Conservative Media Coverage of Missouri University Protests Is Embarrassing

The conservative media isn't a big fan of discussing racism. They are however very eager to discuss all of the reasons people shouldn't be talking about racism. The diversionary tactics include such classics as "playing the race card," "black on black crime," "White guilt," "I have a black friend" as well as more recent incarnations like "all lives matter," "reverse racism," and "racism doesn't exist anymore." The purpose of these talking points is not to have a substantive discussion on how to improve race relations in America. No, the purpose of these talking points is to specifically avoid such discussions by dismissing racially based discrimination and hate as the imaginary rantings of politically correct crybabies.

Unfortunately the recent events at Missouri University offer yet another example of conservative media's deride and disparage tactics when it comes to the uncomfortable conversation of racism. Rather than talk about the overt racism experienced by some black students, the conservative media is dissecting video of a student that may or may not have been struck by the University President's car. Rather than debate the need for greater diversity among the staff and faculty, the conservative media has obsessed over a false story that the bathroom swastika might be a hoax. Rather than consider how some minority students might feel marginalized at a predominately white school, the conservative media is more concerned about the criticism they have received for their reporting.

Maybe the incidents described by students are completely accurate or maybe they aren't, but all of this hand wringing about needing extensive proof of racism rings hollow coming from the conservative media, given their penchant for making a mountain out of a molehill. For example, one of the top viewed stories on Fox News the past few days is an article by Christian huckster Todd Starnes titled Teen runner disqualified from state meet -- Was it the Bible verse?. Despite providing zero evidence that the runner was disqualified for his religious views, Starnes had no problem publishing the concern of Republican lawmakers over "Religious expression being squashed right here in the Ninth District."

The reality is that when it comes to the concerns of conservatives, the mere appearance of discrimination is all the proof that is required. So while the conservative media chides a group of people they tend to label as entitled and lazy for organizing and bringing about change with terms like "disgusting" and "infantile," their concern for this kind of change via protest seems to be limited to black students and liberals. In fact, when it comes to protests outside of medical clinics by anti-abortion zealots who bully women into conforming to their way of thinking, the conservative media is rather supportive. The same is true of instances like the Christians at Duke University that protested the use of the school's chapel bell tower for the Islamic call to prayer and the protest over the lack of Christmas symbols on the cups at Starbucks. If trying to change minds through protest is disgusting and infantile, then these acts by conservatives deserve as much if not more scrutiny than the Missouri students.

Perhaps the problem here is that the conservative media doesn't like the idea of someone demanding change. After all, the conservative media response to the list of demands submitted by Concerned Student 1950 was to cry fascism. This rhetoric is, however, surprisingly absent in the conservative media when conservative Christians like Mike Huckabee, Franklin Graham, and Bryan Fischer demanded change because their feelings were hurt.

The conservative media was also largely silent when Republican politicians made outlandish demands as part of the debt ceiling deal, payroll tax cut negotiations, as well as the recent Republican presidential debate.

But possibly the biggest hypocrisy of the conservative media when it comes to the Missouri University protests has to do with how they have reacted to Jonathan Butler who went on a hunger strike in response to what he saw as systemic racism at the University. The bulk of the conservative media coverage of Butler has focused on the fact that he comes from a wealthy family, because in their minds this exposes a hypocrisy by Butler regarding his organization's statements on white privilege. The problem is that his wealth has no bearing on the color of his skin. Perhaps he is a spoiled rich kid, but that doesn't mean he hasn't also experienced racism or discrimination associated with being an African American.

Even if it were the case that privilege and white privilege are synonymous, does that somehow make Butler unqualified to comment on the topic? Republicans in Congress routinely complain about how the system they are a part of is broken, yet the conservative media never suggests that their job as a Congressman makes them ineligible to critique Congress. After every terrorist attack perpetrated by Muslims, the conservative media is the first to ask other Muslims to denounce these acts. And you can bet anytime a Democrat disagrees with President Obama, the conservative media will be the first ones to hold that person up as proof of the president's failure.

The idea that being rich precludes Butler from the bigotry and intolerance experienced by black students is idiotic. but compounding the issue by also suggesting his critique is invalid simply because he grew up privileged is completely embarrassing.

The reality is, if there is anything that should be dismissed out of hand, it is the conservative media's coverage of racism. Not only is their narrative so uniformly biased as to be detrimental to a rational discussion, it is also absurdly hypocritical. There is plenty of worthwhile issues to debate regarding racism in America; unfortunately, the conservative media has decided to bury their heads in the sand and cover none of them.