Sunday, May 29, 2005


A suspect is assaulted by a police officer after a car chase in Philadelphia on April 28, 2005. A local TV news helicopter crew videotaped the incident. Normally this is the type of thing becomes a mainstream media frenzy. Normally this is the lead report on every network national and local telecast. Rodney King was. So were the incidents in Inglewood and Cincinnati. This also proved true nearly five years ago, when a similar incident occurred just before the Republican convention in Philadelphia. This time there is no saturation coverage in the national media.

Charles Baum, who is white and a resident of the Kensington section of Philadelphia, had been paroled last August. He served four months less than the four- to eight-year sentence he received after being convicted of burglary, theft, criminal mischief and conspiracy in December 2000. The video showed Officer Michael Collins, who is black, striking Baum eight times during the arrest - even after he had handcuffed his white charge. As is the standard procedure Collins was transferred to desk duty pending an investigation.

Police brutality stories are red meat to the mainstream media; this would seem to be perfect for them. If this were a white cop using excessive force to arrest a black suspect, it would be on television round-the-clock. That is always national news - especially if it is on videotape -and especially if the video is taken by the NBC network affiliate of a major city like Philadelphia. Yet the silence from the mainstream media has been deafening. Only the local Philadelphia media reported this in depth. The Washington Post gave the incident all of 177 words in their May 2 online edition. Why was there no ad nauseum reporting by the national news network broadcast or front page New York Times, L.A. Times articles? Why no righteous indignation and outrage by columnists and editorials? Because this incident did not involve a white cop and a black suspect. This time the cop was black and the suspect white - and that does not fit the template of the liberal mainstream media, just as the shootings of black suspects by black cops do not fit their "police brutality" mold.

A September 2, 2002, article, I wrote for Front Page magazine detailed the differences of reporting by the media regarding incidents where police shot a black person. One example I used was that of LaTanya Haggerty. Haggerty, who was a black woman, was shot and killed by Chicago Police Officer Serena Daniels, a black woman. The shooting took place after the police pursued a car in which Haggerty was a passenger. Daniels ordered Haggerty to stop talking on her cell phone and exit the vehicle. She was shot after refusing the command. Daniels said she saw Haggerty grab a silver object. Thinking it was a gun, the officer fired. A subsequent investigation could not locate a gun; instead, officers found a silver padlock. This incident occurred in 1999. Yet, it is doubtful that one-in-ten people ever heard of this incident. Contrast this to the Amadou Diallo shooting, which also occurred in 1999 and was a staple of the mainsteam media for months.

There were no cartoons about the Haggerty shooting, though there were countless cartoons about the Diallo case. The Diallo cartoons contained illustrations such as one which said, "NYPD weapons training: Sawed off hankie, 38mm house key, semi-automatic lipstick, 45 caliber wallet." The reason for this disparity is the fact that any journalists believe their purpose is not to communicate information about events to people but to right society's wrongs. The more righteous indignation they can provoke, the greater audience they can attract for their advertizers - which is their real purpose. It is an added benefit that they get to indulge their left-wing ideologies in the process. Naturally, this contrasts sharply with their self-portrayal as hard-working go-getters looking out for the public interest.

More here


Judging by a rally at the Ontario legislature Monday, the religious community is starting to get organized in its opposition to same-sex marriage. Even though the number may appear small — 3,000 turned up for the event — it may be just the beginning of a larger, national campaign that may turn heads in Ottawa. One merely has to look south to the U.S. presidential election that saw the religious right become a political force that helped elect a president who opposes same-sex marriage and abortion.

There seems to be a resurgence in the religious community and a willingness to work together on this debate. If Toronto’s rally is an indication, opposition forces will continue to grow. Canada, or least the perception exists, is a moderate country with citizens generally understanding the separation of church and state. But that doesn’t prevent people who are vehemently opposed to changing the definition of marriage to create a political lobby. With polls tight across the country and plenty of political ammunition being fired, this alliance could prove to be a force to be reckoned with during the next election. Rallies at political campaign stops will keep the debate at the forefront of the campaign trail, along with the sponsorship scandal.

Same-sex marriage legislation could prove to be a tough one to fight when ministers, pastors, priests, rabbis and other religious leaders give the message to members of their congregations across the country. The religious right has enjoyed major growth in the U.S. and is regularly courted by Republicans. It has become a powerful lobby that pretty much re-elected George W. Bush — and he knows it.

Monday’s rally may be the beginning of a similar movement in Canada — something Ottawa politicians will watch closely. Until now, there has been little organization among religious groups who oppose Bill C-38. Representatives from Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths spoke at the rally Monday.

The federal Liberals drafted the legislation after it was upheld as constitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada. Prime Minister Paul Martin supports the law and calls it a “human rights” issue. However, religious groups and others have challenged it as changing the definition of traditional marriage, and prefer legal unions for gays and lesbians instead. Martin, with a minority government teetering because of the sponsorship scandal, will have to defend the new law while at the same time distancing his government from the Gomery Inquiry in an election expected to be called for the fall. All major parties will watch closely to see if the rallies and the outcry continues to get louder and better organized.


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