The panel I selected depicts Birmingham police chief Eugene Connor’s reaction to the freedom riders bus being firebombed. An interview is being shown between a news reporter and Conner where Conner is asked, “Can you tell us why there were no Police officers present at the Birmingham bus station when the second bus finally did arrive?”. Connor replies to the question answering that it was “Mother’s Day” and “We try to let off as many of our Policemen as Possible.” This answer gives a clear image of the local government pushback civil rights activists faced in their demonstrations. Additionally, an increased understanding of how the media covered the Civil Rights Movement is gained from this panel. Chief Conner is displayed in a quite positive light, as he let the Police Officers off to celebrate Mother’s Day. This appears to the consumer as a genuine kind gesture, but the reality is Chief Conner let off the officers for a different reason. The reality was Conner was collaborating with the Ku Klux Klan and gave them 15 minutes with the bus before the police would get involved. This made me think of Dr. Wills lecture and emphasis on the reporter, the one documenting the story. The story is being told in a one-sided manner, where the focus of the reporting is not on showing the tragedy, but instead showing the man with blood on his hands in a positive light.
My first reaction when seeing these images was anger. A group of people fighting for their civil rights’ bus had been firebombed, a disgusting heinous act, and the man who is supposed to represent justice and the law had helped orchestrate this act aswell. At the top of the graphic a group of people is shown tuning in to the broadcast to hear the news and what they are being told is not close to the real story. To me Chief Conner is a villain, but to the tv viewer he does not appear this same way. This emphasizes the significant power that the news and those in power have on telling the story. They have the ability to tell the story how they desire, to leave things out, or put extra information in.