By MEAGHAN McCLURE
The riots occurring in Ferguson, Mo., protesting the death of the unarmed, black teen Mike Brown, have been in the news media since early August. The ongoing social movement focuses on an issue mainly of race and civil rights.
Over the weekend, Pumpkinfest in Keene, N.H., sparked riots that stemmed from drunk college partiers.
After media coverage was released of the Keene riots, and because of some similarities between the two situations, people took to Twitter to criticize the media’s handling of both events.
Tweets such as, “The kids at #keenestate threw beer cans at cops and got arrested. Mike Brown threw his hands up and caught SIX shots” highlight the distaste for the inequality of both situations. Many of the Twitter users believe that Keene State’s riots were just as bad, but Ferguson attracted more negative media.
In an article from CNN, experts say that the two situations cannot be compared, because what happened in Keene was a riot and the events in Ferguson are part of an ongoing political movement.
The article does state, however, that Twitter was right in criticizing the media for racial discrepancies.
While Ferguson “riots” are aftermath of a unarmed teen killed by police, Keene was a riot of drunken students purely looking for a good time, which escalated into the riots. Despite the drastic differences in intentions of both situations, the media managed to use more loaded words and negative connotations when reporting on Ferguson than on Keene.
While participants in the Ferguson protests were labeled by news media as “thugs,” Keene rioters were only described as “rowdy.” Also, according to the media, Ferguson is made up of “animals destroying their community,” where Keene is just “mischief cause by booze filled revelers.”
These inconsistencies in news coverage of two similar, but drastically different, events are inexcusable. Because of the way these events are portrayed in the news, white behavior is normalized and made okay, while black behavior is condemned and allows for the prolonging of racism.
Even though Ferguson had significantly more important motives for riots, it was seen as violent and unacceptable in the media, while the events in Keene were excused as drunk kids trying to have a good time. The media’s coverage of issues like these perpetuate racism and the ongoing cycle, which is unacceptable in a society so heavily influenced by the media.