The Police Attack on James Blake and Its Coverage by New York Times: A Lesson in Mind Control by Corporate Media

When six plainclothes New York police officers went to look for a credit card fraud suspect in Midtown Manhattan, they saw a biracial man and assumed he was the suspect and without questioning his identity and without any provocation or resistance on the part of the “suspect”, threw him to the ground, roughed him up and arrested him, before realizing they had the wrong man. They then went on as if nothing had happened and didn’t even report the incident. The wrongly arrested man turned out to be retired professional tennis player, James Blake, who spoke out about it, which prompted apologies from Mayor de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton. 

Now, notice how New York Times reports the incident (September 10, 2015). First of all, they report it not as news of another incident of racial profiling and police brutality, which is an ongoing and nationwide problem that has reached a boiling point and spawned a movement for change, but as news of “Criticism swirled over whether Mr. Blake had been mistreated because he was biracial”. So, to NYT, this only shows there is a question of racial bias, which they hint at and don’t even mention by name.

They add that “The incongruity of a Harvard-educated professional athlete being manhandled by six white plainclothes officers on a sidewalk in Midtown Manhattan quickly became an embarrassment for the Police Department and a headache for Mr. de Blasio”. Again, the issue and the news worthy of reporting for NYT isn’t racial profiling and police misconduct and lawlessness, which this incident is an example of and which would never have come to light had the victim not been a “Harvard-educated professional athlete”, but the “embarrassment for the Police Department and a headache for Mr. de Blasio”. So, we’re supposed to sympathize with the Mayor and Police Chief because they were embarrassed by it, not the victim of the brutality, who could have easily been injured or killed, under slightly different circumstances, as it so often happens. Do you see how they manipulate the news and subtly shift the focus to manage and control its effect on people?

They then go on to vindicate and credit not only NY Mayor and Chief, but “elected leaders across the country”, by claiming that they “have sought to stamp out unprovoked aggression” by police, without providing any evidence for their claim. What have these “elected leaders across the country” done to “stamp out unprovoked aggression” by police? They don’t say. 

There is more: “The officer’s decision to throw an unarmed, compliant man to the ground added to the sense that black people are often roughed up by the police out of view, with few resources to bring attention to their grievances”. So, it’s not like it’s a fact “that black people are often roughed up by the police out of view, with few resources to bring attention to their” plight, but a “sense”, which could be wrong. Black people have the sense that they’re being wronged. How silly of them! Also, notice how they talk about the issue as “their grievances”, rather than a critical and life and death problem of the whole society! In a single sentence, they claim that 1) there is only a sense of police misconduct, 2) that there is a grievance about it and 3) that it’s “their” grievance. Am I the only one who wishes these writers would be the ones getting beaten up by NYPD police officers?

Newspapers and other media aren’t unbiased observers and spectators of the society that can give us unbiased news and analysis. There is no such thing as unbiased. If you live in and are part of the society, then you’re not unbiased. That of course includes me and the words I write. The media have a vested interest in how the majority think and are in fact tools in the hands of the ruling class tasked with mind control and manipulation to protect their class interests. What this means is that they don’t even try to be unbiased and on the contrary, are deliberately directed and controlled to support and perpetuate the groupthink of the ruling class. This is why revolutions that succeed shut down the media of the old regime and replace reporters with those with the new ideas and ideology. It’s the same with the police, the military, the courts and of course the political leadership who are all in the service of the ruling elite and have their biases, their ideology and their mindset. They all push and advance the interests of the ruling class which, in a capitalist society like ours, are a small minority of the population, who end up accumulating the vast majority of the wealth of the nation and in our times of the whole world. 


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