Obama’s Remarks on Baltimore

by Ramesh Ponnuru

I discuss them, fairly critically, over at Bloomberg. One passage I didn’t end up quoting in the column:

[T]he violence that happened yesterday distracted from the fact that you had seen multiple days of peaceful protests that were focused on entirely legitimate concerns of these communities in Baltimore, led by clergy and community leaders.  And they were constructive and they were thoughtful, and frankly, didn’t get that much attention.  And one burning building will be looped on television over and over and over again, and the thousands of demonstrators who did it the right way I think have been lost in the discussion. 

Obama is certainly right to suggest that violence gets more coverage than the absence of violence. War coverage works the same way: The networks don’t have peace correspondents. It’s always worth noting that we should keep in mind how our impressions can be distorted by the media. But it’s also worth noting that Obama wouldn’t have been making the lengthy remarks he did if not for that “one burning building.”

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