After quickly reading both snippets I must agree with the meme’s sentiment but in an unintended way.
I see both selections as too touchy-feely to have been considered “journalistic.” They provide us too few facts about two wildly different sorts of individuals and leave viewers (we are not really “readers” as we don’t have either selection in its entirety) with a false sense of understanding. Michael Brown was of course in the infancy-stage of criminality and who knows, maybe he never would have stolen anything again, nor used illegal substances again. Regardless, compared to the romantic portrayal of the UnaBomber on the right, I grant that the molecularly thin Positive Spray-Coating the NYT (cleverly) applied to the Brown piece on the left IS harder to see. Ted K., the UnaBomber, was of course never excoriated by the liberal media as other violent types have been; he’s practically meant to be worshipped here (also from the NYT we are to presume): he was living a hippy dippy woodsy lifestyle; an organic back-to-Nature dude who provided them the ultimate example of an activist, literally a Social Justice Warrior. UnaB ate, drank, slept, and exploded the leftists’ own late-1960’s down-with-the-System beliefs (Weather-kaboom-Underground, anyone?). UnaB got out of his armchair (presuming he even had one) and took his fight directly to The Man.
Jordan Lebeau, a Black writer at Boston.com, agrees wholeheartedly with the straightforward intention of the meme-maker; JL sees the NYT as having written a gotcha-piece on Michael Brown. He thinks a white guy dying-young in similar circumstances would never have his past brought up like MB’s is in the NYT. Well, if that’s true then I’d suggest Lebeau (I didn’t want to “register” to leave this comment for him) needs to take it up with The Times as well as everywhere and every other time he actually sees such bias, rather than try and make me or any other White person feel guilty when facts about the living or dead are revealed.
But now consider the NYT’s clever use of language on the M. Brown side of the above meme/poster – as well as the juxtaposition of terms in several of those paired thoughts:
1) the “was NO ANGEL (-),” gives the initial impression this is a negative piece, but keep reading carefully;
2) “both PROBLEMS (-) and PROMISE (+) in his YOUNG (+) life;” we are left with the + terms ringing in our ears; “young” typically implies innocent; merely reading some of his rap “lyrics” will clue you in that MB was no naive child;
3) “his ENCOUNTER (+ or neutral) with Officer Wilson;” Confrontation-with or Questioning-by or Stop-by would have been negative in that it would indicate to most readers the cop likely had some probable-cause to act;
4) “the POLICE (-) SAY (+/-) he was caught on security camera;” as opposed to witnesses’ statements or judging for oneself by looking at the footage on the internet;
5) A 6’3” nearly 300 lb. guy, “PUSHING (+/-) the (passive, puny by comparison) clerk…into a display case;” imagine if it had been a FEMALE clerk; with that great a physical disparity there’s hardly any doubt it would have been called an ASSAULT (-);
6) A community with, “ROUGH PATCHES;” huh? What does this mean other than perhaps excusing MB for dealing with it through escapism…
7) “…he DABBLED IN (+) drugs and alcohol;” in fact he was a CRIMINAL (-) (by virtue of the drug use, who knows at what ages he used booze); dabbled-in sounds downright playful and appeals perfectly to the NYT’s readership;
8) “producing lyrics…by turns CONTEMPLATIVE (+) and VULGAR (-/+); now Contemplative makes him sound practically like a poet; we all know there’s nothing wrong with vulgar lyrics; that’d be judgmental against an entire segment of the Music Industry built upon vulgarity;
9) A “SCUFFLE (neutral or +) with a neighbor;” scuffle could be bad, but absent details it could sound downright childlike, but, question: how do we know about this, were charges brought then dropped; was blood spilled but no cops called?
So what say you…anti-Black Bias? clever Opinion-Shaping? or plain old Piss-Poor “Reporting?”