|Seattle Times article, 1970 (12)|
|Article printed in the Seattle Times, 1970 (11)|
|Seattle Post Intelegencer article, 1969 (14)|
Panthers were also ridiculed by the press when they were deemed not worthy of being quoted in stories about their own affairs. It was sort of journalist tradition at the time for African Americans to be under-represented in the news when the stories were not specifically about them (4), but to leave the Black Panthers out of a story about the Black Panthers was unprecedented. Especially when the Panthers were in legal trouble or when they were facing public criticism, interviews were rarely sought. The Oakland Tribune ran a side bar of the “Background of the Black Panthers” in which they informed the public that the police were in control of the group. Yet if the writers of this piece were to interview Panthers, they would have found a very different perspective, since the Panthers believed that they were keeping the police it line, not the other way around.
Perhaps the most alarming tactic used to de-legitimatize the Panthers was the frequent connections drawn between the party and the Klu Klux Klan. Many publications went as far as to say that the Panthers had become the bastions of hate and evil that they rebelled against so strongly(15). Televised news between 1968 and 1970 portrayed the Panthers as more violent and hateful than white racists and was more skeptical of their movement (6). An editorial in the Oakland Tribune entitled “Playtime in Sacramento” ridiculed the party essentially for playing dress up, putting on berets and guns and acting out a silly revolution complete with “a secret name” (13). The piece drew connections between the two groups, each in their own costume. As a result the media became unable to “distinguish between the donning of a white hood and the wearing of a black berets as symbolic practices” (13).