Earlier this month, Jim Geraghty wondered if the killing of Paul Kessler would start a national conversation. You probably don’t even understand his question, which is an illustration of the fact that the media usually determines what event should spark a national conversation.
Paul Kessler is the 69-year-old Jewish man who died of a head injury at an event in Thousand Oaks, California. The Los Angeles Times reported the incident that occurred when pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian protestors were in the street. The editors could have reported it as the first time a Jewish death occurred at a time of rising antisemitism. Instead, it was just a story of a clash in a suburb outside of Los Angeles.
Jim Geraghty reminds us that “this wasn’t random violence. Paul Kessler went to a demonstration seeking to exercise his God-given, constitutionally protected rights to assemble and speak, and somebody on the other side felt entitled to knock him around and ended up killing him. This should horrify and outrage us.”
In the past, we have seen the media take a local incident and turn it into a national story followed by calls for a national conversation on a controversial social issue. A mass shooting, an anti-gay comment, racist graffiti, and a threat to an abortion clinic are local stories that became national stories because the media decided to use the incident to spark a national conversation. “If newsrooms wanted to make the name Paul Kessler famous, they could. He could be depicted as a martyr to free speech and the First Amendment.”
Once again this is a reminder that we should use discernment when watching the news and reading news stories. The media elite still work to determine what is important enough for a national conversation.