The nice guy in the mirror

I’ve written about how shocked I am about news stories that refer to “nice guys” that “snap” (quite inexplicably!) and kill their wife or girlfriend and sometimes their children.  Well, here is another like-minded writer that puts her thoughts about media bias down on paper, er, the keyboard, and gets slammed by a bunch of white guys (read the comment section): Why Are We Surprised When White Preppy Guys Turn Out to be Serial Killers? 

The New York Daily Newsdescribed Markoff as “clean cut” and “a high-achieving dentist’s son.” The Boston Globealso described the shaggy-haired Markoff as “clean cut” — as did countless other media outlets. Politico.comcalled Markoff “all-American,” while the Associated Press and dozens of others called him “handsome”; PR Insider said, simply, that “by all appearances, he had it all.”

“By all appearances” – superficially, maybe, but reality tells another story:

After all, given the available information, Markoff could have been painted as weird, anti-social, woman-hater, irresponsible, deeply in debt, broke and in the midst of eviction from his apartment. He could have been presented as a stone-faced, emotionless creep who scared classmates by forcing kisses on them and had a long history of strange behavior.

Well, that would be dependent on your own perspective (how often have you heard men talk about other men being “woman-haters” or misogynist?) and who you interview (neighbors, class mates or those who are actually close to the person).

I’ll say it again, in plain language: In the mythology of white male editors, guys like Markoff don’t kill. They golf. With newspaper editors. Most of whom look like Markoff.

Yeah. I’ve yet to read about a Black male who commits violence described in the media as “charming,” or “clean cut.” Editors are not as kind with Black criminals as they are with White criminals and it comes down to their bias, which is then spread like an epidemic to readers.

The media has long been in the business of selling perception over truth, especially when it comes to issues of race, socioeconomic class and sex. If you wish to know the myths and prejudices of a time, read its newspapers. If you wish for the truths, read its poetry.

Well said.