MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
David Parkman reported the other day that unnamed sources claim that Darren Wilson, a former Ferguson police officer who murdered Michael Brown, was paid somewhere in the range of $500,000 for his exclusive "first" post-killing interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. ABC News and Wilson both deny the reports of a fee, but it wouldn't be the first time that a major news network has paid big bucks for a grand spectacle sensationalist interview if Parkman is correct.
In addition, The Root recounted reports that more than one millions dollars was raised from supporters, as of November 30, for Wilson. If both these figures are approximately accurate, then it means that Wilson has financially benefitted to the tune of about $1.5 million, with more donations and "celebrity fees" no doubt to come.
It is worthy of note, as Parkman , that Stephanopoulos conducted a soft ball interview with Wilson. It was as much a dereliction of journalistic professional standards as the non-cross examination of Wilson before the grand jury by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch was a perversion of prosecutorial legal practices.
Yes, there are those who will argue that Wilson - who received a salary of $45,302 as a 28 year old Ferguson police officer - is now out of a job and deserves financial remuneration. However, there's a more compelling and historical prism through which to see the alleged windfall that Wilson is receiving: it's basically a bounty for killing a black man, a reward for a lynching by bullets.
Is that a hyperbolic charge? Not really.
BuzzFlash at Truthout posted a commentary yesterday on how even the head of the New York Police Department views people such as Eric Garner (and one can assume Michael Brown) as "pests" or vermin. What were the precipitating actions that led to their killings: selling single cigarettes and walking on the street? In reality, the context of who they were was more important in understanding why they were targeted: black males who have been branded as undesirables by urban police policy.
The deference that prosecutor McCulloch and then "journalist" Stephanopoulos gave to Wilson is the filter through which the public perception of Brown's death is framed, particularly to a large percentage of the US white population that views black males - as voiced by Wilson - as looking "like a demon." This is a legacy of racism that extends back to slavery and the Jim Crow era when black males could be brutalized or lynched for exhibiting even a perceived defiance of any white, even if it was just walking down the sidewalk and glaring at a white person.
That corporate mainstream "news" allegedly is a large contributor to the mass media-age bounty being paid for killing Michael Brown is abominable.
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