The national media doesn't care what happens to Jameis Winston or the potential victim in his on-going case.
The truth is that he might be a monster, but we have no idea at the moment. Winston is accused of sexual assault, and his DNA was found on the accuser’s underwear. Winston’s attorney claims the sex was consensual, so the verdict will essentially be a he-said, she-said type of deal. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence on a college campus, when young people, alcohol, drugs, egos and peer pressure all combine for a potentially evil force. One in four women will be sexually assaulted while studying in college, but rarely are the issues surrounding college and alcohol discussed on a big scale, or even on college campuses. Instead, the media focuses on the two individuals involved, for better or, as is most often the case, for worse.
The whole situation is terrible, but it’s more than likely we’ll never know the truth. Even though members of the media may hit on the correct theory, they’ll have no way of verifying whether they’re spitting the truth or straight conjecture when discussing his case.
That’s not really a problem for the mainstream media, though. Facts no longer determine what is “news” by national media, instead powered by clicks, ratings and the almighty dollar, while utilizing fear tactics to keep people afraid, scared and worst of all, uninformed. Many media members are only concerned with airtime, paychecks and whether their Heisman vote will look bad in hindsight. The news cycle has officially become a business cycle. It’s all for profit, and it’s run by shady, behind-the-scenes corporations who also have large stakes in the private prison industry.
Right now, the media has people believing groups of black kids are roaming the streets looking to knock an unsuspecting civilian unconscious for sh*ts and giggles. You’ve all seen the video of that, right? Or at the very least, NBC’s panel discussing the emerging trend gripping our youth and destroying our society as we know it called the Knockout Game?
Despite the warning from Jeff Rossen, who “reported” on this issue, saying, “This is something we wanted to warn you about this because it clearly keeps on happening,” it turns out most of the stock footage used in these highlight reels, like the professor getting jacked on his way home from work, isn’t from 2013. All those cases that are “piling up nationwide” turns out to be a mere seven (which is about the same number of people actually offended by Rob Ford smoking crack, another favorite media moment).
That hasn’t stopped politicians from seizing advantage. New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco proposed a law that would put someone above the age of 14 in prison for 25 years for taking part, filming or just being party to someone hitting someone else in the Knockout Game (Note: this is the same strategy they used to pass marijuana laws).
It’s a bit tired to call the media racist, but it’s also a bit hard to ignore the fact that the media ignored “Peasant Hunting” in NOLA, where white folks shot black folks after Katrina, “Beaner Jumping,” which takes place because Mexicans are supposedly likely to carry cash and are unlikely to call the cops, or “Spook Hunting,” from LA (which are all detailed here). Of course, anyone who’s aware of the Central Park Five already knows all about the media hustle.
So I won’t call them racist, but opportunist fits the bill quite well. Journalism, in its truest sense, is dead in these companies, replaced by click-hunting and ratings-grabs. Headlines become egregious misrepresentations of stories because they’re more interesting, stories about what Kim Kardashian is wearing get elevated above columns that took actual talent and/or ability to create, and news ceases to exist. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts,” CNN President Jeff Zucker told CapitalNewYork.com.
The shift away from news means companies get to do away with journalism and can bring on the capitalism. Stories that have journalistic merit get stiffed, while stories that get clicks, regardless of method, are promoted. This mentality allows media to avoid questioning whether a story is a. true b. verifiable c. worthy or d. honest so long as it garners clicks, hits or ratings, aka advertising dollars. It only takes one company to come out and boldly declare something before the rest of the media hoard chimes in citing “reports” all hoping to get their piece of the pie.
In the case of Jameis Winston, the media all followed TMZ.
TMZ put in a request to the Tallahassee Police on Winston and happened to discover his alleged involvement in an ongoing sexual abuse case. He was not found guilty, not charged, nor was he arrested. In fact, it’s hard to tell whether he was even aware a case was pending.
That doesn’t really matter. Winston is a big name at a big school having one of the best seasons in history. This man could steal soda using water cups at Burger King and still make national news (thank you, USA Today). Any details, true, possibly true or made-up completely would generate attention, and they did. You can’t bring up Winston’s name in public without someone’s eyebrows going up, someone making a bad joke, or a strong-willed female getting disgusted at the entire system.
She has every right to be. The way women are treated in situations like these is absolutely disgusting, so disgusting that the words from Detective Angulo— telling the family’s attorney that Tallahassee was a big football town and the victim needs to think long and hard before proceeding against him because she will be raked over the coals and her life will be made miserable—often construed as strong-arming by the media, is actually extremely sound advice.
Think about Steubenville, OH. A high school girl was raped by members of the football team only to be slut-shamed into suicide once the national media picked up the story. Can you imagine how magnified this would be at Tallahassee? Even worse, can you imagine people walking about campus in shirts with your attackers face superimposed over Jesus?
But what if he isn’t an attacker, and the sex was consensual, as Winston’s attorney stated? Then we’ve got a Brian Banks situation on our hands. Banks was convicted of raping his high school girlfriend before accepting his scholarship to USC, which could have propelled him onto greater things in the NFL. His conviction was overturned after the girl was recorded admitting she made up the ordeal for money. Banks ultimately got his shot in the NFL, but only lasted a few months.
It happened to a former FSU player under Bobby Bowden as well. Travis Johnson was accused of rape a decade ago, and though he was acquitted by an all-female jury who needed less than 30 minutes to make up their minds, the trail loomed over him as he prepared for the NFL. “There’s a reason I met with all 32 teams,” Johnson told Tallahassee.com. “Because all 32 teams wanted to know what happened. … In this country, you are guilty until proven innocent. In the court of public opinion, they crucify you.”
A crucifixion might be appropriate for the man known as Jesus Winston, but it’s the media who should suffer the pain for the inexcusable witch-hunt they create in just about every scenario they can find.
National media going in on a story often has drastic consequences that are often ignored in the pursuit of profit. War updates look like movie promotions and incessant coverage of mass shootings serves to inspire copycats.
The media, however, infects you with Mean World Syndrome and make-believe their role is vital to the safety of the public, but they usually report on stories that make people out to be demonic psychopaths. It makes you feel unsafe, so you feel the need to pay more attention to what’s going on, which sadly only perpetuates the cycle.
Rather than discuss the actual issues—which, if solved, would partially eliminate the need for these ridiculous channels in the first place—like FSU’s problematic culture surrounding football or how to reduce the number of women getting raped while striving for higher education, they focus on the scary details to keep viewers coming back, and to keep viewers hyper aware of crime and criminals. It’s in their best interest to spread these messages because several mass media companies, which are mostly controlled by just six corporations, are also owned by companies who run private prisons.
Vanguard Group Incorporated is one such company. They are the largest stakeholder in Corrections Corporations of America and the third-largest stakeholder in GEO Group (two companies specifically profiled in the ACLU's Prison Profiteers website), which owns 101 private prisons, second only to CCoA. Vanguard also happens to be third-largest stakeholder in both Time Warner and Viacom, a company that merged with CBS in 1999. CBS used to go by the name Westinghouse, but perhaps wanted to separate themselves from a company that also produces weapons, is one of the top defense contractors for the US government and just so happened to invent the electric chair.
The second-largest stakeholder in the CCoA is a company called BlackRock, a company that also has the sixth-largest stake in GEO. They focus more on the media side though, and are the single largest stakeholders in both Viacom and Time Warner. Both the GEO and CCoA were players in passing things like three strike laws (in addition to many other big businesses), in part because they have a guaranteed contract with the government that mandates that their private prisons will maintain a rate of at least 90 percent capacity.
Media companies–scratch that, let's just go with multinational corporations, since that's what we're actually dealing with–are motivated to keep people thinking there are mass murderers around every corner, your favorite football player might rape you, and that you shouldn’t walk down the street in case a teenager punches you in the face—and it happens to be an easier sell and financially profitable if all of these people are minorities that can be dealt with by prison time.
If you’re not aware of these dangerous issues, you are definitely not safe. Especially if you pay attention to the excuse for news currently shoved down our throats on a 24/7 basis.