Of course, American media has been camped out in Baltimore since violence broke out in the city on April 27. As we know, “if it bleeds, it leads.” But some residents are unhappy with how the media only arrived in the city once stores started being looted, and things were set on fire.
MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts was on the ground in Baltimore, anchoring that network’s coverage. Roberts was interviewing people on the street, and asking their opinions about the riots and looting. When he spoke to protester Danielle Williams, Roberts may have gotten a response he wasn’t expecting.
Roberts starts by asking Williams why she is out on the street, taking part in the protest. She tells him that she wants to be there to represent her city, and show everyone that Baltimore is not some sort of scary, terrible place. She says that it is time for the city to come together, and to let the country know that they want justice for Freddie Gray.
Roberts asks Williams, “What type of message do you think it sends to the world, when we’re waiting on that justice…that we see residents last night looting and rioting in the city?”
Williams’ reply sums up the frustration felt by many in the black community, when it comes to having their grievances heard by those in power. She tells Roberts:
My question to you is, when we were out here protesting all last week for six days straight peacefully, there were no news cameras, there were no helicopters, there was no riot gear, and nobody heard us. So now that we’ve burned down buildings and set businesses on fire and looted buildings, now all of the sudden everybody wants to hear us. Why does it take a catastrophe like this, for America to hear our cry?
Williams nails it. As reported by the Baltimore Sun, peaceful protests began in the city on April 18, the day before Freddie Gray died. Those protests continued, with little or no violence, for over a week. But the national media only arrived after the rioting and looting started. And, as soon as the violence ends, the media exit will soon follow. We’ve seen it so much, it has become as predictable as the sunrise.
Here’s the video of Thomas Roberts’ interview, via MSNBC: