for Michael Brown, who was killed by a police officer last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. As night fell Sunday in Ferguson, another peaceful protest quickly deteriorated after marchers pushed toward one end of a street. Police attempted to push them back by firing tear gas and shouting over a bullhorn that the protest was no longer peaceful.
Since the death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown last Saturday, residents of Ferguson, Missouri, have taken to the streets to protest. Long before major media were on the ground, Twitter provided to-the-minute updates of events, and continues to be the most reliable reporting resource. Below is a list of 10 individuals you should follow on Twitter if you want to know what’s really happening on the streets of Ferguson, because the likes of CNN can’t be trusted to even report what’s happening outside of its own doors:
1. Antonio French (@AntonioFrench), St. Louis Alderman of the 21st Ward.
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I know this is going to devastate a bunch of whiny privileged white people and politicians who would just love to say that we’re “post-racial” because we have a mixed-race president, but here we go:
America has a serious problem with police. And, it’s not a problem with police and everyone else. It’s a problem specifically between police (or people who fetishize authority) and people of color.
On August 9th, 2014, the 18-year-old Michael Brown was stopped by authorities in Ferguson, Missouri. Whatever happened during that stop is unclear. What is clear, however, is that Brown, a young African American man with seemingly no weapon on his person, was shot to death by police.
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I wish I could have been in the room when someone came up with the utterly stupid idea for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, wherein you dump a bucket of ice water on yourself (recording it for YouTube, of course) and challenge six others to do the same, or you donate $100 to the ALS Association, which combats Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Read more »
From 2006 to 2009, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 81, was the sole woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. Nominated in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, she now presides alongside Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Earlier this month, in speaking to a law school, Justice Ginsburg noted the court’s increasing embrace of gay rights.
This is not to say that gay and lesbians have secured equal protections in the eyes of the law. But comparatively, Justice Ginsburg said that the court still wrestles with “the ability of women to decide for themselves what their destiny will be.”
Though history is never made as linearly as we learn it in the classroom, it sometimes seems like social justice movements happen one at a time instead of concurrently. Despite this, each group’s push toward equality carries the same fundamental objective: To expand the idea of what it means to be “American.”
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Update: Smith has been suspended by ESPN for his comments.
Stephen A. Smith (or “Screamin’ A,” as one of my Twitter followers calls him) gave a corporate apology at the top of ESPN’s First Take yesterday for his ridiculous domestic violence victim-blaming in relation to Ray Rice’s controversial two-game suspension resulting from an ugly incident earlier this year at Revel. It was the type of apology that we’ve all come to expect during a dust-up when a public figure who gains prominence for vocalizing a controversial opinion wants to sweep the furor under the rug. In that way, it was entirely uneventful.
It took 72 hours (he should be thanking God for small favors in the form of the weekend news cycle drag), but with a smidge less heat surrounding him, Smith delivered his contrition with standard applications of feigned revelation and self-interest. There are debates about whether or not Smith should be allowed to keep his job; those debates are not without merit, though as of this writing Smith has announced (well-timed!) plans to leave the network and head over to more irreverent pastures at SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio.
That the same hand of mercy covers Smith and Ray Rice in equal measure.
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President Barack Obama speaks in front of the Interstate 495 bridge over the Christina River near Wilmington, Del. Photo | Patrick Semansky, AP
Philadelphia and the entire tri-state area is so dyed-in-the-wool Democrat blue that it is difficult sometimes to have a conversation about national politics, especially about President Obama. It is fascinating to watch the conflict in thought as the topics of the Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Israel, the border children, immigration or the Affordable Health Care Act come up. On topic after topic, the blue-as-Smurfs party loyalists will complain, but somehow the President gets a pass.
Not so much in the rest of the country.
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The author at Boardwalk Pizza.
In 2009, a friend and I were driving from Key West to Fort Lauderdale. The night before had been a long one (is there any other kind of night in Key West? Especially on your last night of vacation?) so we were looking for a greasy lunch.
“STOP!” I cried when I saw a green and yellow circular sign on the side of the road. “We’re eating here.”
That place was Jersey Boardwalk Pizza, which is now being sued by the state of N.J. [read the full suit]. because of their logo has the same shape and color scheme as the Garden State Parkway emblem.
This is ridiculous. How ridiculous? As ridiculous as saying Flying Fish promotes drunk driving with their Exit Beer series. As ridiculous as AAA not being able to service cars on the New Jersey Turnpike, Atlantic City Expressway or Garden State Parkway. As ridiculous as only having six bathrooms for women in what replaced the Oceanview Service Area rest stop.
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As the conflict in Gaza intensifies, on Wednesday afternoon around 1,500 protesters gathered at LOVE Park to show support for their side.
On one side of the block pro-Israel protesters chanted and demonstrated, while on the other side of the street pro-Palestine activists gathered to counter-protest. The demonstrations were mostly civil, though at one point there was a fight in which a pro-Palestine activist was briefly detained, but not charged.
More photos from the protests after the jump »
Just ahead of the end of the FCC’s comment period on net neutrality on Friday, Comcast executive VP David L. Cohen and AT&T chief strategy officer John Stankey are scheduled to appear before the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee this afternoon to talk up their companies’ respective $45.2 billion (Time Warner Cable) and $48.5 billion (DirecTV) merger offers.
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