Media's Apparent Bias Called Out After Story's Image Fails to Account for Truth of Bus Stop Stabbing


It’s the kind of juicy story that local media loves: “4 Illinois Women Charged For Fighting At Their Kids Bus Stop,” the headline from Rockford, Illinois, country station WXXQ read.

Yes, on May 2, “adults were acting like children when a fight broke out at a school bus stop in Rockford … and now four women have been charged after one of them was stabbed,” WXXQ staff writer Johnny V noted.

“According to the press release from the Rockford Police Department, officers responded to the Rockford Ridge Apartments at 3552 Elm Street where a fight between four women ensued near a school bus.

“The women were dropping off their kids around 8 am on Tuesday morning (5/2) when a verbal altercation began at the school bus stop, then police say ‘at some point the verbal arguing escalated, and all four women started physically fighting.’ One of the women in the altercation reportedly stabbed another during the fight and caused serious injury, according to the press release.”

However, that copy was not what would turn the Rockford stabbing into a national story. Instead, it was how WXXQ covered it on social media — in particular, the stock photo they chose.

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As you can see from the Facebook feature stock photo, two 30-something white “Karens” are choking each other in front of a school bus. Stay classy, Rockford:

Unfortunately, the photos taken of three of the four suspects in the case at the Winnebago County Jail revealed, um, a bit of variance:

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Yes, as a Saturday tweet from End Wokeness — an account dedicated to “[f]ighting, exposing, and mocking wokeness” — at least three of the four women charged, including alleged stabber Shatay Barney, were black.

Lanora Fields — who was charged with felony mob action along with Barney, Adriana Carothers and Ashlee Morris — was not pictured. (Barney was also charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon).

Mind you, this isn’t The New York Times: If you need reminding, this is a country music station in Rockford, Illinois, not your usual hotbed of wokeness.

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Nor would this usually be worth pointing out if there wasn’t a pattern involved:

In the case above, a 9-year-old girl was reportedly assaulted at Coconut Palm K-8 Academy in Homestead, Florida; the victim was white and the alleged perpetrators were black. In this case, it was iHeart Radio that was the offending party.

WXXQ is owned by a different umbrella corporation, Townsquare Media, so the two incidents don’t even have that in common. The one thing they share, however, is race-swapping the feature photo so as to not get in trouble — despite being wildly misleading in both cases.

Naturally, you don’t even have to ask what would happen if this went the opposite way — because of course, it never would. If there ever were a case where a white suspect was represented by a stock photo featuring a minority model, whoever was responsible would lose their job posthaste.

But that’s the point. If you’re asking yourself whether or not this is important, keep in mind how important it would be to the left if a stock photo of a black man was used for a story about a crime a white man was accused of committing. All sorts of noise about perpetuating racial stereotypes would be raised on social media, and an apology would be issued in 24 hours, if not less. Heads would roll.

If that’s the case, then, surely this rises to the level of being important, as well. Inadvertently, WXXQ has told us all we need to know about who the media is permitted to villainize in American culture.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture