We should strive for more media literacy

Alberto Lionarons/ contributing writer

During Martin Luther King weekend, the Internet became divided over a controversial video showing students from Covington Catholic school donning “Make America Great Again” hats in a tense standoff with a Native American man, Nathan Philipps during the Indigenous People’s March at the Lincoln Memorial.

The viral video of the ‘smirk seen around the world’ gained a lot of media attention after being reported as a group of Trump supporting teens harassing and intimidating Phillips.  There was a lot of public outcry on Twitter and Facebook, with people frantically demanding the identities of the children and even threatening them with violence.

Shockingly, the early reports of the nature of this incident turned out to be inaccurate in multiple ways after other videos were posted online showing the Covington kids, who while returning from the Walk for Life, were repeatedly harassed and shouted at by the fringe religious group, the Black Israelites, who hurled multiple homophobic and racist insults, at the group.

Among the rowdy shouting and intense language Phillips ultimately decided to approach the children while beating his traditional drum, when he eventually came face to face with Nicholas Sandmann, who decided that patiently smiling was the best way to defuse the situation.

Media literacy and a heavy dose of skepticism is what is needed now more than ever in this country. 

In the world of political news, there are several ways a piece of media can become deceptive, even through accidental omissions This is exactly what happened at the Lincoln Memorial.

A video with not enough context gets tweeted and people begin jumping at conclusions that best suit our personal narrative of events. Disney film producer Jack Morrissey had to apologize for a tweet where he threatened the teens with sending them  “screaming, hats first into the woodchipper.”. All because one boy chose to smile.

This isn’t to say that the boys are completely without fault in this entire controversy. There is a very real reason why the media so quickly hopped onto this story. 

It’s the “Make America Great Again” caps. The MAGA cap, like many political hats, is a bright declaration of the principles and values of its wearer.

Wearing one does not necessarily make you a racist, however it will likely make others bunch you together with the crowd that has a  lot of white-supremacists and neo-Nazis.

Throughout the world, the MAGA cap has become a symbol of hatred and racism. This hat which represents our leader, and now our country has become a marker for a new form of American aggression. It’s sad because I have met and discussed politics with plenty of Trump supporters who aren’t racist lunatics. 

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide who was really in the wrong at the intense Lincoln Memorial protest. While the two-party political dynamic of the US has created a divide in our country, it is up to us to set aside our biases and critically consume media.

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.

Photo bt AbsolutVision on Unsplash

 

 

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