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CNN Does Not Care About Black People

CNN Does Not Care About Black People

For the longest time, I turned to Anderson Cooper as a compassionate, caring voice in media. But, last night, with the segments on Walter Scott, I was done with CNN.

Last night, the video of Walter Scott’s murder was broadcast, internationally. His cold blooded murder was on a loop, shown over and over and over again. Now, mind you, CNN is shown in airports, at restaurants, in venues all over the world, uninterrupted. Venues where children are; venues where teenagers are; venues where adults are. Where people can look up at a screen, over dinner and see a Black man being murdered, repeatedly. No filter. No warning. No regard for Walter Scott’s life or death. Absolutely NO regard for his humanity.

I have written about this before. Dead Black and Brown bodies are put on full display, but White bodies have a filter over them, or are, in some way, shrouded. Mike Brown’s body on television, repeatedly, lay on that ground for longer than four hours. It was there for weeks as the media kept it there for ratings.

At this stage, it is safe to say that CNN does not give two f***s about Black life or death. Even MSNBC only showed still photographs of the shooting within the first hour of reporting it.

And not just this; Anderson Cooper, almost immediately, started talking about Walter Scott’s non-payment of child support. Trying to present the other side? He attempted to couch it as, he really didn’t have anything in his past that warranted an altercation, but this is what was in his record. WALTER SCOTT WAS RUNNING AWAY. I don’t care if the man robbed five banks and had the money on him. THE POLICE OFFICER KILLED A FATHER who will no longer see THOSE children. Which crime is worse? Yeah, the fact is, another human being shot a man in cold blood, with bald confidence, planted evidence near his body, and then lied about it.

Why doesn’t CNN talk about that, directly? Why must we put the victim on trial (yes, like in rape cases)? Do not say, because police officers should be given the benefit of the doubt. Certainly, at this point, we understand that there is a very clear narrative being told. White officers are killing Black citizens with a consistent and reckless disregard. I am not going to rattle off names. And as you run your narrative of, “must be something in his past,” think about this: it is quite conceivable that Walter Scott was running for his life. It is quite possible that the officer told him that he was going to kill him. There is a reason that man ran, and I don’t think it was because he wasn’t paying child support. Perhaps he was scared for his life. To kill a person in broad daylight, without any concern for being caught or fear of reprisal, these murderers understand that they have a license to kill and they are using it.

CNN needs to talk about that. 

STOP. I repeat, STOP trying to explain away this senseless murder epidemic that is underway in America. 

STOP parading Black talking heads who try to color within the lines; voices who sit and say, on repeat: “this keeps happening.” 

STOP telling us what we already know. Do your job as GODDAMNED journalists and get to the heart of these killings. Why are they happening? Tell me about the cop. What is his background? What did he watch? Interview his neighbors? What were his beliefs? EXPLAIN HIS PATHOLOGY! Not like you explained away the sociopath pilot who took 147 lives. Explain the pathology of the White, male murderer. Within that, maybe we can begin to understand the seeds of racism and begin to unravel this epidemic of terror.

I don’t want to see one more dissection of the video, freeze-framing it to see what is happening. Don’t question what I can see with my own eyes. CNN questions to complicate the narrative. The questioning tries to place the victim on equal footing with the murderer. You imply that the two were engaged in a “situation”. They were not. This officer was arrested and is being charged with homicide. Typically, there are no grey areas with these cases. CNN creates a grey area for ratings. It helps them if the audience believes that there is something to wrestle with. There isn’t!

STOP the nonsense. STOP using Black bodies for ratings. Your staff needs to summon their humanity and find a way to report about these murders, with empathy for the victim. Just like you found empathy for the victims in the plane crash. Just as you found empathy for the children at Sandy Hook. A 50 year old Black man deserves the same amount of humanity and dignity in his death. Put a filter over him as he runs away, or, at the very least, when he’s lying on the ground. Use still photographs like MSNBC did. 

STOP using Black death for ratings.

And, allow the Black folks on your station to say what they really think. Let them discuss the racism and pathology that is alive in American culture. CEASE with the town halls on race. HAVE A F***ING TOWN HALL ON RACISM. Even CNN must see that America needs one. We don’t need to make Black people uncomfortable anymore. It is time that White America is made uncomfortable – whether they like it or not.

Understand CNN, you are writing the narrative as it continues. As you display the image of a Black man being murdered, on repeat, you are fashioning it in the minds and hearts of Americans. You are demonstrating that the murder of Black people is both natural and complicated toward justification. You are selling this narrative. You are not doing anything to challenge it. With all of this, it is quite clear to me that you DO NOT CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE. It is blatantly obvious that you enjoy profiting from our death.

Follow Tanya Steele on Twitter at @digtanya. Or on facebook at Or visit

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