What If Twitter Was Around In 2004: Framing The Malice At The Palace

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When you take a picture you put your focus on the subject, you can crop out anything you don’t want in the shot, then place the picture in its proper frame. Once you frame your picture everyone can look at it and give their opinion on it whether they are positive or negative. Framing isn’t just used in photography you can find framing in the media. Here’s an excerpt from an article titled Framing Theory. The text states “In essence, framing theory suggests that how something is presented to the audience (called “the frame”) influences the choices people make about how to process that information. Frames are abstractions that work to organize or structure message meaning. The most common use of frames is in terms of the frame the news or media place on the information they convey. They are thought to influence the perception of the news by the audience, in this way it could be construed as a form of second level agenda-setting – they not only tell the audience what to think about (agenda-setting theory), but also how to think about that issue (second level agenda setting, framing theory)”.

Essentially the media interprets the news or events the way they want us to see it not necessarily how we should be seeing it. Mass media outlets like CNN and FOX can cover the same event in two completely different ways in order to satisfy their target demographics. Framing is so deeply rooted in us that it has been ruling the social media age, even we participate in media framing. We watch events happen in real time then go on our preferred social media platform and express how we feel about it. It’s our opinion so we’re spreading our way of thought to the rest of our followers. What do you think a social media influencer is? A professional framer. So how does this all tie into the brawl between the Pistons, Pacers, and the fans? Keep reading it’s about to heat up.

Let’s get in our time machine and go way back to 2004. Fun fact I was 6 years old when this happened so I just remember seeing it but not fully understanding the full extent of what happened. Friday night my mom and I watched the Netflix documentary Untold: Malice at the Palace. 10 minutes in I was already extremely frustrated at how the media decided to frame the players. Specifically Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, and Jermaine O’neal. They over used the word “thug” and constantly repeated that hip-hop culture was to blame for what went down that night. There was no sympathy for the players and the fans were made out to be these poor victims while the players were the rich villains. Deeper than that, ESPN kept playing the clip of Ron Artest over and over but not what caused him to react that way. It was a nasty time for ESPN. If Twitter was around during this time I believe the TL would have been explosive. Remember what your TL looked like last Summer when the police were murdering innocent Black people back to back and there were protests turned bad?

That’s how the Malice at the Palace would have made people react. One side of Twitter would have fallen into the trap set by big media and instantly jumped to the side of the fans while the other would have went against the machine and sided with the players. Twitter quickly identified the fans who spat at Trae Young and threw a water bottle at Kyrie Irving. Now let’s pause right there, remember how some people tried to justify the fan’s actions because Kyrie stepped on the Celtics logo? Those would have been the same fans who would’ve been calling for Kyrie to be banned from the league had he went in the stands and beat some sense into that kid. It would have been a simple cause and effect, you assault me with a bottle, I assault you with these hands. These are the type of arguments that would have been had that night the Palace erupted.

To me it’s completely insane to have sympathy for anybody who got beat on that night. Especially they little guy who ran on the court like he was going to do something then got cleaned up by Artest and almost sent to God by O’neal. There is no way you can possibly justify the actions of those fans that night..right? Like I said the people would have been torn so there would have been a lot of hashtags out that night. #ProtectTheFans #SuspendThoseThugs #BoycottTheNBA. You all know how social media can be, one day everyone is up in arms the next week nobody even remembers the argument. But all of social media wouldn’t have been arguing or protesting that night, there would have been so many viral comedic tweets. Could you imagine the memes, man the memes would have been legendary.

The Malice at the Palace should have been a lesson to all fans that you pay to go see these men play, they are humans before they are athletes, and this is not the circus. Some fans deserved a punch in the face because of how entitled they feel, you can’t spend your 9-5 money to go somewhere to act ass then be upset with the consequences. That’s why I didn’t like how everyone embraced the “Suns in 4” guy, I didn’t think that was cool or funny, that’s one of the reasons I wanted the Suns to lose to the Bucks but that’s another story. The interaction between the players and the fans was one that I hope we never have to see again but if we do, I know Twitter will cover it better than the media.

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Baltimore born and raised, Packers fan, boxing expert.

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