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Criticisms of Media’s Treatment of Filmed Black Death vs White Death

The suspected shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams

The suspected shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams

A man, described by authorities as a disgruntled former colleague, gunned down a reporter and cameraman during a live broadcast Wednesday morning, then posted video of the shooting online. The suspect, identified as Vester Lee Flanagan aka Bryce Williams, turned the gun on himself hours later. He died at the hospital from a self inflicted gun shot wound, authorities said.

Flanagan, 41, recorded himself carrying out the attack and posted the video on his social media accounts after fleeing the scene. On twitter, a user identifying as Flanagan tweeted, saying: “I filmed the shooting see Facebook”. Both the Facebook account and Twitter account were suspended.

While the video circulated on social media, various media outlets began to become heavily criticized for airing the footage. CNN, said it would no longer air the footage after announcing it would show the video “once every hour”.

Users on twitter quickly noticed how the media and public treated visuals of white victimhood as opposed to Black victimhood. For many, it was a continuation of protecting the sanctity and humanity of Whiteness. Images of Black death however were products for media consumption. The same outlets who opposed airing the shootings, have played and replayed footage of Blacks being the victims of police violence.

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