After describing himself as an “agenda-less” citizen journalist of the Ferguson protests, Bassem Masri was ‘called-out’ by CNN’s “Reliable Sources” host Brian Stelter in an interview, which aired on Sunday.
According to The Blaze, the television interview between Masri and Stelter featured the host trying to dive deeper into Masri’s role as a citizen journalist and what exactly that entails. Among other topics discussed was the notion of how the mainstream media could improve in their allegedly “bias portrayal” of narratives regarding the Ferguson protests.
Masri made the argument that CNN and other news organizations have painted the protests as violent affairs when none such action has ever taken place against any patrolling officers.
“We’re not going to be just laying back and letting anybody paint whatever narrative they want when it comes to our community,” Masri said. “We haven’t hurt a cop; we haven’t touched any of them. We haven’t made any aggression towards them; it’s been vice versa.”
Since the allegedly flawed message is hitting the mainstream, Masri took it upon himself to start uploading his own content to social media and other live stream websites.
Masri claims that he has first-hand knowledge of media bias based on his heritage as being a Palestinian. In the past, Palestinians have been vilified throughout the media, usually taking place in the form of overt generalizations that seem to portray all Palestinians as if they were involved in terror networks.
Masri went on to claim that the motive for painting the Ferguson protests in such a negative light is purely “views and hits” based, meaning that news outlets are merely trying to “entertain and attract” rather than painting a more factual picture.
While these claims may or may not be founded, Masri’s creditability was completely dismantled when Stelter played some clips from Masri’s live stream coverage.
The clips featured incidents in which Masri can be heard attempting to incite officers by using phrases such as “pig,” “coward,” “your life is in danger homie,” and lastly, “I’m praying for your death.”
As a self-proclaimed citizen journalist, Masri assumes the role of being an observer, not a participant. Ethical journalism, at least in theory, is supposed to be the segmentation of all personal opinion and action, exchanged for the role of a being an innocent bystander and observer. Had Masri’s live streams been simple footage with no commentary, his premises about the mainstream might have been better received.
An individual cannot make claims about allegedly bias media behavior when they themselves can be heard on video saying, “I’m praying for your death.”
Although Masri regretfully said that he didn’t mean the things that were recorded, his credibility as being the “non-bias citizen journalist” is long since dead and gone.
Citizen journalists should be held to the same standards that they in turn try to impose on the mainstream news circuits. The pot cannot call the kettle pot and still be viewed as having any sort of a viable opinion.