CHICAGO, April 11, 2012 — There is a right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression. There is no right to free publicity or free public relations.
Why are the media giving free publicity and public relations to the New Black Panther Party, a marginal group of circus clowns, carnival barkers, and street comedians dressed in silly costumes? Why are they giving generous coverage to a certified hate group?
The New Black Panther Party (NBPP) has created a great deal of media attention over the Trayvon Martin- George Zimmerman incident. They haven’t drawn this much attention since Eric Holder refused to indict them for voter intimidation.
NBPP generates media attention every time they hold a press conference or protest under a lamp post. The cameras show up and the latest stand-up routine by their spokesperson that day is live news. They rarely pan around to show the few people who show up to these open-mike, stand-up comedy skits.
The question we should be asking is, “why?” Why do the media keep covering these buffoons? It is like covering that other troupe, who wear nightgowns and pillowcases, the Ku Klux Klan, every time they do something stupid.
Why do the news media give groups like these legitimacy and relevance? This is exactly what the hate groups want and need. The media are being conned and sucked into their game. They are also convincing the public that marginal comedians in silly costumes are important. The media are also helping these groups recruit members, who then spread the hate.
What is the worst that could happen if NBPP threw a press conference and no media showed up? What if it happened every single time? After they complained and their complaints fell on deaf ears, they would just crawl back into their basements or vacant storefronts to work on their websites and newspapers.
Every time the media allows groups like the New Black Panther Party to spew their racist or anti-Semitic screeds, they give them importance beyond their marginality. Groups like the NBPP should be ignored, or just given a single accurate paragraph, something like: “A comedy troupe of New Black Panther Party members showed up in theatrical regalia to protest the whatever this afternoon. No one paid attention to them, except us.”
Unless, of course, they actually commit a crime, generate a major protest, or incite a riot. That is real news. That is legitimate reportage.
Paris Lewis, known as Malik Zulu Shabazz, is the national leader of the NBPP. He is, or was, an attorney. Since he became the Chairman of the NBPP he has appeared frequently as a guest on various talk shows. Is another anti-Semitic racist really this important? Does hate sell or boost ratings?
The NBBP’s latest forays into comedy are their comedy skits in Sanford Florida over the Trayvon Martin incident. NBPP organizer Mikhail Mohammed gave a press conference, flanked by jesters, harlequins, and buffoons in theatrical costumes. He put a $10,000.00 bounty out for the capture of George Zimmerman, the man who killed Trayvon Martin.
Mohammed claimed the Constitution grants him the right to make a citizen’s arrest. For his punch line he threw out, “I don’t obey the white man’s law, I don’t follow the American law.” He acted like Gomer Pyle.
The publicity stunt generated wide spread media coverage and still is. The video is being played over and over again. Maybe some tech guy could put Send in the Clowns as background music every time it is shown.
The media should focus on the danger of groups like the NBBP, just like they did with the Ku Klux Klan or the Christian Identity and Militia movements. Groups like these attract a wide variety of lunatics, tin foil hats, haters, and fomenters of violence. Most are from the Lone Nut family. They name all their children Some Lone Nut. They are the usual suspects in many acts of violence and murders due to the hate advocated by groups like NBPP.
If the media feel they cannot ignore these groups or warn the public about the danger they pose, they should just ignore them. That is the only way to keep them from gaining traction in the public eye. That is the only way to prevent them from becoming legitimate or relevant.
Of course, to keep from being called racist, a heinous crime right up there with child molestation mass murder, and child slavery, the media caves and gives these people what they want, free publicity and free public relations. It is time to stop caring about being called childish playground names.
It is high time we stop publicizing these groups unless they actually threaten or do something serious, like generate a genuine mass demonstration or incite violence. The New Black Panther Party is nothing but a comic troupe of costumed verbal thugs. They are not worth the ink, pixels, or airtime. There is no story. There is no there there.
The only service the media is providing is to the New Back Panther Party. The more publicity they give them, the more important and relevant they become by spewing hatred over the airwaves.
Is this what we really need or want?
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer and photographer, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the irreverent sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
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