Sunday, August 28, 2011

We Gone Find You: The Media's Search For Stereotypes?

Kevin Antoine Dodson, better known for as for his sensational TV interview, on the outside appears to be a comical, laughable character. But when analyzed from a journalistic, academic standpoint, the journalism conducted by WAFF-48 News is sloppy. Reckless? Yes. Intended to promote the stereotype associated with the 'projects'? No.

The story, which is often forgotten amid the humor that surrounded Dodson's antics, is about the attempted rape of his sister, Kelly Dodson. She is interviewed by the reporter for a short amount of time while Antoine is interviewed ranting and raving about the home intruder.

In this, the story is lost that a potential rapist is on the lose. Unless you count Dodson's words as a public service announcement, Channel 48 is careless in its attempts to relay important information to the public. Did it mean to portray Dodson and his sister as uneducated, casing a bad light on the poor? No, but the reporter is responsible for the amount of time she let Dodson speak.

When confronted about the story's lack of sensitivity towards the poor and casting them in a negative light, the TV station responded that it would be doing far worse NOT showing the story. I agree with this statement because it is the job the reporter to find the stories of both the rich and the poor, literate and illiterate. When the media starts to determine who can and cannot speak for themselves is when we will lose stories we need to know.

 However, the presentation of the story was all wrong. Even more, I without a doubt know that Kelly Dodson said was more than what she was quoted saying in the story. So I do find it hypocritical of the news station to limit what Kelly said yet give Antoine nearly a minute worth of air time.

What surprises me most about the story is its complete lack of an authority speaking on the matter. Not a single police officer, city official, or investigator is interviewed in the process.

So is the story meant to be racist? Or promote a stereotype? No, I disagree with that argument. Yes it does show Kelly Dodson with a lot of kids, which might promote the stereotype of black women having many children. I think otherwise and that her children are part of her visual story, bringing the human element to the story. Kelly Dodson is a mother, and we all have mothers, making the story hit closer to home when some one attempts to rape her. The story is not meant to be racist although you can see what you want with any story out there. Rather, the story is sloppy and careless with its presentation of the facts.