By Frederick H. Lowe
There have been a lot of newspaper and television stories about Emmanuel Aranda throwing a five-year-old boy over a third-floor balcony at the Mall of America in Minneapolis.
Media outlets reported the story as if it’s only straight news that will attract a large reading and viewing audience. It is, and it isn’t.
Posting a black man’s face on the front page is guaranteed to attract many readers, many of them frightened by the very presence of a black man.
However, news outlets need to do more than feed readers’ fears, which is a holdover from old-time journalism when segregationists ran the country and the country’s newspapers.
As society has grown more complex, the news media is still locked in the“5 Ws and H” (who, what, why, when, where, and how story-writing style when much more is being asked and demanded of them by society.
Reporters and editors should now be asking how can we help this man or this woman and in doing so help the community.
Aranda is mentally ill, and a medical professional or professionals, not just the police, should be offering an opinion about his psychological state and how and where he should be treated and for how long.
Police love to lock up people and throw away the key, especially black men, but Aranda needs more help than the police have the expertise to provide.
Court records show Aranda had been ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation for previous incidents at the mall.
Why didn’t he get help? Police departments need to be reduced and replaced by more mental-health care professionals.
We need to put mental health assistance on the front end and push the police to the back. What also must go is the media’s old way of reporting and writing stories which was depicted in the 1940’s newspaper movie “His Girl Friday,” when a reporter laughed and talked about writing about “jigaboos.’