The road to hell is paved with incomplete bits of information… This Talking Points Memo piece was curated from a much longer, more comprehensive Guardian, US piece published earlier in the day.
We know who committed this killing. We know it was live, on TV. We also know that the assailant was a former employee who was fired after having workplace disputes as well as workplace grievances.
We know Vester Flanagan was a Black man.
We know that a common racial stereotype is to portray Black men as using abusive language or tone, and displaying threatening body language.
We know that police shoot Black men based on what they claim is a perceived threat from Black bodies. We’ve known all this for centuries. And yet we perpetuate it all the while we decry only parts of it. Why?
Why couldn’t Talking Points Memo’s reporter take another half hour to craft her own narrative, rather than just cherry-pick a few sentences that, coincidentally, happen to fit a stereotype that is killing Black men at the rate of 1200 or more by the end of this year. What was the point of this piece?
While murder is never an act that can be condoned, we do try to understand the confluence of circumstances that push murderers over the edge. Why was no indication given in this curated piece that there was another set of grievances to go along with accusations of improper behavior?
Why, at this very turbulent time in American racial and social justice, does a publication that is aligned with the Left not invest just a tad of editorial judiciousness before hitting the “publish” button?
While the Guardian piece could have used a bit more background information on racial subtext, it did contain some of Flanagan’s grievances and those provide some counter to the say-so of a group of white co-workers that this Black man was aggressive and threatening.
Have you ever worked with mercurial people? Have you ever had a difficult and abusive boss? Have you ever worked with someone, who because he isn’t from the same background as you, seems strange? Are you afraid of things you don’t know?
Is there no one at TPM who might have recognized this stereotyping and realized that this is precisely the kind of thing that perpetuates certain fears? It might have been nice to have someone apply the brakes on this one out of deference to those who live in today’s oppressive atmosphere.
Guardian: TV Gunman Was Ordered To Get Medical Help Or Lose Job After Complaints | TPM
In a station memo addressed to Bryce Williams – Flanagan’s on-air name – then-WDBJ news director Dan Dennison reprimanded Flanagan for using “harsh language” and “aggressive body language.” He also ordered Flanagan to follow through with the “mandatory referral” or lose his job.