The storming of the Capitol by radical Trump supporters 一 or, more accurately, domestic terrorists 一 seemed like something from a nightmare. With every shattering of a window, it felt as if more holes were being poked into the fabric of our democracy. And yet, this complete disaster revealed the obvious differences in police treatment towards Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters, who fought for a noble cause, and white supremacists who were trying to delegitimize the election because they were sore that their leader lost. Furthermore, this horrific event showed the public that racism in America continues to be alive and well, and the media has a responsibility to shed light on the glaringly obvious injustice and complacency exhibited by law enforcement when they repeatedly enable the behavior of white supremacists but senselessly arrest and murder BLM protestors.
First and foremost, the media needs to do a better job at painting the rioters as villains. Oftentimes during the BLM protests, the media did not shed enough light on how brutal police were to protesters and instead focused more on the looting of stores by people who do not represent the movement. Now after the storming of the Capitol, it should be made abundantly clear that major news networks have a responsibility to report accurately on the different consequences for Black protesters versus white rioters. The media needs to push onto the public the images of BLM protesters getting violently pushed back by law enforcement versus white rioters taking selfies with police officers on the job. Furthermore, it needs to be known that the BLM protests were being done for a specific and righteous cause, while the Capitol riots were being done to incite fear and violence. It is the duty of the media to broadcast the striking differences so that these domestic terrorists are rightfully held accountable and brought to justice.
Law enforcement failed to do their jobs and did not try hard enough to quell the riots. In some instances, rioters were even let into the building by Capitol Police. Contrasting this to how the military was deployed onto the peaceful protests over the summer should make any rational individual outraged. BLM protesters were violently shot with rubber bullets, tear-gassed and brutally arrested by the dozens. With that being said, the media has the responsibility to force the public to acknowledge that had the Capitol rioters been people of color, there would have been many more casualties and arrests. It is not right that major news networks get to sugar coat what they cover. Just as other social media platforms have been working hard to condemn this act of insurrection, mainstream news networks need to get on that same level and bring these white supremacists to shame.
White supremacists and Trump supporters will not retreat into the shadows now that Joe Biden is president. While many people may think that everything is magically better now that Biden is president, this notion cannot be further from reality. If the media starts lagging and fails to cover how white supremacy still exists in communities across America, then the fight against racism will be a lost one. Therefore, the media should continue to highlight the harmful, racist actions that these right-leaning radicals inflict onto the country. Major news networks are always quick to heavily cover violent acts if it is done by a person of color and will even go as far as to negatively portray a whole race of people based on the action of one individual. This same energy must be used toward the white nationalists who deserve to be condemned. After all, it is the duty of the media to let the American people know who the real enemy is.
The storming of the Capitol has shown the country that there is still a lot that needs to be done. Investigating the Capitol Police, reforming the police and defunding them all together are necessary steps, but this might not happen any time soon. While Black activists and allies should continue to push for justice, there needs to be more done in the media with shaming these domestic terrorists and putting them under severe public scrutiny. No one should get away with domestic terrorism, and the fact that these people are is disgusting.
Unfortunately, the dismantling of systemic racism does not occur overnight. But the media has the responsibility to highlight these injustices and to encourage the American people to speak out against what has been happening in this country. This is the only way to stir the public and make more people angry enough to condemn white supremacists and their racist leaders.