Breakdown: How WaPo Further Pushes Division

As I was clicking around trying to find an article to breakdown, I punched in the hashtag PostforthePress and found this little gem.

What’s that meme? Fatal shootings killed more men. Women most affected. *eye roll*

Before we get to the wording of the article, I want to highlight the opening portion of the article itself, the changing pictures of the scroll.

The Title

The title is worded to pull you in, especially if you are a feminist and a BLM follower/supporter. Notice the numbers and how far they went back to get that statistic.


This is the picture under the title. It is meant to evoke an emotional response. They could have used a real picture of her, but chose to use a piece of artwork instead.

When you scroll, there are two things to notice:
1. The change of picture in order to highlight the text.
2. The text that is a brief synopsis of how she died.
There is nothing false about the statement above.

This is the next slide. Notice how the picture is now a dot? Take notice of the phrases “often overlooked” and “consistent subset”. This is to make you believe the problem is more severe than it is and that is ignored in order to highlight the deaths of men.
They bring it home by using the dash and writing “women” after it. This type of writing is to bring attention to a word you deliberately want people to notice. It’s a tactic used by writers to make you remember certain words while they tell a story in fiction. In the journalistic world, it is a tactic used to push a certain narrative.

They have no text here, but they make it a point to name more women in the next slide. This is to drive home a point.

Now, this is for dramatic effect and to evoke emotion, not just any emotion. The purpose of these slides is to keep the outrage going and redirect it away from the overarching problem with the story they are trying to tell, excessive use of force and the murder of people by the police.

Here, they make an assertion in order to further stoke outrage and frustration. They say her story was pushed aside for Ahmaud Arbery (Was killed February 23, 2020), and George Floyd (Died May 25, 2021).
May I remind you that Arbery’s case was swiftly dealt with and quickly forgotten about when Breonna Taylor’s case came into the limelight with her death on March 13, 2020.
No, she was not forgotten, but it is typed as though it was to elicit sympathy and anger.
If anyone’s case fell through the news cycle, it was Arbery’s, not Taylors.

They defeat their own argument here. How did she fall through the cracks when all this happened? To this day, her name is on every list and the hashtag attributed to her can be seen whenever a shooting event happens. If she was forgotten, would any of the above have taken place?

Take a look at the first line of this paragraph. Why are they not as well known? Could it be because their cases had circumstance in which shooting them was justified in the eyes of the law, or is it that the press could not be bothered to report on it because it would not generate the outrage Breonna or George did?

All to often with these types of articles, they post statistics to affirm their bias and assertions but don’t offer any reasons as to why the numbers seem proportionately high.

Why? Why are they? They mention “collateral damage” after rehashing the details of the Taylor case, but nothing more about how this demographic suffered more than all the others.

What to watch for…

Articles like this aim to change the focus of an issue or topic. It further sections off a problem to appeal to a certain group and stoke outrage in that group. It seeks to change the focus of rage from a large issue to a smaller, more segregated issue.
It will use facts to pull you in and keep you reading. Once they have you, they will skew those facts to alter your perception of an issue.
A bigger example of this would be if I were to ask you to research unarmed white men that were shot by police and then compare it to unarmed black men that were shot. Then I will ask you this. Why is it only the black people who are shot in the media?
It’s because they want you to think that there is racial issue with police and minority communities. They want you to keep the racial fire stoked and you too enraged to think clearly and critically.

Source of article.

Categories: Breakdowns

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