Star Tribune takes sides, and it’s not yours

MellaneoussquareIf you were in doubt about the Star Tribune’s objectivity or whose side they are on, the Jamar Clark case proves that they are neither objective nor neutral when it comes to Black, poor and working people. The interests of the institution that is the Star Tribune lie with the power structure and the status quo.

In fact, their editorial titled “Justice, but no comfort in Jamar Clark case” was a rather sleazy attempt to justify the decision not to prosecute the killers of Jamar Clark by the Hennepin County attorney’s office, despite evidence that makes it clear a trial is warranted in the case. Their defense borders on the criminal.

Anyone with a fourth-grade education knows that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s decision not to indict was not justice. It was rather Freeman’s illegal and immoral attempt to defend Ringgenberg and Schwarze, to justify the indefensible — murder. In fact, it was a cover up.

Furthermore, the Star Tribune, along with help from the electronic corporate media, lay the groundwork by creating and publishing a narrative immediately after Clark’s killing that described him as a woman beater, criminal, jobless youth who had run from the police before, thus shedding poor light on his character. While discrediting Jamar, they created a climate of disfavor toward him that made it difficult for people to sympathize with him, that is, see him as a human being, thus making his legal lynching easier to justify.

Yes, it was a lynching, because I believe the 10-year-old and the other witnesses who said they didn’t see Jamar resisting but suddenly heard him being shot for no apparent reason.

In an editorial supposedly aimed at smoothing over relations after the power structure allowed the Minneapolis police to get away with murder, the Star Tribune editorial board wrote about Clark’s shooting that “the goal is to make them as rare as possible.” That’s right, there were no dog whistles.

They said the goal is to make them rare, not rid society of these killings altogether. They wrote it down, so they meant it just as it was written. They aren’t interested in having the police stop killing folks needlessly, they are only interested in appearances.

Speaking of appearances, the Star Tribune, in their attempt to patronize and detract from the community’s desire for justice, used their publication to trumpet about how supposedly transparent the process was, as if people sought transparency over justice. One of the editors, who seems like a nice enough guy, asked me about the importance of transparency. So I asked him if his son were killed in this manner would he be impressed by transparency or would he want justice. He said justice.

And in their effort to make sure that Jamar was seen in a negative light they spared no one. Those of us who have had the temerity to take to the streets in protest were targeted as well. The Star Tribune, and a few other big business media outlets early on, continuously tried to make it appear that the activists were just looking for an axe to grind rather than having a real cause. They did this by writing “activists claim Clark was handcuffed and unarmed” rather than attributing the statements to witnesses.

Of course, if activists said it, it’s likely not credible because of course they are not credible. They are people who just make up things to protest about. It took several calls to editors before that smear campaign was stopped. Of course the Star Tribune writer who brags about having Black children never stopped making the scandalous inference.

In its zeal to make the system’s case, days after the non-indictment, the Star Tribune disparaged the entire Black community with its headline, “Accounts of Jamar Clark’s death show how imperfect memory can be.” According to one so-called expert, “We know that stress and…. trauma can undermine people’s memory… in particular for members of communities who lack trust and confidence in the criminal justice [system].”

Remove all the flowery language and everyone gets it; Blacks aren’t credible!

If their meaning wasn’t clear, editorial page writer DJ Tice told us that, “the image of Clark in handcuffs turns out to have been a mirage — rather like the “hands up, don’t shoot” tableau involving Ferguson, Missouri’s Michael Brown.” The inference being that all of the witnesses were lying and we aren’t going to even let you decide for yourself it’s a “mirage,” a lie, ’cause the bosses, the masters at the Star Tribune said so!

It appears our friends at the Star Tribune borrowed a page from Hitler’s henchman Joseph Goebbels: control language and you can control people’s thoughts. Tell big lies and never admit the lie, but keep repeating the lie and of course vilify your enemies (the working class in general and Blacks in particular).


Mel Reeves welcomes reader response to