An open letter to CNN
To Whom It May Concern:
You had one job to do. It was to report the news. Who, what, when, where, why, and how. And, if necessary, in this one certain case, to help citizens participate in closing a terrible tragedy. A Cleveland, OH man went on Facebook Live, and took the life of another man, a 74-year old grandpa. (Updates indicate the shooter filmed the act, then uploaded it to FB.) The shooter did not know the man. It was truly a random, senseless act of violence.
You reported these particulars, then you really screwed the pooch. When you delivered your BOLO alert – BOLO standing for “Be On the Look Out”, the operative word being “lookout”, with this compound word containing the word “look”, which demands a visual capability and an ability to process imagery – what did you show us? You gave us the man’s car year, make, model, and color; his license plate number, and…wait for it…a generic avatar where his picture should have been.
You didn’t give a picture of the black man, who senselessly shot another black man and posted it on Facebook. Obviously, the murderer didn’t care if you knew he was black. And with his bragging that he also shot over a dozen other people – whether this was bravado or truth – it would be important for people to identify this man if they saw him.
Instead, you gave us a generic avatar, the kind of graphic you would see on comment boards and blogs, such as Disqus or WordPress. You thought it was more important to protect this man’s race than to help people identify him. But, you definitely provided all the information about the man’s car. Because that is the best identifier of him, right? He would never, ever think of leaving the car. He would never walk into a BP or Marathon station for a cup of coffee and a bag of chips. He would never consider abandoning this car and stealing another one, or using public transportation. In his state, he would never be seen meandering along a city street. But, alas, you identified him not as a man, but as a year, a make, a model, and license number, and an automobile color. That doesn’t sound like we are looking for a human, with traits such as skin color, eye color, hair color and style, facial hair, size, weight, or age.
In essence, you gave us nothing. Nothing at all.
Local news stations, news aggregators, and Twitter – yes, even Twitter – added more value than you did. If you didn’t see it on Facebook – as disgusting as it was – or didn’t look at social media at all on Easter Sunday, then you probably did not know what this man looked like. And instead of providing newsworthy information you provided, what? Fake news? No, it was not fake.
What did you provide? Worthless news. Making it, “news”. It was a disgrace.
And you wonder why your credibility is lacking. I think I have an avatar to explain it.
p.s. I also really liked when you tried to make him white. That’s fake news.
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