The problem of the media megaphone and our perceptions

The problem of the media megaphone and our perceptions, by John Hinderaker.

On Wednesday, the New York Times published a long article about the murder of Emmett Till. This tweet sums it up:

What made the Till story timely this week? Could there be a connection between the Jussie Smollett fiasco and the Times’s interest in the 64-year-old Till case? Steve Sailer actually predicted the Times story on Till a week ago …

A brilliant observation by Steve Sailer last August:

There is always vastly more news than a person can remember. Thus your picture of reality is inevitably distorted to some extent by the power of the media, what I call the Megaphone, to pound over and over into your head certain true news, but not other true news. …

Example: Two black teens in the news:

In 1955, Emmett Till was murdered by two white men who were quickly acquitted, making his story memorable for being one of the last examples from a long era of state-excused white-on-black civilian violence over black males hitting on white females.

In 1987, Tawana Brawley launched our present era of making up hate hoaxes against whites by claiming that the reason she got home late was because she was being gang-raped by six white policemen.

Which incident is more rationally relevant to 2018? But which does the prestige media consider more au courant?

These statistics are damning:

In 1980, the name “Emmett Till” did not appear in the pages of the NYT. In 1990 it showed up twice, and in 2000 four times.

From 2004 through 2012, the Times mentioned this old incident an average of nine times per year, and from 2013 to 2016 almost two dozen times per year.

Last year, “Emmett Till” appeared in 72 different Times articles. And this year is on track for 92 stories about the 63-year-old tragedy.

[I]n the 2010s, Tawana Brawley has come up in only 15 articles versus 249 mentioning Emmett Till.

Back to Hinderaker:

Tawana Brawley, on the other hand, has gone down the memory hole–to the point where Al Sharpton [who promoted the Brawley hoax] was quoted seriously in the “prestige” media to the effect that Smollett should be punished if he fabricated the MAGA assault!

Al Sharpton

So, why does the New York Times believe that the Till case has somehow gained ever more relevance, more than a half century after it occurred? Because large numbers of similar cases are taking place? Of course not. Rather, the opposite. Given the lack of racist outrages in contemporary America, the Times has to keep going back to the historical well to fire up its constituency.

Some have put this in economic terms: The Jussie Smollett case is what happens when the demand for racism is greater than the supply.

The problem is the media megaphone. Without it, leftism would be almost comatose instead of apparently triumphant.