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Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Discussion pertaining to Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, and Michiana
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Reese K Rickards
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Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Reese K Rickards » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:30 pm

Admittedly I am in Florida, but I have been following shooting/murder news in Grand Rapids for several weeks. At the end of June, David Gunn a black man, was shot and killed at his home on Muskegon near Crosby. The three GR TV stations and MLIVE covered that shooting and his subsequent ID, More than two weeks later, there has been zero followup. On July 8th two black men were found dead, shot to death in a car at Bemis and Eastern. Again the "Big Four" ran a few lines about it that day and then the story went away.

If these three murders had taken place in Rockford, I'll bet the TV Live trucks would still be out there.

So I ask again, do black lives really matter in Grand Rapids?


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Howard Jones
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Howard Jones » Mon Jul 13, 2020 3:48 pm

Not quite sure what your point is here.

Is it:

a) the media should be covering these incidents more, even if there is no updated news to report

"From the Grand Rapids news desk, there has been no progress on recent alleged murders in the city. Let's go out to the field for a report with no new content because black lives matter"

b) the media should be solving these crimes

"Because black lives matter, we here at 3/8/13/17 are working on solving these crimes with our media-trained reporters that have no background in policing and criminal justice"

c) the media should be organizing more protests and be encouraging more rioting in downtown to prove that black lives matter

d) The Grand Rapids police doesn't care about black lives because they don't reveal every step of their investigations to the media while they are underway

e) the media has the ultimate responsibility to ensure that black lives matter by leaving their TV trucks at all crime scenes involving black people until they are solved

Please help me understand what I'm supposed to be outraged about.


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Reese K Rickards
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Reese K Rickards » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:18 pm

I don't mean to suggest you be ever be outraged over anything. I think a great many people are not happy unless they are outraged over something. I think the media overuses that word.

The only story recently that produced anything like outrage on my part was the murder of an 18 year old Amish girl in PA.

What I am suggesting is if three white people had been murdered in Rockford the media would be hounding police for daily updates.

To respond to the points in your post, A) If white people had been murdered I believe the media would be all over the story. If there was any hint the killer was black, there would be a media frenzy.
B)It is not the medias role to solve crimes... but they do try.
c)The media has no role in organizing any kind of protest.
D)As I have written before, I know a woman who dated a Grand Rapids cop. She tells first hand stories of grave racial injustices.
E) is just silly nonsense.

I am not making a point. I am asking a question. Do black lives really matter in Grand Rapids... at least to the media.?


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Howard Jones
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Howard Jones » Mon Jul 13, 2020 5:34 pm

Fair enough.

A return question - why in the world would you ever think it's the responsibility of the media to take on a role beyond accurately reporting the news?

Are reporters and editors and news directors trained to take on roles that shape public policy?

Your post appears to state that, in your opinion with nothing to back it up other than hyperbole, that the media currently treats the stories it covers differently based on the race of the victim. So what you are really saying is that the media in GR is blatantly racist and you've decided to use #BLM as cover. Got it.


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Reese K Rickards
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Reese K Rickards » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:38 pm

Mr. Jones, I do not need cover for a single thing.

I will not suggest or infer anyone or any organization is racist.

I merely ask the question, and offer it up for a thoughtful conversation

A crucial role in reporting is story followup,

Editors in some newsrooms do try to shape policy. They do editorialize. I forbade the practice among reporters who worked for me.

I will admit to working at a fairly well rated News-talk in Milwaukee 30 plus years ago where the news director decided we would not report black murders on that cities highly segregated north side. That person's reasoning? No one in our audience cared about black on black crime. I left that job after less than a year as did colleagues. One who now holds a radio network position.

Again I ask, do black lives matter to the media in Grand Rapids?


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Howard Jones
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Howard Jones » Mon Jul 13, 2020 6:49 pm

Let me try again. I am not doing well today on my ability to post coherent thoughts.


When did it become the media's role to decide if black lives matter (or not)?

How would the way a media organization covers the news have an impact, positive or negative, on murders in Grand Rapids?

How many black lives would the media save if they reported differently?


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option1
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by option1 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 12:22 am

U two need to exchange phone numbers.

OP asks the trending question of the past few months. Do BLM in GR.

And the simple answer is...Depends on who u ask. But I’m kinda reading your post wondering exactly where you are going with the question and the full statement. It sounds like your expectations and confidence of local media to report correctly and cover crimes, be they Black on Black, White on White, Black on White, White on Black is way too high. Crime is crime. And their job is to report news sandwiched in between wx and sports. Personally, I have no confidence in local media to even get a story partially right let alone 100%. So, do BLM in GR based on media coverage, who knows. And frankly, who cares. It’s the media. They set their own agenda. It’s about ratings in the end anyway.

The specifics of your question are much more important to investigate. Do BLM in GR in housing. Getting approved for a loan. Driving while Black. Getting employment. Getting into a bar or restaurant. Education. The court system. Are Blacks in GR getting a fair shot. An equal opportunity in all aspects. If your answer is yes then not only are you on crack but you are in denial. Systemic racism is real and has been for decades.

So do BLM in GR? It just depends on who ya’ ask. Homie.



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Reese K Rickards
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Reese K Rickards » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:12 am

That is the conversation I had hoped to spark.


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RedRamage
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by RedRamage » Tue Jul 14, 2020 11:52 am

Regarding your assertion that if three people were murdered in Rockford then....

I would tend to agree, but not because of skin color but rather because of "noteworthiness." It's the whole bit about reporting on the cat stuck in the tree, not the three dozen cats that aren't stuck in a tree. While murder isn't common in GR, it's also far from unheard of. My lazy research turned up 12 homicides in 2017 in GR. Rockford had zero in the same year. In fact, the total violent crimes reported in Rockford was one less than the just murders in GR. So I think you're comparison is faulty.

Instead I'd be interested in seeing how the news organizations deal with murder of a minority in GRs vs. murder of a majority in GRs. Is there a pattern of the media hounding the police/city for follow up information when a white person is killed in GR vs. when a black person is? And is the sample size big enough that we can rule out extenuating circumstances (such as notoriety of the victim, other news events surrounding the time period, etc.)? I think given the low murder rate in GR that would be very hard to determine.

I certainly don't want to give the media a pass on this as I think there's a lot wrong with news reporting these days. I find it really hard to watch national, but even local news, these days. Everything seems geared toward provoking strong emotional reaction rather than a presentation of facts. Though how much of that is the consumers fault (only interested in 'click-bait' headlines) and how much of that is on the news agencies is probably a debate for another day.



Random_Dude
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by Random_Dude » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:43 am

In regards to the original post, I do believe there is a disproportionate amount of coverage to media stories, based on the individuals involved, both as victims, and suspects. Why does it happen? I can't say for sure. I don't really think it is done with much "conscience effort", or malice (most of the time), but by some preconceived notions that are long standing in the sub-conscience of the American people. By that I mean just a paradigm that has embedded itself in society for many years, back to the time of the founding of the country, when slavery was thought of as "normal", when invading a land occupied by "savages", who had a a culture so vastly different than that of our European ancestors, taking it over was just "the right thing to do", that some people are just inherently more valuable or important than others, frequently for no real logical reason. Often times, that is based on nothing more than accumulated wealth, almost like achieving "power-ups" in a video game.

Back to the original thought about media coverage, below I will cite an instance that stands out to me, that happened locally here in West Michigan. Let me first say that I apologize in advance for not having as many details as I would like to have for this statement. I admit, part of my lack of details is due to the passing of time, and my aging memory, my brain could use a good defrag, much like an old Windows 95 hard drive. The other fact contributing to my lack of presentable details, I feel, is directly related to the subject at hand. I'm going to talk about two news stories, one I remember many details about (and likely so do you), the other, I remember very few details of (and likewise, you probably don't either).

Anyone who was in the West Michigan area in the years of the early 20-teens, will know the name Jessica Heeringa. Let me point out, since it's highly possible that there may be someone, on this board, who in some way may have known Miss Heeringa, none of what I say here is meant to disparage her. She was a young, attractive white lady, with blond hair and blue eyes, that was abducted from her job at a gas station in Muskegon. The media had copious saturation of this story in their news reporting. That coverage, in and of itself, was a good thing, get the word out and hopefully return the young lady to safety.

At the same time, either the same day, or same week, a black woman also went missing in the West Michigan area. I can't recall her name or details of her disappearance. Partly because, as I mentioned above, my aging brain, and also because the media didn't drill that story deep into my memory. I remember seeing long pieces on the Jessica Heeringa story, and then (paraphrasing) : "Also missing, is this black woman (they did actually use her name), if you know anything about either of these cases, contact the police. In other news tonight...". As I mentioned above about Miss Heeringa, there may also be someone on this board who knows the name of the woman I'm referring to, or more details about her disappearance. If you do, please share it here.

I found the amount of coverage for each to be very lopsided, and apparently so did some friends and family of the missing black woman. I can't remember which one, but either WXMI TV 17 or WOOD TV 8 (the only 2 stations I could receive on my antenna, at the time) did acknowledge, on the air, that they had received comments from the black woman's family, about how they felt the coverage of their missing loved one was not getting as much attention. To the TV station's credit, that night they did a nice 3 or 4 minute segment about the missing black woman. After that, her story just kinda faded off, but for many years to come, the Jessica Heeringa story would resurface and claim one of the top coverage spots.

I did want to present more information here about the missing black woman, but I couldn't find any. I spent a little over an hour going through the "Wayback Machine", archive.org , a site that saves random bits from other websites. I couldn't find anything. Needless to say, there were many stories of Jessica Heeringa to be found. The method I used was looking at news that occurred during the time Miss Herringa was originally abducted, for details on the other story.

That's just one example, but it does seem like it happens often.

I've had people ask me the rhetorical question, "Why is the news almost always bad?" The simple answer is, the news reports things that are out of the ordinary. If I live in the same house for 20 years, drive the same car for 20 years, and go to the same job for 20 years, no one notices. However, the day I leave that house, get in that car, and drive to that job, but, on the way there, I blow a steer tire on the freeway, lose control and smash into a bridge support, suddenly everybody knows who I am.

If someone goes missing, that should be news, especially to help find/rescue that person. The question is, is one person's disappearance more news worthy than another's? As related to TV, is it based on a perception of who is more "photogenic".

I've rambled enough here, but for anyone so intrigued by this subject in general, I will refer you to this article on Wikipedia, called "Missing White Woman Syndrome". It is a thing, not just in GR, but around the globe.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_w ... n_syndrome



RedRamage
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Re: Do black lives REALLY matter in West Michigan?

Post by RedRamage » Tue Aug 04, 2020 11:22 am

Was it Maxine Green?



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