Treyvon Martin And Clarence Thomas Essay

1583 words - 6 pages

On February 26, 2012, an apparently innocent teenager was shot as he walked home through his neighborhood late at night. The Trayvon Martin killing and trial has recently been one of the primary topics covered by the media in America. The response to the news coverage of the case has been staggering. Students have organized hoodie marches and created Facebook groups to protest the unjustified murder of the young man. However, is the American public as well informed as it pretends to be? Americans have an unsettling susceptibility to manipulation from the media. In 1991, a similar event occurred in the case of the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, where Supreme Court nominee, Clarence Thomas, had his personal affairs put on display for America. This event ignited unrest in women’s rights and civil rights groups across the country. Americans were surprised to discover that the nation had been blind to these supposed political injustices for years. The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings cloaked a staggering message to the American people about media’s role in manipulating American sentiment by sensationalizing the news coverage relayed to the American public.

The original purpose of the Clarence Thomas hearings were to determine if George Bush’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, was a legitimate nominee for the prestigious role of Supreme Court justice. However, the hearings quickly developed into little more than a “political spectacle.” A political spectacle “is public in the sense that it deals with a… scandalous action that carries instant and wide appeal no matter who does it” . The spectacle was tailored so that it would reach and catch the attention of millions of viewers. In order to accomplish this goal, the purpose of the hearings had to be simplified and clarified so that the average unintelligent American could understand the proceedings. Unfortunately, for the hearings, this clarification resulted in the primary focus of the hearings becoming the interpersonal relationship between Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill, with a lesser importance placed on the political implications of the hearings. However, media interference did not end at merely simplifying. The media’s next step in reaching more viewers was making this summarized news exciting and newsworthy. Conservative America was stunned and enthralled with the scandals associated with one of America’s most potentially powerful men. All the alterations by the media created a loss of the facts of the story. The media’s inference resulted in the Clarence Thomas hearings became little more than the average fluff article.

The Clarence Thomas proved to be a true political spectacle as eighty six percent of the American public admitted to having watched at least an hour of the Clarence Thomas hearings . The spectacle’s appeal to such a large number of Americans was an invitation for further intervention from the media. The opportunistic media capitalized on a...

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