Today’s piece is less of an analysis and more of a good, old-fashioned rant. I simply have nothing profound to add to the discussion surrounding the McKinney, TX incident; the video above more than speaks for itself. But I feel it necessary to share a few thoughts on fairness and balance - two concepts Fox News claims to pursue in its news coverage, though we all know they're about as balanced as a peg-legged pirate standing on a seesaw!
As I wrote my perspective on the Duggar Family scandal, I did my best to implement my analysis through the lens of fairness and truth. In the end, my views on the matter fell counter to popular opinion. From a Christian perspective, I took the stance that we should not gloat in the Duggar’s shame, and I believe it is incumbent upon those of us who claim to be Believers in Christ to not cast stones at Josh for past sins, especially those committed in his youth. I continue to stand by that perspective.
But as I wrote that piece, there was yet another perspective nagging me in the back of my mind: Me as an African American. I prayerfully decided not to include that point of view in the original piece because, frankly, it was not relevant. If I attempted to speak from that vantage point, it would have not only clouded my objectivity, I would have been forcing it upon the issue just to prove a point - God wasn't going to let me corrupt the Truth with my personal opinion.
Nevertheless, as I watched how Fox News’ Megyn Kelly handled the Duggar coverage, I wondered if she might be as gentle and compassionate if the family, specifically Josh, had been Black. I hate that I even had to think that way. It’s sad that I even had to consider it. But I did wonder – and if I’m honest, based on previous experiences with that network, I decided in my heart that Megyn would not have been.
The Duggar coverage was laced with terms like, ‘child’, ‘juvenile’ ‘mistake’, ‘forgiveness’ and, my favorite, ‘over the clothes’. Each time I heard them, my spirit groaned, because I knew similar dispensation would not have been afforded to anyone who looked like me.
Sadly, I was right! (BTW: I'm right pretty often, but it doesn't always feel good!)
Not even a week later, we've moved on to the 'McKinney Melee', as I'd like to call it. (Mind you, 'Melee' is used here only to evoke the image of confusion...the only person running amuck, it seems, was Officer Eric Casebolt - or, as one Twitter user humorously referred to him, 'Paul Blart' - who acted as if he'd chugged a case of Red Bulls before arriving to the scene. Turn down for what!?!) Even though Josh Duggar's and the bikini-clad Dajerria Becton's 'offenses' are worlds apart - one, at worst committed a felony; the other, at worst, was being unruly, the Fox News coverage played out just as I'd suspected. Somehow, yet another case involving Black youth was covered in a way that made the child an adult, and it was implied she brought the officer’s excessive actions upon herself.
“I’m sure he didn’t know she was 14,” said Megyn Kelly during Monday night’s edition of The Kelly File. “She looked like a young woman,” she added. “She was no saint, either,” Kelly actually fixed her mouth utter! She attempts to save herself with the age old, 'BUT, I don't condone his actions' type of rhetoric. But the damage was already done. Her seeds were already planted.
After witnessing Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and other Black youth become grossly mischaracterized by 'conservative news media' (with no opportunity to defend themselves), I am not at all surprised by Kelly’s sly attempt to paint an alternate narrative around this young woman as well. (By the way: When did it become okay for 'news' to be either 'conservative' or 'liberal'? Aren't they all supposed to be 'journalists?'!)
Even if the teens were mouthing off and “lingering”, that’s not why this matter made headlines. A teenager being a teenager is NOT news! The officer in this case is not only an adult, he was supposed to be an officer of the law trained to serve and protect, not sling and drag...curse and berate...or draw a loaded weapon on teens 'armed' with nothing more than beach towels! There was absolutely no justification for his actions. Period. I assume he understands that now, considering his recent resignation.
I so often wish we all (especially Megyn, Fox News and their friends) would learn to do a better job at sticking to the point of a story, avoiding distractions and fighting the temptation to defend only those with whom we identify. I get it: When your side is under attack, you find every opportunity to assuage any hit that paints your side in a bad light. But where is the pursuit of truth and justice in that? What a world we would be if we had the ability to judge a matter justly and 'call a spade a spade' no matter which deck of cards it came from. (I tend to be an idealist that way.)
At the end of the day, I stand by the truth I pursued in the Duggar matter. The pool party video does not negate Josh Duggar was rightfully referred to as a “child”. It is, however, a brutal reminder that Black youth are not afforded the same level of grace - and there's nothing fair or balanced about that!