CNN dehumanizes Freddie Gray by calling him ’son of an illiterate heroin addict’

Photo source: Freddie Gray's Facebook
Photo source: Freddie Gray’s Facebook

CNN’s Ann O’Neill and Aaron Cooper decided to degrade Freddie Gray and his family. While reporting on the trial of the six Baltimore officers accused of killing Gray, O’Neill and Cooper used disparaging terms to describe Gray.

In the initial published piece, O’Neill and Cooper wrote, “The death of Freddie Gray, the son of an illiterate heroin addict, made him a symbol of the Black community.”

By pointing out that Gray was the “son of an illiterate heroin addict,” it painted a negative picture of Gray without adding context to his story. There was never a connection made between having an illiterate heroin addict for a mother to dying while in police custody. So even when stating a fact, the truth of his background is never fully examined and the readers are basically left to draw their own conclusions, which puts Gray and his mother in a negative light.

When it comes to the mainstream media’s framing of Blacks and Whites, there are often major differences. For example, even White mass shooters are described in ways that would make them appear as dysfunctional instead of as hardened criminals. After Robert Dear killed three people and wounded nine in Colorado, the New York Times referred to him as a “gentle loner.” But in reality, Dear is a really bad guy who doesn’t deserve sympathy from anyone at this point.

The mainstream media can create biases against the innocent who were killed or lead readers to have empathy for killers. Gray and his family are not on trial and their past mishaps should never be an issue.

CNN has since retracted the sentence that essentially dehumanized Gray and his mother.

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