The "Knockout Game" and the Myth of the "Liberal Media"
How do we reconcile the following observations?
According to conservatives, the news media has a "liberal bias": this is a foundational tenet of the Right-wings propaganda and disinformation campaign against the American people.
Black youth are running amok in mass and attacking white people across the country in a bacchanal of violence known as "the knockout game".
But, if there is a "liberal media", why is the knockout game story being circulated by such "liberal" news outlets like MSNBC, CNN, The NY Times, USA Today, and others? Why would the liberal media legitimate the knockout game narrative instead of suppressing or covering it up?
The "liberal media" is a myth and a lie. There is no liberal media; there is only a corporate media.
The knockout game is a moral panic wherein isolated incidents of random street crime are reframed as a nationwide plague upon innocent and vulnerable white people by deviant and naturally criminal blacks.
The sensational allure of the knockout game is drawn from the same racial and cultural imagination as D.W. Griffith's infamously racist film Birth of a Nation. The cultural trope of the black brute, rapist, and thug, are as central to American memory as is George Washington, apple pie, and the myth of rugged individualism and American exceptionalism.
Consequently, the allure of the knockout game for white conservatives and the Right-wing media (in an era where racism and conservatism are one in the same) is irresistible and instinctive.
The supposedly “liberal media” is influenced by similar forces.
Research in media studies, sociology, communications, and political science has repeatedly demonstrated that this supposedly "liberal" news media exaggerates and misrepresents the amount of crime in American society, emphasizes crimes committed by blacks against white people, underplays and does not report crimes committed by whites against black people (and or other white people), and actively reproduces white racist narratives that link African-Americans with crime and criminality.
Ultimately, the moral panic about the knockout game has little to do with crime and public safety.
The knockout game meme is a byproduct of a white cultural obsession with black criminals, and a reflection of a political environment where insecurity about changing racial demographics, and the election of the United States' first black president, have combined to create cognitive and emotional upset for a good number of white Americans. These racial fears, resentments, and anxieties are catered to and nourished by a Right-wing media that birthed and rapaciously disseminated the knockout game narrative.
It is important to note that crime is at record lows in the United States. Most crime is intraracial. A person is more likely to be victimized by someone they know and who looks like them than by a stranger.
Perhaps, the appeal of the knockout game narrative lies in its randomness? Maybe the knockout game is especially pernicious and salacious in that regard?
If that is the case, there are many other crimes in the United States that should be given at least the same amount of attention by the news media as has been received by the knockout game.
There is no equivalent moral panic about the mass shootings committed by white men, in which dozens, if not hundreds of people, have been killed and injured. Likewise, there is no mass hysteria about the record growth in the number of white hate groups and militias with the expressed intent of overthrowing the United States government and of waging a war on people of color.
The moral panic, by design, exaggerates isolated incidents into a plague and epidemic that is a threat to all "good" people in "normal" society.