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Dear Cody Cain: What About the Fourth Estate?

Blogging on HuffPost and Salon Cain says that Trump has rattled our foundation and begs the question of whether the: People Can Be Trusted with Democracy.


What about the media?

The media has trounced on Bernie Sanders from day one and given Trump two for one in terms of coverage for every dollar he’s spent on political ads.

Trust? Consider these headlines:

Bernie Blackout? As DNC Accused of Targeting Sanders, Corporate Media Ignores Historic Campaign


CBS Chief Les Moonves Says Trump’s ‘Damn Good’ For Business

“Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going.”


Cain describes Trump as a demagogue stampeding through victory after victory in the primary elections. Then asks “What has gone so terribly wrong in our system?”  He is mocking in tone and emphasis: Does democracy even work?

Perhaps it does:

When the elites who guide this nation make responsible decisions and not only serve the wealthy few but also provide for the economic security and well-being of every person in society, the common people readily accept this leadership and have no desire or interest in upsetting the applecart. But in this age of deplorable income inequality, the governing elites have failed society by neglecting to protect the middle and lower classes and instead allowing the wealthy to plunder the population mercilessly. The common people have had enough. They may not know exactly how to improve their situation and they may not be acting rationally. But they’re acting. They’ve been forced to act. Perhaps this is a lesson to the elites who guide this nation. Perhaps this is democracy working exactly as it should.



Two reminders:

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is appalled to learn that the body of Anabel Flores Salazar, a crime reporter for the El Sol de Orizaba newspaper, was found on the Cuacnopalan-Oaxaca road in Puebla state on 9 Feb 16, a day after the 32-year-old mother was abducted from her home in neighbouring Veracruz state.


Identified by relatives, her semi-naked body was found with a plastic bag covering her head. She was the third journalist to be murdered this year in Mexico. RSF reiterates its call to the Mexican authorities to establish effective measures for protecting journalists and guaranteeing their safety.


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is very concerned for the safety of Anabel Flores Salazar, a crime reporter kidnapped from her home in Orizaba, in the eastern state of Veracruz, in the early hours of yesterday, and urges the local authorities to continue their efforts to find her.

The State Commission for the Attention and Protection of Journalists (CEAPP) initiated an immediate alert procedure designed to expedite efforts to locate Anabel Flores Salazar. The Veracruz state prosecutor’s office said in a statement yesterday that it was doing everything possible to find the missing journalist.

Nothing in so far known about the identity of Flores’ kidnappers, armed men in military-like uniforms who reportedly said they had a warrant for her arrest.

“We are deeply shocked by Anabel Flores’ abduction and we call on the local authorities to pursue their efforts to find this journalist as quickly as possible,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

A specialist in criminal investigations, Flores works for El Sol de Orizaba, a local newspaper. She also writes for other publications such as El Mundo de Orizaba and El Buen Tono. Jorge Morales, the CEAPP representative in Veracruz, said she covers “organized crime” and described her reporting as “incisive.”


Ranked 148th out of 180 countries in the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, Mexico is the western hemisphere’s most dangerous country for journalists.



Journo Safety College Course Advances in Beirut

By Magda Abu-Fadil[i]

What a fluke! Academics, media professionals and experts met this week to push for a course on safety for journalists as a coalition of concerned stakeholders urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to uphold a pledge he made last year to defend their security.

“This is a reminder that no journalist is safe in our world today,” said George Awad, communications and information program officer at UNESCO’s Beirut office in opening remarks at the conference in Lebanon.

He added that journalists had an obligation to stay safe and that the event aimed at empowering would-be reporters and correspondents to get a better grip on safety issues while providing academic institutions with a road map through a course to be incorporated in their respective media-related curricula.

The conference is a follow-up to last year’s launch in Jordan of the initiative in collaboration with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

“Students of journalism must understand the risks they confront when they work,” noted IFJ President Jim Boumelha.

The IFJ produces an annual report of media casualties, added Boumelha, saying most of those targeted are local journalists whose names get tepid reactions and don’t resonate in the media, unlike the spotlight shed on foreign correspondents and the attack on the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo that caused worldwide condemnation.

The Beirut conference dovetails with the goals of the “U.N. Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity. It came 10 days after UNESCO held a conference on “News Organizations Standing Up for the Safety of Media Professionals” at its Paris headquarters that drew some 300 international media leaders focused on safeguarding their staffers and ending impunity for attacks against them.

UNESCO reissued its safety guide for journalists in English, Arabic and French for that gathering. The Beirut event coincided with a letter the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sent to Secretary Kerry in which the signatories wrote:

“We welcome the commitment you made to create a “roadmap” for the State Department’s work on journalist safety and the additional resources that have been provided to the S.A.F.E. Initiative for safety training for local journalists. However, we are concerned about progress on the three other commitments that the State Department made in the conference summary and next steps document: more fully integrate the issue of impunity against journalists into the U.S. bilateral and multilateral agenda; develop worldwide protocols within the U.S. embassy community on when and how to provide assistance to journalists working in conflict zones or other hostile environments; and coordinate with relevant countries on possible exemptions for accredited journalists carrying protective gear across international borders. We would welcome an update from you on the status of these initiatives and actions that have been taken over the past year.”

Meanwhile, academics from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Morocco and Oman went over a draft of a semester-long course to be taught as one required unit, as an elective, or, from which they can select components to incorporate in other relevant media courses.

Educational systems differ across the Arab world where public and private universities exist and the language of instruction is mainly Arabic, but where professors also teach in English and French, depending on the country.

The course syllabus includes an overview and raison d’etre for safety as well as content on planning and personal safety, risk assessment, travel security, health and health care in hostile environments, demonstrations (and riots), natural disasters, gender safety, digital security, ethics, international humanitarian law, and safe investigative reporting.

“We can build on this and add workshops as supplements to the course,” said Hassana Rasheed from the state-run Lebanese University’s Faculty of Information.

Speakers included a security expert as well as four noted Lebanese journalists – two who work locally and two whose international track record in covering conflict zones is legend. “News organizations should train journalists and insist on safety measures and the use of proper equipment,” said Yazbeck Wehbe, a veteran of LBCI TV News who also teaches journalism at several Lebanese universities.

But given the turbulent nature of events in Lebanon, students and professionals are often better off not wearing gear or signs identifying them as journalists so as not to be targeted, he explained recounting some of the close shaves he’s had with danger.


Patrick Baz (a/k/a “Boom Boom” Baz), a world-renowned photojournalist whose career is linked to Agence France-Presse (AFP), offered valuable insights on how he covered some of the hottest spots in the Arab world and what lingering impact it’s had on him.

On one occasion in Baghdad in 2013, he was told he couldn’t use his professional camera to shoot in a public place but that it was OK to snap away with his iPhone, which seemed less threatening. Little did his interlocutors realize he could take professional quality shots that got equal billing on the news wire.

“Being a correspondent is going to places and sometimes bearing witness to war crimes,” said Samia Nakhoul, a Reuters veteran and Middle East bureau chief who was seriously injured and almost died when U.S. tanks lobbed shells into the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad where foreign media were based during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She was on the balcony of the Reuters office and went from being a correspondent to being a victim. Her cameraman was killed.

“I can’t stop thinking about all those who died in the line of duty. The risk is there and we need to raise awareness,” she said of the resultant trauma, which in the past was a taboo subject. News organizations should provide trauma counseling as well as safety training while universities should equip their students with the requisite knowledge and skills to face all manner of hazards, Nakhoul said.For Karma Khayat, the vice chairman of Al Jadeed TV, there’s an urgent need for cooperation among all institutions to lessen the dangers journalists encounter.

“If there’s a course, there are things we can mitigate, or avoid, but it’s not 100% guaranteed,” she said. The course will undergo revision before being made available to all Arab universities and the public at large.Follow Magda Abu-Fadil on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MagdaAbuFadil

[i] A foreign correspondent and editor with international news organizations such as Agence France-Presse and United Press International, is director of Media Unlimited. She headed the Journalism Training Program at the American University of Beirut, which she founded. She wrote for Arab dailies Asharq Al-Awsat and Al Riyadh, Washington-based Defense News, was Washington bureau chief of Events magazine, and was Washington correspondent for London-based The Middle East magazine. Abu-Fadil served as director of the Institute for Professional Journalists at the Lebanese American University.


The Beginning of a Political Revolution Led By Young Women By Robin Barnes

Parsing Talk of Danger, Targets, Hell and Bimbos

This blog is largely devoted to media analysis, featuring original posts or those written by others that speak to issues surrounding media influence in public debate.

The 2016 Election coverage offers the more grist for the mill than nearly any other source, as it provides a first-hand look at all aspects of national reporting: coverage, blackouts, orchestrated attacks, ownership, regulation, corruption, abuse of power and the most contentious arena (ascribing motive). The missing link is analysis of the extent to which all of these issues affect the lives of real people.

Another title for this post might be: Threats, Warnings and Crisis: He Said, She Said, And the Insults Just Keep Coming!

revolutionBernie Sanders is sweeping the democratic primaries.

Iowa was a draw: technically which translates into a HUGE WIN for Sanders.

New Hampshire was a landslide victory for Sanders that included 82% of women under the age of 30.[i]

He assured the masses:

Together we have sent a message that will echo from Wall Street to Washington, from Maine to California,” said Sanders in his victory speech. “And that is that the government of our great country belongs to all of the people and not just a handful of wealthy campaign contributors and their super PACs.[ii]

Sanders’ message resonates: He cited Goldman Sachs chief Lloyd Blankfein as a prime example of corporate greed that is harming the US.[iii]

Goldman Sachs Executive, Lloyd Blankfein said of Sanders’ attacks on Wall Street:

It has the potential to personalize it, it has the potential to be a dangerous moment. Not just for Wall Street not just for the people who are particularly targeted but for anybody who is a little bit out of line.

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren responded: Blankfein “thinks it’s fine to prosecute small business owners, it’s fine to go hard after individuals who have no real resources, but don’t criticize companies like Goldman Sachs and their very, very important CEO — that’s what he’s really saying.” Is it? Sounds like a garden path sentence (perhaps a none-too-subtle threat). What of danger, targets and those who step out of line (even just a little)?

According to a USA Today/Rock the Vote poll, Democratic and Independent women ages 18 to 34 prefer Sanders to Clinton, 50 percent to 31 percent.

Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright said of young female millennials, on the subject of the broader fight for women’s equality:

We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done. It’s not done: “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!”[iv]

Gloria Steinem quipped that younger women were just backing Sanders so that they could meet young men. “When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie.

After a vicious backlash…, Steinem issued an apology.

Failure to focus on the power of Wall Street during the 2016 election could be dangerous to the economy. Too big to fail, jail, or prosecute is not a message that resonates with Sanders. Might it could represent a chorus for Clinton? Goldman has showered her with $675,000 worth of speaking fees, $930,000 in campaign contributions from the Goldman Sachs network both as Senator Clinton and Secretary of State, on top of the quarter million donated to the Clinton family’s foundation, altogether approaching the $2 million mark.

Senator Warren reminds us that the financial crisis cost an estimated $14 trillion: it cost jobs, it cost homes, it cost retirement funds. “And Lloyd Blankfein stands up and says ‘Don’t even criticize me, I ran a company that was right at the heart of some of the biggest financial frauds in history and made money off it, but don’t you dare criticize me’. “That’s why we need voters to get really engaged.”

See more at:


[i] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/h-a-goodman/new-hampshire-women-chose-bernie-sanders_b_9200174.html

[ii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/09/sanders-defeats-clinton-new-hampshire-primary/QhrFO8eUZ6frFZoisXbDfN/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos1

[iii] https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2016/02/05/warren-blasts-goldman-sachs-ceo-defends-sanders/grFPoPsPrfsnoLE55NAYgK/story.html

[iv] https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2016/02/07/albright-and-steinem-scold-young-women-backing-sanders/i8K8EE3UgBNOPOFRCC7QSL/story.html?p1=Article_Recommended_ReadMore_Pos19


Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart

ElizabethWarrenFormer Labor Secretary Robert Reich said it all: I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen.”

Spin Shift on Bernie: The Escalating Media Assault, by Norman Solomon[i]


Read Full Story here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norman-solomon/spin-shift-on-bernie-the_b_9087176.html?utm_hp_ref=media&ir=Media

For a long time, as he campaigned for president, a wide spectrum of establishment media insisted that Bernie Sanders couldn’t win. Now they’re sounding the alarm that he might.

And, just in case you haven’t gotten the media message yet — Sanders is “angry,” kind of like Donald Trump.

Elite media often blur distinctions between right-wing populism and progressive populism — as though there’s not all that much difference between appealing to xenophobia and racism on the one hand and appealing for social justice and humanistic solidarity on the other.

Many journalists can’t resist lumping Trump and Sanders together as rabble-rousing outliers. But in the real world, the differences are vast.

Donald Trump is to Bernie Sanders as Archie Bunker is to Jon Stewart.

Among regular New York Times columnists, aversion to Bernie Sanders has become more pronounced in recent days at both ends of the newspaper’s ideological spectrum, such as it is. Republican Party aficionado David Brooks (whose idea of a good political time is Marco Rubio) has been freaking out in print, most recently with a Tuesday column headlined “Stay Sane America, Please!”

Brooks warned that his current nightmare for the nation is in triplicate — President Trump, President Cruz or President Sanders. For Brooks, all three contenders appear to be about equally awful; Trump is “one of the most loathed men in American public life,” while “America has never elected a candidate maximally extreme from the political center, the way Sanders and Cruz are.”

That “political center” of power sustain huge income inequality, perpetual war, scant action on climate change and reflexive support for the latest unhinged escalation of the nuclear arms race. In other words, what C. Wright Mills called “crackpot realism.”

Meanwhile, liberal Times columnist Paul Krugman (whose idea of a good political time is Hillary Clinton) keeps propounding a stand-on-head formula for social change — a kind of trickle-down theory of political power, in which “happy dreams” must yield to “hard thinking,” a euphemism for crackpot realism.

An excellent rejoinder has come from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. “Krugman doesn’t get it,” Reich wrote. “I’ve been in and around Washington for almost fifty years, including a stint in the cabinet, and I’ve learned that real change happens only when a substantial share of the American public is mobilized, organized, energized, and determined to make it happen.”

And Reich added: “Political ‘pragmatism’ may require accepting ‘half loaves’ — but the full loaf has to be large and bold enough in the first place to make the half loaf meaningful. That’s why the movement must aim high — toward a single-payer universal health, free public higher education, and busting up the biggest banks, for example.”

But for mainline media, exploring such substance is low priority, much lower than facile labeling and horseracing… and riffing on how Bernie Sanders sounds “angry.”

On “Morning Edition,” this week began with NPR political reporter Mara Liasson telling listeners that “Bernie Sanders’ angry tirades against Wall Street have found a receptive audience.” (Meanwhile, without anger or tirades, “Hillary Clinton often talks about the fears and insecurities of ordinary voters.”)

The momentum of the Sanders campaign will soon provoke a lot more corporate media attacks along the lines of a Chicago Tribune editorial that appeared in print on Monday. The newspaper editorialized that nomination of Trump, Cruz or Sanders “could be politically disastrous,” and it declared: “Wise heads in both parties are verging on panic.”

Such panic has just begun, among party elites and media elites. Eager to undermine Sanders, the Tribune editorial warned that as a “self-declared democratic socialist,” Sanders “brandishes a label that, a Gallup poll found, would automatically make him unacceptable to nearly half the public.”

A strong critique of such commentaries has come from the media watch group FAIR, where Jim Naureckas pointed out that “voters would not be asked to vote for ‘a socialist’ — they’d be asked to vote for Bernie Sanders. And while pollsters don’t include Sanders in general election matchups as often as they do Hillary Clinton, they have asked how the Vermont senator would do against various Republicans — and he generally does pretty well. In particular, against the candidate the Tribune says is ‘best positioned’ to ‘capture the broad, sensible center’ — Jeb Bush — Sanders leads in polls by an average of 3.0 percentage points, based on polling analysis by the website Real Clear Politics.”

In mass media, the conventional sensibilities of pundits like Brooks and Krugman, reporters like Liasson, and outlets like the Chicago Tribune routinely get the first and last words. Here, the last ones are from Naureckas:

[i] Author, ‘War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death’


Press Freedom in the UK, Right Laws for the Right Reasons

ukflag Although the laws in the UK, alongside recent verdicts in the European Court of Human Rights, have been slow to back-peddling in protecting the privacy of those who hold prominent positions in society, especially when facing assaults by the tabloid press, a recent victory for Human Rights and investigative journalism is to be celebrated nonetheless.

Read the Full article here:

Why the David Miranda Verdict Was an Important Victory for Our Free Press   By Rosie Brighouse


Relevant edited excerpts:

Few political punch-bags take quite such a regular pummelling in the media as the Human Rights Act. But yesterday it came to the rescue of press freedom in the face of arbitrary abuse of state power – and not for the first time.

Back in 2013, David Miranda was stopped by police at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act. He was held for nine hours and questioned for long periods without a lawyer.

His electronic equipment was confiscated – equipment that happened to be carrying encrypted journalistic material provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Miranda was helping his partner Glenn Greenwald, the first journalist to drag Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations kicking and screaming into the light, when he was detained.

For years Liberty has argued that Schedule 7 – a breathtakingly broad and intrusive power to stop, detain, question and seize without suspicion that can be used against anyone travelling to, from or through the UK – is ripe for overuse and abuse.

And yesterday, in a landmark victory for our free press, the Court of Appeal agreed with Liberty’s intervention. It ruled Schedule 7 incompatible with journalists’ right to freedom of expression, protected in British law by – guess what? – Article 10 of the Human Rights Act, because it allows the state to pry into journalists’ work without any proper safeguards.

This isn’t the first time the Act has proven a bulwark for the protection of journalistic sources against powerful interests. It’s the latest in a long line of cases.

Like the FOIA, the HRA has been responsible for exposing countless acts of state mistreatment, neglect and abuse – revelations of monumental public interest.

Without it, journalists wouldn’t have been able to establish that they should not be at risk of being detained and questioned and having precious information seized under Schedule 7 while travelling through UK airports.

Yet while newspapers of all persuasions have rightly gone out of their way to stand up for the FOIA, they’re giving the Government a much easier ride when it comes to the HRA.

Let’s be clear: plans to scrap the HRA are fuelled by exactly the same motivations as the bid to curb FOI. Like the FOIA, the Human Rights Act is one of very few pieces of legislation that allow ordinary people – including the press – to take the mighty to task.

Both Acts are crucial weapons in journalists’ legislative armoury. Both Acts are currently in the crosshairs of a Government determined to pull down the shutters and keep inconvenient truths, valid concerns and dissent at bay. The powerful don’t like giving away power.

The British press has a world-envied tradition of first-class investigatory journalism, of asking difficult questions, of seeing past the spin to hold the powerful to account. Let’s hope they uphold that proud tradition as they report on the battle to save the HRA in coming months.

Fox News is a hate machine, spewing out horrible things” about Muslims

California Attorney Michael Malowney brought this fact to light in criminal court after his client was charged with a hate crime.

On Jan. 14, 2015, John David Weissinger called the San Diego office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — a civil rights group that advocates on behalf of U.S. Muslims — and left a terrifying voice mail.

“You’re gonna be in the news. It’s gonna be like Charlie Hebdo,” said Weissinger, 54, referring to the deadly attack on the French satirical magazine that had taken place a week earlier. “Guess what? It’s coming your way, motherfuckers

An insightful piece on the Consequences of Rhetoric by Christopher Matthias, HuffPost, raises important issues about media, cable licensing and public policy.

 It demonstrates how Media Matters has documented the propaganda:

The defendant has since written an apology for his drunken rant which was preceded by non-stop viewing of Fox Cable TV. 

Read the full article here:

Did Binge-Watching Fox News Inspire This Man To Threaten Muslims?

by Christopher Matthias, HuffPost






The Never Ending Stream of Refugees


The Rift Across Europe Cathrine Gyldensted

Director of Constructive Journalism, Windesheim University


Citizens of numerous European nations have divided in two camps: Pro or Against refugees. The middle ground has a hard time getting any press.

How will my country and so many others deal with the enormous stream of refugees fleeing from Syria?, or the many seeking a better life in Western Europe from African nations where possibilities and opportunities are scarce? How will we manage to establish a conversation that bridge views instead of creating trenches? Will we choose to shed light on everything or only the parts that are faulty? Will we portray refugees as victims without hope or capable human beings with resilience and resources?

When the landing gear touches the tarmac, I am embarking on a significant journey myself with the potential to mend what is missing from news journalism.

I am taking on a position as Director of Constructive Journalism in the Netherlands, which will be a World’s first. Windesheim University taking this bold step believes that journalism should stop victimizing victims and demonizing crooks, stop its chronic focus on conflict and shy away from acting as polarizers.

Instead we will focus on solutions:

Facilitating a future-oriented debate Expand interview techniques Shed light on the middle ground Work with journalists unrecognized hidden biases Skillfully create engagement View audiences as co-creators

Share our learning curve

In our current time and age, we need to see far. We need to look ahead.

Poland’s Media Now Government Controlled

polish flag

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s president signed a new law giving the government control of state radio and television, despite concerns from the European Union, an official said Thursday.


Andrzej Duda signed the legislation because he wants state media to be “impartial, objective and reliable,” his aide Malgorzata Sadurska said. She added that the president doesn’t believe the broadcasters guarantee objective information in their current form.

The new legislation allows for the immediate ending of the terms of the heads of state radio and television, and gives the treasury minister the authority to appoint successors. It also limits the number of members sitting on the state broadcasters’ supervisory and management boards.

Sadurska said the president shares concerns for the quality of Poland’s media voiced by some EU leaders, and believes the new law will help that goal.

But some EU leaders have expressed alarm, saying that Poland’s media freedom is being threatened. On Tuesday, EU human rights commissioner Nils Muiznieks appealed to Duda not to sign the law.


The European Commission will debate Poland’s rule of law on Jan. 13, a step that could eventually result in Poland losing its EU voting rights on matters that concern the entire 28-nation bloc.


Read Article concerning long-term implications here.



Senator Bernie Sanders: History-Making Grassroots Support

nonspoilerQuestion of Media Black Out?

Is the Democratic National Committee trying to undermine the presidential campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders? That’s the charge Sanders’ team is making amid a dust-up over a breach of voter information. On Friday, the DNC suspended Sanders’ access to a critical database after finding his staffers improperly viewed front-runner Hillary Clinton’s proprietary information when a computer glitch made it briefly available. The DNC backed down after Sanders filed suit, but the Sanders campaign has accused party leadership of trying to thwart the Vermont senator’s bid. This comes as the Sanders campaign says it’s on pace to break President Obama’s record of more than 2.2 million individual donations. Sanders is making history despite being subjected to what he calls a “blackout” in the corporate media. A recent report finds the flagship news programs at major networks NBC, CBS and ABC have dedicated 234 minutes this year to stories about Donald Trump—compared to just 10 minutes for Sanders.

Read Full Story Here:



Conviction: Former Cop, Serial Rapist Who Targeted Black Women Receives 263 Year Prison Sentence


Daniel Holtzclaw, a former college football player and pro NFL player in 2009 for the Detroit Lions, will serve life in prison for sexually assaulting over a dozen black women, mostly while on duty.

Read Full Story


[1] Toni Irving, Decoding Black Women: Policing Practices and Rape Prosecution on the Streets of Philadelphia http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/ff/summary/v020/20.2.irving.html

Black women are generally displaced as victims of rape. The police response to the sexual assault of black women in general and lower-class black women in particular is illustrative of how sexual ideologies help construct complex social hierarchies that in turn structure rights. How the law currently deals with rape places black women outside of the narrative frames that legitimate entitlement. Rape continues to stand in for, and effectively obscure, other social, political, and economic concerns. Unpublished and often ignored, the rape narrative is a ripe site to supply oppositional interpretations of national experience and transmit some of the structural problems in the criminal justice system. Pulling from over two thousand “real” rape cases of low-income black women ignored and not investigated in Philadelphia between 1995 and 2000, this article reads black female rape narratives as case studies in order to discuss the way personal narratives of rape victims are structured by competing and overwhelming socio-legal narratives that undercut their reception. As the fastest growing prison population, the presence of the law to punish black women stands in stark contrast to the absence of the law to protect them.