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Judging the News

U.S. Journalism is a Hellscape Right Now

Welcome to Judging the News, where DAME's senior editor, Monique Judge, will dissect the headlines, call out the b.s. and point you in the direction of truth.

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Today’s media landscape can be tricky to navigate. 

The signal-to-noise ratio is disproportionate. There are outlets that are so caught up in trying to let you hear “both sides” that they often give a platform to writers and ideas that are dangerous to marginalized people in this country. There is a reporter right now at the New York Times who basically acted as a stenographer for all of Donald Trump’s bullshit during his presidency. 

I’m not saying that journalism as a whole is completely fucked up, but it is trending in that direction. And this is scary because journalists are supposed to be the watchdogs of society. We have an obligation to be truthful and tell the people what is happening. That doesn’t always happen these days. 

So what do you do? How do you figure out what to listen to or read and who to trust? 

That is where I come in. 

Welcome to Judging the News, a new column I will be helming for Dame in which I deconstruct false narratives, add nuance to trending topics that have none at all, and call out bias. 

Listen. I’m not trying to position myself as an expert on all things, but I definitely know bullshit when I see it, and I feel an obligation to make people aware of it. 

It goes much further than that though. 

Because our social feeds keep scrolling 24 hours a day even when we aren’t paying attention to them, there tends to be a lot of “news” to sift through. What if there were a way to curate the good stuff and highlight important things you should see and read that may not be getting the amount of attention they deserve? 

Allow me to be your tour guide, starting with this week’s most urgent (and infuriating) topics.

19 Children were killed yesterday in a horrific incidence of gun violence

Just ten days after the deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, NY which killed ten innocent Black people, 19 innocent children were shot and killed at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas

The gunman, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, reportedly bought two military-style rifles on his 18th birthday. He allegedly attempted to kill his grandmother with the guns before heading to the elementary school. 

Ramos is said to have crashed his car outside of the school and exchanged gunfire with two local police officers who were both shot by Ramos. Ramos himself was wearing body armor and was not injured in the gunfight. 

Once inside the school, Ramos committed his deadly act before being shot himself by a Border Patrol agent who was working nearby. 

Meanwhile, parents with children who attend the school are being swabbed for DNA to help identify some of the slain children. 

It is a horrific tragedy, and one that could easily be prevented if this country would enact stronger gun control laws. 

Ernest “Tony” Gonzales, the U.S. Congressman representing the Texas 23rd district where Uvalde is located had the nerve to get on television and tear up about the children who were killed. He is the same man who voted against two gun control measures last year and proudly tweeted about it.  

It’s always thoughts and prayers from the “pro-life” crowd when children are slaughtered by murderers with guns. 

Women in this country are under attack

Speaking “pro-life,” by now, you have hopefully heard about the attack on women’s bodies coming in the form of the U.S. Supreme Court (potentially but most likely actually) overturning Roe v. Wade, the landmark court case that made abortion legal in this country. If you haven’t, here is some light reading to help you get caught up

In the wake of that, politicians across this country are showing their true colors; they won’t be satisfied until their puritanical ways turn this nation into a real-life Gilead—which is scary to consider, and not at all a far-fetched idea. 

And it’s not just stopping at criminalizing abortion. 

Have you heard of Jacky Eubanks? I hadn’t either until I came across an article about her on HuffPost

It appears Eubanks, who is or was Donald Trump’s pick for a seat in the Michigan state Senate (sorry, once I saw his name, I couldn’t be bothered to learn more about her because his endorsement tells me everything I need to know), wants to outlaw birth control

Aunt Lydia Eubanks is of the belief that sex should only be between a man and a woman who are married. 

(Remember when I said they were puritanical?)

Here is a direct quote from her from an interview with the Christian Militant (lol what?!) website, which I will not link to, but feel free to Google it and find it on your own if you want. They get no clicks here. Anyway, the quote:

“I guess we have to ask ourselves, would that ever come to a vote in the Michigan state legislature? And if it should, I would have to side with it should not be legal,” she said. 

She added, “People believe that birth control — it’s better, like you said, oh, because then you won’t get pregnant and you won’t need to have abortions. But I think it gives people the false sense of security that they can have consequence-free sex, and that’s not true and that’s not correct. Sex ought to be between one man and one woman in the confines of marriage.”

Girl, what? 

Imagine the country facing the prospect of abortion being illegal and you taking the stance that women shouldn’t have access to birth control either. 

These people are crazy. 

These people also hate Black women

Speaking of crazy, have you heard of Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana? He recently said the quiet part out loud in an interview with Politico where he basically said Black women don’t count. 

Cassidy was being asked about his state’s maternal mortality rates, which are among the highest in the country right now. Louisiana is ranked 47th out of 48 states in terms of maternal mortality (that’s bad). In those numbers, Black women in particular are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related issues than white women. Black babies are 2.5 times more likely to die than white babies. 

So in my mind, Louisiana should care very much about taking better care of pregnant people. But when asked about this, Cassidy had this to say:

“About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear. Now, I say that not to minimize the issue but to focus the issue as to where it would be. For whatever reason, people of color have a higher incidence of maternal mortality.”

Yes, this man just said if you leave out all the Black women and babies who are dying, the numbers don’t look that bad after all. These words. OUT LOUD! “Correct our population for race.” “For whatever reason.” As one of my DAME colleagues said, Commander Small Brain is “saying the quiet part out loud with a bullhorn.”

It is also worth noting that Cassidy is one of the sponsors on a bill that seeks to defund Planned Parenthood, because of course he is. Oh, and did I mention that he is also a medical doctor? (Take a moment to scream into a jar or a pillow, I will wait.)

I have expressed my thoughts on this elsewhere, but let’s be clear: “For whatever reason” is a really lame way to step over the fact that implicit bias in medicine has negative impacts for Black people every single day. 

These are the types of ugly American truths that get swept under the rug, dismissed as circumstance or blatantly denied. Speaking of which…

Why isn’t the Buffalo terrorist attack still making headlines?

Do you realize Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars was in the news for weeks, but 10 Black people being killed in a grocery store simply because they were Black was in the news cycle for maybe one or two days? Why is that? 

And where are all the celebrities who were so vocal about how horrified and “traumatized” they were by the slap? Are they just as horrified and traumatized over this? We’re looking at you, Judd Apataow, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and anyone else who was flapping their gums about a slap that didn’t even make Chris Rock lose his stance. Y’all are annoying. 

Speaking of the Buffalo killer, have you noticed how he is referred to as a teen in the news while Mike Brown, who was the same age when he was killed, was called “a man” throughout the coverage of his killing by a cop? 

Again, these are things you should pay attention to when consuming the news. 

Lastly, a senior reporter from NBC News wrote a thread where he said the Buffalo terrorist attack (I’m going to keep calling it what it is) happened because the shooter had a toothache

I’m not making this up. 

The same reporter then managed to ignore all the Black people calling him out for his bullshit, but managed to apologize to some of the white people who were offended by it. 

I’m tired, and y’all should be too. 

Anyway, instead of reading Ben’s bullshit thread, read this one instead:

Until next week, keep your eyes and ears open, increase your media literacy, and judge the news very harshly.

There is a lot of horse dookie out there. 

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