Why won't the national media cover the story Americans care about most?

It's a very basic concept of journalism: Cover the stories that impact your viewers and readers most, the stories they most care about. 

But for one very big story, there's been relative silence from our national media, just passing mentions. It is the skyrocketing violent crime that is paralyzing many major American cities while prompting record numbers of police officers either resigning or retiring. 

Here's a look around the country at what many cities are dealing with:

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New York City: Despite having the country's largest police force, the city’s murder rate is up 48 percent over 2019 (pre-pandemic), while shootings have increased by 107 percent in two years. Two weekends ago, 22 people were shot, leaving five dead. Record numbers of residents are leaving the city as a result, because living in impossibly expensive places that aren't safe tends to be a great reason to pack it up and move somewhere cheaper and safer. 

Atlanta: Murders are up 58 percent compared to 2020 at this time. The city's mayor, Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsEverytown recruiting gun violence survivors to run for office An exhausting year takes toll on nation's mayors Why won't the national media cover the story Americans care about most? MORE (D), blames Georgia Gov. Brian KempBrian KempPresident Biden's vaccination plan is Constitutional – and necessary White House debates vaccines for air travel OSHA faces big challenge with Biden vaccine mandate MORE (R) for reopening the state before others. "Remember in Georgia we were opened up before the rest of the country, even before the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) said that it was safe for us to open, so our night clubs and our bars remained open, so we had people traveling here from across the country to party in our city,” she said with a straight face in an MSNBC interview. 

Portland, Ore.: Murders are up, not 8 percent or 80 percent, but 800 percent over the past year. "Roving gangs of black-clad rioters do not speak for the hundreds of thousands of residents and business owners of Portland who want a safe and clean city. Yet local politicians supported them," said Portland Police Association Executive Director Daryl Turner in a recent statement. "These rioters, bent on destruction, hijacked social and racial justice movements. These rioters burned and looted our city. Yet local politicians supported them."

Seattle: In the city that allowed the infamous CHOP – the "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" – autonomous zone, which included the takeover of several city blocks by protesters and the closing of a police precinct station during what the mayor in 2020 described as "a summer of love," homicides are at their highest rates in 26 years.

San Francisco: 17 Walgreens in the city have closed – all due to rampant shoplifting – while burglaries are up 62 percent this year in House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden pushes back at Democrats on taxes Yarmuth and Clyburn suggest .5T package may be slimmed Of partisan fights and follies, or why Democrats should follow Manchin, not Sanders MORE's district.

Overall, across all major American cities, homicide rates are up 24 percent since the beginning of the year. So, one would think major national media – the evening newscasts – would be all over this story, but they’re not. 

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Why? Well, perhaps because that would mean actually holding the leaders of these and other major cities accountable. And almost all mayors of major American cities are Democrats, as is the current president.  

So, what's the White House position on this? To blame Trump and guns, of course. 

"The president feels a lot, a great deal, of the crime we’re seeing is a result of gun violence," White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiWhite House debates vaccines for air travel France's Macron to speak to Biden about submarine deal Why does Biden's vaccine mandate not apply to welfare recipients and others? MORE recently told reporters. She added: "There’s been actually a rise in crime over the last five years, but really the last 18 months.”  

In other words, a helpless Biden administration simply inherited the problem, and if gun control can be passed, that would start to turn things around.  

What wasn't mentioned by Psaki is the vilification of police officers by some Democrats and many in the media. More officers died on the job last year than in any other year since 1974

President BidenJoe BidenCapitol fencing starts coming down after 'Justice for J6' rally Senate parliamentarian nixes Democrats' immigration plan Biden pushes back at Democrats on taxes MORE has put himself in an impossible spot. If he reverts back to the 1994 version of himself that helped passed a crime bill which progressives loath, he loses the AOC, "squad" wing of the party, where the passion and energy resides. If he appeases said wing and doesn't beef up funding for police while calling for tough penalties for those who riot or hurt officers, Republicans will make law-and-order the No. 1 issue of the 2022 election — and they'll win. Easily. 

It was one year ago that we witnessed major national media assuring us that looting, rioting and violence were all part of "mostly peaceful protests." 


 

That only enabled the mindset that these kinds of actions were acceptable. They are not. 

The powerful should always be held to account without fear or favor to party. That includes Democratic mayors and our Democratic president. 

And not covering such a crisis engulfing American cities – which has become a major concern for those living there, as well as those in the surrounding suburbs – isn't going to make the issue suddenly disappear. 

Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill.