None of the Explanations are Pretty

Implicit bias, anyone?

Two profoundly depressing examples of implicit bias–not to mention the deficits of today’s media–were on display in Indianapolis last week.

The first–and arguably most embarrassing–occured when Ben Carson endorsed Donald Trump; Fox 59 showed a picture of Trump with a photograph of Indianapolis Democratic African-American Representative Andre Carson superimposed.

Because all of “them” look alike?

And how oblivious to the political environment they cover did the newsroom have to be in order to confuse a black Democrat who happens to be one of two Muslims serving in the U.S. House with a sycophantic joke of a presidential candidate? Did they really think Andre Carson would have endorsed a xenophobe who wants to bar Muslims from the country?

Equally discouraging, if not as inexplicable, was the early reporting about a shooting involving an IFD officer. According to later, corrected reports, Michael “Kevin” Gill, a veteran of the Indianapolis Fire Department, was shot outside a house and ran into a nearby mosque seeking help.

Earlier, “breaking news” had reported that Gill was shot inside the mosque. (The definition of prejudice is to “pre-judge”…).

Tribalism–and its exploitation by demagogues seeking political power– is creating a meaner, more dangerous America.


  1. There is no free press anymore. It has been supplanted by the business of reporting, i.e. evaluating news only on the basis of its ability to increase ad revenues.

  2. Common sense, logic and facts are not strong suits of the media today. I’m sure our Rep. Andre Carson knows not to be embarrassed by Trump’s stupidity just as he knows the white faces of the Republican presidential nominee wannabes are not interchangeable.

    The fact that Dr. Carson; a world-known brain surgeon turned to politics after resigning from the world of medicine brings a question to mind. If – WHEN – Trump loses his bid for the nomination and the presidency; will he turn to brain surgery to earn his livelihood with the continued support of Carson?

    Regarding the Gill shooting; wherever it happened, I have seen no well deserved kudos for those in the Mosque who helped this man. Our local media’s right-wing support is obvious in print and selected news films we see daily.

    Per my Webster’s Dictionary For Students: “Media; the system and organizations of communication through which information is spread to a large number of people.”

    As with the 1st Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of the press; there is no mention of or requirement for truth. MISinformation is the accepted form of information today.

  3. The headline in the IndyStar had the same bias regarding the IFD officer. It is so glaringly obvious that the more sensational the better, especially if it feeds the prejudices of your intended audience.

  4. Missed the Star headline because I quit that rag years ago. For the life of me, I don’t understand why anyoneattends to the press at all as none of them understands objective reporting. Why do most of you only notice or become outraged with biased reporting from one side of the fence?

  5. Sensationalism sells. I wonder what the “reporters” are ordered to report and if reporting false info gives them a queasy feeling about their job.

    Ken – why do you feel the need to attack “most of us” (a very judgemental remark) and assume we become outraged with biased reporting from one side of the fence? Your remark was biased and not based on any factual evidence at all. What gives you the right to judge the rest of us without knowing what you are talking about? Are you a closeted faux news wannabe?

  6. Some of it is stupid people in the newsrooms. Many of the local writers and reporters in the TV industry could NOT have passed an English class…. EVER.

  7. Ken; in response to your question, “Why do most of you only notice or become outraged with biased reporting from one side of the fence?”

    Probably because biased reporting seems to come from only one side of the fence.

  8. Television news is television first, news second. Ratings are more important than accuracy. The Indianapolis Star has never been a beacon of truth. The paper has over the years employed some decent journalists, but they did their best work on the big stories, not the everyday headline kinds of stories.

    There are two things missing from Indianapolis media; the Indianapolis Times, and Harrison Ullmann. They have both been gone too long.

  9. Ken: I get outraged by the lack of focus of our news media. They could choose from a variety of subjects and stories, but it always becomes the latest armed robbery or shooting, or a returning soldier surprises his family at some public event, for example. I have to believe that there are events with a wider impact on the viewers, but the local media choose to pass on them. I am also waiting for one the local weather forecasters to mention climate change. I really think that the news media is partially responsible for the current political climate.

  10. Peggy – There are two things missing from Indianapolis media; the Indianapolis Times, and Harrison Ullmann. They have both been gone too long.

    Harrison Ullmann was a great reporter. I recall some of his columns where he refereed to Indiana’s Legislature as the worst. He also referred to the strange truce between Republican and Democrats as Bayh-Smith Government (for Evan Bayh and Steve Gold$mith). The Bayh-Smith party has now morphed into the Republicrat Party.

    You have to wonder what Ullmann would have labeled John Gregg the nominal empty suit of the Democratic Party – the Nowhere Man from the Beatles Song or the incredibly shrinking man.

    The Star long ago went with cut and paste and rewording of Press Releases as their version of Journalism.

  11. We are the customers of news. They publish what we demand and what we demand is entertainment.

    That little fact in the world of politics was first mined by Rush Limbaugh and Rupert Murdoch and Lee Atwater and Grover Norquist and Karl Rove decades ago and they were right. Nobody ever went broke underestimating our tastes.

    Those tastes have been nurtured and reinforced and prayed upon by experts for decades.

    Low brow tastes are now in fashion.

    Is there hope? Well, there’s Obama and Bernie.

    People here know that I don’t believe Bernie will follow Obama into the Whitehouse but I believe he’s a true American hero. He’s shown us clearly what could be.

  12. Nancy! Forgive the “attack” but I have been following Sheila for a while and I have yet to see any criticism of any left leaning press source.

  13. Growing up as a child in the middle of nowhere, I learned early on that my connection to the broader world depended upon a steady access to the Louisville Courier-Journal. During that 1960’s period of growing up, the Louisville Courier-Journal, in continuous existence since the mid-1850’s, was considered one of the top 10 daily newspapers in the US.

    Not until I’d graduated from that small rural KY high school (student enrollment 400) did I learn that two of my former teachers, one an English teacher and the other our Journalism teacher, pooled their personal money and purchased a subscription for daily delivery of a class set (30) of the Courier-Journal. During that era, the Bingham family owned The C-J after purchasing it from the Watterson family. Both the Watterson family and the Bingham family were career journalists, journalists and published writers from the likes of ‘Harper’s Magazine’ and the ‘New York Times’.

    Following family bickering, the Courier-Journal was sold to Gannett much like the Indianapolis Star was sold to Gannett. From Gannett, both newspapers were sold to USA Today Network; hence, two formerly good family-owned newspapers are now reporting the same story on Kim Kardashian’s preferred label for thong underwear.

    To be fair, the Courier-Journal still maintains an active and up-to-date Op/Ed section with the comments section open unlike the Indy Star’s featured Op/Ed piece regarding ISTEP (state testing for those outside IN) that’s been languishing as the sole editorial since 2/26/2016.

  14. “…the strange truce between Republican and Democrats as Bayh-Smith Government (for Evan Bayh and Steve Gold$mith). The Bayh-Smith party has now morphed into the Republicrat Party.”

    Louie; thanks for reminding us of this historical collusion haunting us locally today. I began working for the City of Indianapolis in 1972 during the Mayor Lugar administration, worked the 16 progressive years of Mayor Bill Hudnut, lasted 2 years, 3 months and 11 days under the downfall of the Goldsmith reign. I had friends working for the state during the Bayh administration who suffered indignities and questionable leadership at that time. The legislature had approved wage increases for state employees; Bayh denied them for three years…I don’t remember his “un”reasoning for this but it garnered much publicity which did nothing to end the situation. I remember occasionally seeing people standing at intersections holding cardboard signs reading, “State employee, will work for food” to attract attention to their problem. The Bayh-Goldsmith combined power over this state and city began a downward trend in much of local progress for residents and neighborhoods other than sports arenas where they cannot afford to attend events supported by their hard earned tax dollars. The CIB needs to be closely watched.

    That past era is alive and well today; flourishing while the economy suffers and neighborhoods decline. The local media allows occasional references to the problems and there are a few demands for action which quickly disappear from the public eye. Brian Eason and Stephanie Wang of the Star are doing their best to research and report “Abandon Indy” and the continuing “RFRA” inaction to us; their articles are always worth reading. Add the majority of Matthew Tully’s columns and that low number doesn’t give us much in the way of printed local news.

    Mayor Hogsett is step one; we need to support John Gregg or we will remain under Pence which, in actuality, is still under Mitch Daniels’ leadership. But Gregg is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, as the old saying goes.

  15. In skimming through and glancing over the several comments from today and from previous days, I’m left with an overriding thought, a thought that any person’s loyal devotion or pledge of lifetime allegiance to either the Democrat party or the Republican party amounts to giving up a large part of your being, amounts to abdicating your thought processes, and amounts to relinquishing your personal abilities to judge current state and national conditions without first filtering them through partisan lens.

  16. BSH; I cannot argue with your comments. I was an Independent voter from my first election in 1958. The past few years I feel FORCED to vote a straight Democratic ticket for self preservation. I resent it deeply! Will I live to see the day I can return to voting my conscience after careful consideration and analysis of all candidates – I seriously doubt it.

  17. Ken Glass, I think that you ask a good question. Why do people here question conservative politicians more than liberal ones?

    I think that it’s because conservatism has been defined by conservatives over decades as having no respect for the institution of government. Liberals generally have great respect for government but less for businesses operating under the single dictum of make more money regardless of the impact on others.

    I suppose that either worldview could be considered as more promising than the other in general but experience seems to largely support that more respect for government and less for the institution of business achieves better more consistently beneficial results for the greatest number of people over time.

    Respect for government is inclusive, for business exclusive. As it’s the greater good that drives democracy, liberalism is the worldview of the majority of people who actually produce the goods and services exchanged in our marketplaces and also determine our position in world affairs.

    We, the people are liberal democratic Democrats. We believe in the greater good and the Constitution and American and world history.

    As conservatism is so exclusive they have a hard time getting democratically elected through telling the truth. As business has come to recognize the need for shading the truth through advertising so have those who worship at the alter of business, conservatives.

    They have to lie more to get elected. It’s justified through the common business belief that the ends justify the means. The problem in business is that the ends are wealthier and fewer wealthy and poorer and more, poor.

  18. JoAnn, I was first aware in 2000 that I’d have no reason to waste my time showing up at the polls to vote in a local KY election unless I’d first registered and declared a partisan membership as a Democrat. As the Clerk at the courthouse said, “Honey, if you don’t register as a Democrat, then you won’t be voting here.”

    Yet, Kentucky is known as a red state. Go figure.

  19. I have never tallied up the number of people in leadership positions in government (both elected and appointed) but I agree with Einstein who said, I’d prefer to be governed by the first 535 listed in the Boston telephone directory than by our Congress (Well maybe not Boston…too liberal). Therefore, I trust 3,000,000 members of Americas top 1% over fed bureaucrats.

  20. BSH; if I remember correctly, and I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong, we had to register a party affiliation in Indiana but could vote across party lines. When I went to work for the City of Indianapolis in 1972 during Mayor Richard Lugar’s administration; I had to have approval by my Republican Precinct Committeeman. I had to sign a Loyalty Oath, witnessed by him and the person who recommended me, to support and work for the Republican party. I was TOLD when and where to work the Nixon campaign (that still galls me) all employees had to “donate” 2% of our salary to the Republican party, in cash, every payday by the end of the day or lose our job. My mother (a staunch Republican) had worked for the State of Indiana in the 1960’s; the 2% “donation” for them was deducted from their paycheck before they got it. When Mayor Bill Hudnut took office, we got word from him that if we wanted to donate any amount to the Republican party it would gladly be accepted. It was our paycheck and our decision.

  21. JoAnn, the attached video link from the Independent Voter Network (if the video link provided does transmit via this blog’s settings) pretty much sums up where I am as a voter at this point in my life, at age 69. I’m not a registered Democrat, not a registered Republican, and am simply an independent voter who roams hither and yon, who’s looking for a place called home.

  22. What exactly is ‘too liberal’? Seriously, what is wrong with being a leftward of the republicans?

    I bet it will be crickets.

  23. BSH; I neglected to say that we no longer have to register a party affiliation, simply register to vote in our district. Only have to declare a party for primary elections; the only opportunity to let our chosen party know who WE want them to run as candidates. Of course it doesn’t matter any more than a fart in the wind if the party delegates do not agree and they run their chosen candidate.

  24. daleb, Thank You! And not only are ad revenues the only current measure of a ‘successful’ news show, corrections are buried and flattering the consumers preconceptions is the rule.

    It’s not as if one 23-year-old fact checker is going to affect the bottom line, but getting it right seems to be considered ‘ungentlemanly’ since they would be impugning their fellow-newsfolk’s accuracy.

  25. AgingLGrl, as your wrote, “What exactly is ‘too liberal’? Seriously, what is wrong with being a leftward of the republicans?”

    As you noted something to do with crickets at the end of your post, I’d suggest that ‘too liberal’ may fall into the realm of being beyond description by the posters on this blog; hence, the sound of silence and its accompanying lack of responders.

    And, in the meantime, here’s a link to a blog article from straight from one who’s lived in the city for decades, a self-identified liberal, and an honest soul who is now willing to share his candid thoughts.

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