The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

The Decaturian is Millikin's student-run newspaper. The opinions reflected may not be those of Millikin as an institution.

The Decaturian

When will the Media Stop Picking and Choosing what Makes the News?

A Tribute to Jonathan Lewis
When will the Media Stop Picking and Choosing what Makes the News?

On November 1st, Jonathan Lewis, a 17-year-old high school student was brutally beaten by a group of about 15 similarly aged youth, all African Americans, after an altercation involving a stolen pair of wireless headphones and maybe a marijuana pen. This story is devastating news, but why are we just now finding out about it 26 days after the event occurred? The answer is quite simple. The media shows an indifference to crime that happen to white Americans, picking and choosing from which stories get major coverage, often at the expense of white Americans.  

Lewis’ younger friend had a pair of wireless earbuds and possibly a marijuana pen stolen from him and was thrown into a trash can after. When he attempted to intervene and protect his friend, Lewis was brutally beaten, which can be clearly seen in many videos online, leading to his hospitalization and eventual death after several days on life support.  

Imagine the headlines if there was a group of white individuals who carried this same disgusting act out. There would be riots in the streets. The attack would be labeled as an act of white supremacy, and there would be calls for change. This attack is clearly different though, as the media has ensured that it has taken a backseat to more “important” stories. 

Sure, there are articles that can be found on the internet about the incident. However, the language used in the articles is extremely revealing. The perpetrators are labeled as “subjects”, “juveniles”, and “suspects”. This is how they should be labeled. However, what would white individuals who carried out the same attack be labeled as? They would instantly be labeled as “white supremacists” or “racists” and a whole other list of names that I cannot include in print. 

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This is not an argument that crimes against African Americans should not be taken seriously or get sufficient media coverage. That is not at all what I am attempting to argue. What I am saying is ending racism is a two-way street. Ending racism will come because of treating people the way that they deserve to be treated, with respect, regardless of the color of their skin. This attack against Jonathan Lewis was likely not racially motivated, and if it was, this would be very difficult to prove, but if the attack was carried out by white Americans against a black individual, it is difficult to imagine the attack being labeled as anything else but racist. 

The official cause of Lewis’ death was blunt force trauma. He was brutally beaten for sticking up for his smaller friend. He was simply attempting to stick up for his friend when he was beaten, leading to his life being ended for trying to do the right thing. 

I do not believe that this attack was carried out due to the color of Lewis’ skin. However, we must acknowledge the hypocrisy involved in each article published about the incident by the major media of the internet. CNN’s report of the crime does not claim any motives were involved in the crime. A few clicks later lead to a claim that “George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training – the training was there. Chauvin knew what he was doing.”  

George Floyd’s death was a tragedy, and it should be treated as such. His death deserves all of the coverage it received. However, I am simply attempting to shed light on the way the media portrays different crimes depending on who commits them.  

The news needs to function as it should, providing adequate coverage on stories that deserve adequate coverage. It is extremely unfortunate that Jonathan Lewis will likely be a name that is forgotten, simply because the media did not believe that his story was worthy of mass promotion or remembrance. But I will not forget Lewis’ name, and I will do my best to ensure that others do not as well. 

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About the Contributor
Kemper Koslofski, Editor-in-Chief
Editor-in-Chief: January 2023-Present Sports Editor: March 2023-December 2023

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