"IF IT BLEEDS, it leads," says the old newsroom adage. That means, if the story is violent or bloody, give it top billing. Violence sells papers. But today's newsmen seem more interested in political correctness than in newsstand sales. When the perpetrators of violence are black, they look the other way.
I learned this lesson as a reporter at the New York Post. Four to six murders per day used to come in over the police wire. Most involved blacks or Hispanics killing each other over drugs or domestic squabbles. We were told not to waste time on them. But if a white person killed someone, we sprang into action.
At the time, I assumed that we focused on white violence simply because it was rare. But I am no longer so sure. The current barrage of "hate crime" coverage reveals a stark double standard. When blacks kill whites, race is left out of the story. But when whites kill blacks, race becomes the story. It is hard not to suspect a political agenda.
A glance at some recent news items reveals the pattern.
On May 31, 1999, Terrell Rahim Yarbrough and Nathan D. Herring allegedly kidnapped Brian Muha and Aaron Land, two white college students at Franciscan University in Ohio. According to the suspects' own statements, the students were beaten, robbed, forced to perform oral sex on each other, then shot with a .44 revolver.
Yarbrough and Herring go on trial next month for aggravated murder and "gross sexual imposition," among other things. Despite the sensational charges, the media have shown little interest.
The story bleeds, yet it doesn't lead.
Few news stories mention that the victims were white and the suspects black. Indeed, few news organizations have covered the story at all.
Remember the Central Park "wildings" last month? Many TV stations soft-pedaled the event by showing videos of black and Hispanic teenage girls smiling and giggling, as they fended off the attentions of rowdy boys.
These gave the impression that the wildings were little more than teenage horseplay that got out of hand.
But other videos told a different story. The worst of these were kept under wraps. According to a June 18 article in the New York Post, police viewed eight minutes of video footage that "so shocked hardened investigators, they fear showing it to the public."
One clip showed a mob of 50 hoodlums chasing and capturing two screaming women (whose race was typically not revealed in the article). The women cry, "Help! Help! Help!", as the mob envelopes them.
Ever seen that one on TV?
In another clip, police watched a "terrifying assault on a naked French woman, who cried on the ground and desperately tried to cover her private parts with her hands as her husband tried in vain to shield her from a groping mob of attackers." The couple were newlyweds on their honeymoon.
Police officials thought the video "may be too horrifying for the public to see," reported the Post.
At least 22 of the wilding victims were white, while all the suspects were black and Hispanic, according to early police reports. You will not find that information in most press accounts.
The media tell us that "hate crime" is out of control. And so it is. But most of its victims are white. Department of Justice statistics show that black-on-white attacks constitute 85 percent of all interracial violence.
The ancient Egyptians believed that there was power in words. By pronouncing a person's name, with appropriate spells and incantations, you could exercise magical power over him. Even a mortal could command a god, if he could trick that god into revealing his true or secret name.
One god was immune to such magic. He was Amun, the Hidden One, called "mysterious of form." No one could command him, for his true name was unknowable.
The inciters of black hate are like the god Amun. Their power lies not in their numbers, which are small, but in their mystery. Like Amun, they move unseen, their activities cloaked by a tight-lipped priesthood.
We journalists are their priests. Through our silence, we give them strength. Only when we learn to call our god by his right name -- "hate" -- will the killing abate. Until that time, hate will stalk our streets with impunity, as elusive and omnipotent as the Hidden One himself.