Bald man with glasses next to a young white woman holding a medicine bottle with a balloon quote saying Now's a great time to try... and at the top the words "Mind you own fucking business"

Progressive activist Joe Motil has often gone in front of Columbus City Council on a Monday night urging them to not hand out another tax break, and he recently spoke out against a tax-abatement proposal for CoverMyMeds, which is owned by the McKesson Corporation, one of the nation’s largest corporate opioid “pill pushers.” Put more simply, a corporation that’s lead the US into a heroin epidemic.

You would think Motil’s statements before City Council would make the nightly local broadcast news stations of WSYX, WBNS and WCMH. Perhaps even lead their 11 pm broadcasts, and be often repeated the following morning.

But per usual, our local broadcast news stations ignored a concerned citizen who urged City Council to not hand out such a ridiculous tax break to the unscrupulous and undeserving McKesson Corporation.

Indeed, City Council unanimously approved a $77.7-million, 100 percent tax-abatement over 15 years for CoverMyMeds so they can build a new office in Franklinton. CoverMyMeds helped the McKesson Corporation earn over $200 billion in revenue for 2017.

What Motil said to City Council about CoverMyMeds and two other local opioid corporate distributors is powerful stuff to say the least.

“So now Columbus can boast having the presence of not only two out of the top three pill dumping corporations in its city (Cardinal Health & AmerisourceBergen) but the top three,” he said. “Between the three of these wonderful caring multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical corporations, they dumped nearly 9 million hydrocodone pills over two years in the town of Kermit, West Virginia that has a population of less than 400 people.”

Certainly, our local broadcast news stations, which have the greatest audiences and furthest geographical reach throughout Central Ohio and beyond should be continuously hounding these corporate “pill pushers” and demanding the Ohio Attorney General’s Office take serious action, even indict the multimillionaire CEO’s and billionaire families that own these corporations.

But, as any person with two working eyes can see, all three of our local broadcast news stations (WSYX, WBNS and WCHM) rarely report on Central Ohio’s corporate drug dealers who arguably have caused thousands of opioid and heroin overdose deaths.

Instead, our local news stations begin their broadcasts with crime news from one our poorer neighborhoods. As the saying goes, If it bleeds it leads.

Arguably the worst offender is WSYX or Channel 6, owned by Sinclair Broadcasting Group, which also owns the local Fox 28 news channel. Sinclair is very friendly towards Trump, and in March required all of their local anchors to read a script criticizing “biased” media asking them to stop reporting “false news.”

Sinclair, by the way, is planning to merge with Tribune Media, which will allow the very conservative Sinclair to broadcast in up to 72 percent of US homes.

When it comes to racially biased crime news, consider WSYX’s 6 pm newscast on July 24, the day after Joe Motil went in front of City Council about CoverMyMeds. WSYX chose to run a story about a former Ohio State diver who alleged sexual abuse by a coach, but never showed a picture of the coach, a 20-something white man.

Following the diver’s story, however, WSYX showed the pictures of four African-American young men who have been accused of drug dealing and assault. In no way are we condoning pushing drugs or violence, but one would think a picture of the coach would have also been warranted.

When you consider how racially biased our local broadcast news has been for so long, is it any wonder so many white people are calling the police on black kids selling bottled water? Or black people at the park? Or black people at Starbucks?

Implicit racial bias is no joke, especially when you consider how many white people are secretly packing guns. Thus, we applaud the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at OSU, which has a stated mission to deepen public awareness about the dangers of implicit biases and to seek racial justice and equality.

Kirwan Institute senior researcher Kelly Capatosto says when the message, such as the implicit racial bias of local crime news leads nearly every broadcast, is ingrained in our minds over and over again, it can affect an individual’s unconscious thinking.

And Capatosto says it’s not just local broadcast news, it’s all media, including social media, where encoded language has falsely portrayed African-American males, immigrant populations, Latino populations and Muslims as having criminal intentions.

“An example we use in our presentations all the time is what happened during Hurrican Katrina. An Associated Press photo that showed a black male gathering food, attributed him as looting verses another picture [from Getty Images] that attributed white residents as finding food,” she told the Free Press.

If WSYX, WBNS and WCMH, would have only reported on Central Ohio’s corporate pill pushers with the zest they have had for local crime all these years, we wonder if the opioid or heroin epidemic would be as bad as it’s become.

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