The article published by the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board entitled “What’s going on in northeast Tallahassee”, is “race-baiting.”
Also, in his new book, “Race-Baiter”, media critic Eric Deggans – who recently in spoke in Tallahassee- says “modern media outlets trade in bigotry and bias to build audience and sell advertising.”
In “What’s going on in northeast Tallahassee”, the Tallahassee Democrat editorial board took the video of racist statements made by a high school student to build a case against the northeast section of Tallahassee.
From the editorial:
“Between Confederate flags at Chiles and reports of anti-Semitism at nearby Deerlake Middle School over recent months, why does this northeast corner of town appear to be home to incidents of racist behavior?”
Is it unfair to single out the northeast by asking: “why does this northeast corner of town appear to be home to incidents of racist behavior?”
Let’s look at the facts.
First, officials at Leon County Schools, after an investigation, said the incident at Deerlake Middle School never happened.
Second, the Confederate flag incident referred to in the the article involved high school students at Chiles and was dealt with by the principal when it occurred.
So, is this enough evidence to make such a generalization and brand a large section of Tallahassee?
The question of fairness must also consider the fact that the Tallahassee Democrat failed to publish a timely story or an editorial on the beating of a white security guard by three black individuals that was caught on video this year.
It is clear to me that the implication by the Tallahassee Democrat that northeast Tallahassee has a racism problem overstates the claim and is a lazy way to generate clicks and ultimately promotes division in our community.
But the actions by the Gannett owned paper is not surprising.
Deggans, on the media, states that we’re in an “environment where you succeed by targeting the biggest niche of viewers or the biggest niche of media consumers.”
Is the Tallahassee Democrat targeting the biggest niche in Tallahassee (Democrats and liberals) by using unfair racial statements as a business model?
Deggans also said the media is using the “same tactics once employed to mobilize political parties, they send fans coded messages and demonize opposing groups as their audience share soars and website traffic ticks up.”
Ironically, in an attempt to mobilize support for his gubernatorial campaign, Mayor Andrew Gillum – at a campaign event- said that there “isn’t a day that doesn’t go by in my city where I’m not driving behind a truck on my way to work that has a big old Confederate flag.”
The obviously exaggerated statement was quickly rebuffed by local PR executive Ron Sachs who labeled the comments as a cheap shot designed to generate statewide headlines.
And now the Tallahassee Democrat is mobilizing.
Journalism should not be about generating clicks on the emotion fueled by race-baiting. The Tallahassee Democrat is following a business model that divides our community.