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Lost in Transmission: Celebrity-Obsessed Media Ignores Rise In Murders

Lost in Transmission: Celebrity-Obsessed Media Ignores Rise In Murders

You might think the fact that more than 40 people were shot in Chicago this past weekend would get some headlines around the country. You’d be wrong. 

Once again, the media is treating the hellacious violence in Chicago as an afterthought. The fact that Kim Kardashian West was robbed in Paris, on the other hand, became a major news story with constant updates (Kanye just left his concert! Kim’s on an airplane home now!) and sympathetic tweets from fellow celebrities. 

I get that we live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, but do you think the oh-so-serious journalists understand that while one of these stories might bring in the ratings, the other one actually impacts the lives of thousands of people? What does it say when the average media outlet finds the Kardashian West armed robbery to be far more important a story than the violence in Chicago? 

Sure, Kim Kardashian West is hugely famous. She had about $9 million in jewelry taken from her at gunpoint by criminals who were apparently impersonating police. I get the fascination, especially when you add in the scores of celebrities responding and reacting to Kardashian West’s robbery on social media. It’s such low-hanging fruit for the cable news networks and websites like The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed that it would be truly shocking if reporters and editors exhibited any kind of restraint. 

Compare those reasons to the reasons to avoid paying much attention to the violence in Chicago. For one, it’s a “dog bites man” story. Crime in Chicago isn’t unusual, even if it’s been getting worse over the past couple of years. The victims aren’t famous. Many of them are criminals themselves, but even the innocent victims aren’t celebrities. They’re teenagers sitting on their front steps. They’re elderly folks doing yard work. They’re bus drivers. They’re cabbies. They aren’t Kardashians, so they are largely forgotten. Once again, the media is treating the hellacious violence in Chicago as an afterthought.

The media elites also demonstrated their contempt for the average American when the nation’s crime statistics for 2015 were recently released. The FBI doesn’t keep track of violent crimes committed against celebrities, but for the nation as a whole we saw an almost 4-percent jump in violent crimes. The homicide rate skyrocketed almost 11 percent last year, which is the biggest one-year jump since 1971. Yet the prevailing sense among the media is that these statistics weren’t a big deal. After all, many noted, crime has been dropping for more than 25 years, crime didn’t increase in every city across the country, and crime is still lower in many cases than it was five years ago. All of that is true. Yet the statistics that we’ve seen so far this year in many cities seem to indicate that the increase seen in 2015 may be the start of a trend, rather than a one-year statistical blip. 

The same media that breathlessly reported on the armed robbery of Kardashian West yawned at the news of the rise in violent crime. This same media will uncritically cover and discuss the additional security measures that the Kardashians are sure to take in response to the robbery, while also proclaiming that they don’t see any reason why the average American needs to own a gun for self-defense. (I suspect Kim Kardashian West will become even more involved with the Bloomberg-backed Everytown for Gun Safety as well.) And while that happens, more and more Americans will exercise their right to keep and bear arms for the very first time, and fewer and fewer of us will be listening to our self-proclaimed media masters.

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