The really pressing question this raises is not how anyone could write something so hateful in a public place, but how this is newsworthy? Reporting that some ignorant, racist people painted offensive graffiti in the wake of a super-hyped election is like reporting in a national news outlet: “Drunk North Dakota fan yells racial slur at visiting black players from Mississippi.” Yes, there are thoughtless people in the world who say and do painfully stupid things in public. This is sad but it's not new, and it shouldn’t be news.
I realize that the professional standards of journalistic neutrality maintained by most of the major news outlets makes it hard to tell their political leanings, but if I didn’t know any better, I would think scattered incidents of graffitied swastikas and a grammatically embarrassing racial epithet on a backstreet wall were chosen not because they’re newsworthy, but because they help create a certain emotional atmosphere—perhaps an atmosphere congenial to a particular agenda?
Don’t get me wrong, like many other Christians early last Wednesday morning, the three minutes of guilty pleasure I experienced upon seeing the distraught faces at the Clinton headquarters was quickly deflated by the realization that Donald Trump is going to be our President. It was like a Batman movie where Batman goes to fight Poison Ivy but then disappears and The Joker steps in and beats her instead. How do you cheer for that?
I admit, a Trump presidency does make for some uneasy times (only slightly less uneasy than a Clinton presidency), but choosing isolated incidents of racism and vandalism from people who are obviously not to be taken seriously—under the headline, “Intimidation and Violence from Some Trump Supporters”—seems to suggest a narrative that goes something like this: “There are kooky, neo-Nazi sleeper cells all over America, which have been kept at bay for the past eight years, but the moment Trump’s victory was announced the doors flung open and the crazies are now on the loose. Look out all nonwhites! Run for your lives all you chic, cosmopolitan egalitarians! The Trump monsters have been unleashed, and it’s only a matter of time before America turns into The Fourth Reich!
Let’s just hope that somehow, no matter who is President, the news media will start reporting news and stop constructing narratives and creating atmospheres.