By the Editorial Board
After Tribune of the People exposed Keith L. Edmonds as the Pittsburgh police officer who murdered Jim Rogers, an unarmed, homeless Black man, there has been a complete media blackout in Pittsburgh on Edmonds’ identity despite clear video evidence. While these media outlets claim to be ‘unbiased’ and ‘objective’ reporters, they show themselves as nothing more than despicable lap dogs of the police, owned by the massive monopolies run by the US imperialist ruling class.
Tribune broke the identity of Edmonds as Rogers’ murderer last Thursday evening. There is no question that Edmonds is Rogers’ killer, as the video evidence and eyewitness reports leave no room for dispute and fulfill journalistic standards. While the major media outlets in the Pittsburgh area are aware of this information, they have deliberately chosen to ignore it by refusing to publicize Edmonds’ identity.
The outlets uncritically repeat police reports that Rogers was “violent” and parrot the accusation that Rogers supposedly stole a bike. Not only did Rogers return the bike he had found, but the media doesn’t question the fact that Edmonds murdered him on account of this supposed theft. Pittsburgh media outlets have even gone so far as to report on a vigil and rally for Rogers held on Friday while actively blurring posters with Edmonds’ name and face on them, showing a willingness to go above and beyond to protect the police.
While there are examples of these types of monopoly media outlets releasing information that makes police departments look bad in the public eye, the regular practice of these ‘news’ outlets are to accept the word of the police as truth until proven wrong. In their view, they cannot release this information until the ‘authorities,’ i.e. the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police or the ruling class government themselves, confirm that its true. The ruling class journalists rely on the police and government as a source of information and maintaining this relationship is more important than sharing the truth about the crimes of the police against the people.
Tribune uses the term ‘monopoly media’ for these outlets in order to describe their class nature and their function in society. The imperialist economic system that we live in today is run by monopolies, massive corporations that dominate the economic life of the world’s people and wield power over society through their state. Media is no different in this regard, as six massive corporations own the vast majority of all US media properties–from television and film to news networks, magazines, publishers and popular internet sites. The monopoly media giants own so much of what the people watch, read, and listen to that they are able to obscure the facts and twist the truth to favor their class–the imperialist ruling class.
Local news affiliates, while adopting the air of a ‘community’ institution, are all part of these monopolies. The massive companies that own them, like Comcast (NBC), Viacom (CBS), FOX, etc. and are run by the same imperialists that control the government, military, and police. The editorial standards and reporting agendas of the local affiliates answer to this. These media outlets work together with other apparatuses of the state to control how stories are covered in order to adhere to the political lines of the ruling class.
Why? Because they cannot help but adhere to the ruling class’s agenda; otherwise they would lose their “color” and be dissolved, or even repressed as counter-productive. This contradiction was apparent during the May Uprisings last year, when the police attacked or arrested journalists, even from the media monopolies themselves. It wasn’t that the monopolies had taken the side of the people, but when their cameras were live as the rebellions exploded, the ruling class could not filter reality in the way they are usually able to, and its police forces had to take more drastic measures to preserve the illusion.
Even when the monopoly media reports on topics such as police brutality, worker exploitation, or government corruption, they do so in order to funnel people back into supporting the very system that causes these things in the first place. They try to portray these crimes against the people as exceptions, and paint the media as an independent watchdog, holding the powerful to account. In reality, the media is the powerful–the bosses, the CEOs, the politicians– they are not on the side of the average worker. This is why they cannot tell the truth about the system which divides society into two opposing forces—the ruling bourgeois owner and oppressed proletarian worker.
The monopoly media is nothing more than another public relations body for the police because their interests are firmly aligned with the State, regardless of whether they support the Republicans or Democrats, or frame themselves as ‘conservative’ or ‘progressive’. No matter their political costume, they push the ideas of the ruling class which serve to divide the people and alienate them from the truth. The ruling class has to lie in order to justify things as they are, because for the people things are unacceptable as they are.
If you are rightly outraged by police murder of Jim Rogers, then help spread his name, and his killer’s name, Keith Edmonds, far and wide. If the Pittsburgh news outlets refuse to state the truth, the people will find creative ways to raise Rogers’ name and make sure Keith Edmonds is known as an enemy of the people. Most of all, committing to the fight for revolution to throw out this backwards society is the means to honor Rogers and all the victims of the police.
With media under the control of the imperialist monopolies it is no wonder so many people in the US are skeptical of the news and the false narratives they put forth. This is why the workers of the US need a media outlet like Tribune of the People; we do not pretend that we are a non-partisan source of information—we are on the side of the workers and the people who struggle in the oppressive, exploitative society we live in. This means telling the truth and not obscuring the reality that society exists as the antagonistic contradiction between ruler and ruled.
This truth is inherently revolutionary, because the reality of this society—its racist police murders, its daily exploitation of workers, its mounting crises after crises—calls for revolution.
If you want to be part of building a news service that stands on the side of the people and the working class and will continue to fight to expose the truth of this exploitative society, we encourage you to reach out to us to get involved. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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