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As first mentioned in this diary, last night Jon Stewart lampooned media outlets for transforming a few isolated assaults into an all-out black on white race war, all the while turning a mostly blind eye to an actual, legitimate threat:  our nation's rampant problem with gun violence.

Despite shrill claims of right wing rags that they are burying the story, the media has done its best to convince white folks that gangs of black teens are roaming every street looking to punch white victims in the head in order to exorcise their racial resentment:

...The "knockout game," [is] a vicious assault perpetrated by young African-American males against Jews and whites across the nation. In the assaults, unsuspecting pedestrians are punched violently in the head so that the black youths can prance around exhilarated about their successful "knockout."

News outlets have reported that the racial assaults are called "polar bear hunting" because the victims are always white.

Except for this guy, apparently.

The only problem?  It's just the latest case of the media blowing a story out of proportion to get people to tune in--and in some cases to feed the meme that the white majority is under assault.  It's rendolent of past fake panics over "wilding" in Central Park in the 1980s, people hiding under your car so they can slash your Achilles tendon with a razor, and that email your aunt keeps forwarding to you about the venomous spider lurking under public toilet seats.

Yes, there are idiots out there doing idiotic things for idiotic--and sometimes sinister--reasons.  No, they are not waiting around every corner.
It's also fair to ask whether the media is actually increasing copycat assaults through their breathless "oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god" reporting of the phenomenon.

The real tragedy is that while the media fuels an urban legend, it is, for the most part, ignoring the much larger but decidedly less sexy problem of a gun murder rate that continues to spiral out of control.  

Since the Newtown massacre, which saw the lives of twenty small children and six school staff brutally snuffed out, the following things have taken place:

27 school shootings have occurred

194 children under the age of 12 have been killed with a gun

109 gun-related bills have passed--70 of them loosening gun restrictions, 39 of them strengthening gun restrictions

And, not surprisingly, the United States continues to reign supreme as the international leader in homicides.  It's not even close.

But we spend our time watching grainy cell phone videos of people getting punched in the head, ignoring the much larger problem.  Our media takes it for granted that almost 15,000 people a year will be murdered in our nation--it's not even a story.

And this media negligence creates the perception among our legislators that people aren't all that eager for change, giving them license to sit around with their thumbs up their asses while 41 people a day are murdered in our country.

Sandy Hook victims

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