I will admit this up front: My head was so full of so many disparate topics this week that I could not decide how to fill this space or what I had to add to debates over race, politics, violence, trade and disaster.
So I have turned this week’s Take over to you, gentle readers, in a new, irregularly recurring feature I believe I’ll call “Gwen’s Bingo.”
There are not many rules. Just send me a smart question, and I’ll try to respond with a smart — or at least honest — answer.
Here’s the first round from my Twitter feed.
I’m assuming Bob is responding more to what he’s been seeing in an endless loop on cable television than what he has seen in actual newspaper headlines.
It is true that we are drawn to pictures of mayhem, and are more likely to turn away from images of peace. But I consume a fair amount of mainstream media. What I see are snapshots. In a weekly magazine like TIME, the arresting cover photo of a young black man running from a phalanx of police in riot gear told one story. Meanwhile, four daily newspapers — The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times — all showcased the eerie emptiness of Camden Yards, where fans were shut out of that day’s baseball game for fear of unrest.
You can argue about which tells the true story of the day or the week, and editors have more latitude than they like to admit in deciding which story is the more compelling one to tell. But I’m not sure it’s about mainstream vs. non-mainstream.
Also consider the source you cite: Radio Vatican clearly has a point of view which is probably no more or less narrow than “mainstream media.”
@gwenifill Is it plausible to consider Biden being HRC's running mate? He's always wanted to make history…
— Franklin Oliver (@FOLIVER4U) April 30, 2015
Anything is plausible in politics, but only when viewed through the lens of what is useful for the principal. Would Hillary Clinton want to be yoked that closely to the preceding administration? Just as important, why would 72-year-old Biden sign up for another four or eight years a heartbeat away, when he longs to be in the Oval Office?
@gwenifill do you have any tips for waking up super early in the morning?
— thegreenrat (@thegreenrat) April 30, 2015
Yes. Pack for the gym the night before.
Were the Baltimore riots more a tiping point about the state of black people in America or were they truly about Freddie Gray?
I hesitate to declare anything a “tipping point” anymore. Certainly Ferguson, Cleveland and Staten Island felt like tipping points. Rodney King seemed that way too, and that was 24 years ago. Also, I’m pretty sure the “state of black people in America” is about more than violence.
— Bill (@bmain249) April 30, 2015
I am certain you can find someone, somewhere in “the media” who would draw the link you would like to see. But I would require clear statistics to support your point, not just opinion.
@gwenifill What positive thing have U seen/heard re race relations & what thoughts did U have? We need 2 hear these & add 2 our toolbox ☺
— Ligeia H. 🗽 (@LAHfreya23) April 30, 2015
This is a tough week for optimism, but even as we see things that are clearly wrong, I am heartened by evidence that many young people (and a whole lot not so young) are still working to make things better. But in order to appreciate that, we all have to take deep breaths, get through the tough times and move ahead. We’ve always made it to the other side before.
But we cannot afford to look away.