Media Culpability In Ferguson

Some of the most outrageous and irresponsible behavior in Ferguson has come, not from the looters, not from the racist charlatans Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, not from the black version of the KKK – the New Black Panthers, not from the black residents who proceeded to destroy their own community and not from the out-of-towners who came in to incite violence and more looting.  And certainly not from the police.  While all the aforementioned persons, aside from the police, are guilty of vandalism, arson, incitement, theft, assault and numerous other crimes, the most outrageous and irresponsible behavior I have seen taking place in Ferguson is coming from the media.  While I am not aware of anyone in the media committing any crime in Ferguson, with their tactics, their irresponsible reporting and just with their presence they are the gasoline being thrown onto the fire.  Yes, yes, they have the First Amendment right to freedom of the press.  But with rights comes responsibility and too many members of the Fourth Estate are not being honorable in their profession.  Fanning the flames or inserting yourself to the point where you become part of the story is the lowest form of reporting and is what I would expect from tabloid journalists.

Matthew Vadum of Frontpage Mag labeled the violence to be “media-sanctioned rioting, bloodshed and looting.”  When other reporters begin calling out the irresponsible reporting of their colleagues, you know there’s something to it.

Breitbart – Former CNN anchor and Fox News Channel’s “MediaBuzz” host Howie Kurtz criticized some outlets for creating “almost a lynch mob mentality” in Ferguson, MO in the wake of the shooting death of Michael Brown.

“Some liberal outlets [are] creating almost a lynch mob mentality around this, the Huffington Post today, screaming banner headline ‘Arrest Him.’  Now, the Huffington Post, nor you or I, knows exactly what happened,” he said.  And “when you cross that line into becoming an advocate and to demanding that somebody be prosecuted before the facts are in, while the investigation is going on, you’re grandstanding, you’re trying to keep the story alive and I really think it’s troubling.”

Kurtz also criticized CNN for showing the house of accused officer Darren Wilson, stating, “It defies my understanding how you could put his life or the life of his family in danger by even briefly showing the house or naming the street.””

More than one press photographer found himself in handcuffs after not following the directives of the police.  While some might decry the actions of the police as violating the freedom of the press, I have never seen the theory put forth that freedom of the press gives a reporter or photographer the right to go wherever they want, whenever they want.  When dealing with riot situations I would fully expect the police to have restrictions on where people could go, including the press.  When you disregard police orders you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself wearing a pair of silver bracelets. 

As Kurtz stated, CNN showed the house of Officer Wilson, including the street number.  CNN reporter Ed Lavandera was shown walking in the street where Wilson lives, then the video shows Wilson’s house and pans to the neighborhood, which reveals the location of Wilson’s house on the street.  But CNN wasn’t the only news outlet to provide information that could be life threatening for Wilson and his family.

Gateway Pundit – Is the media trying to get Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson lynched?

Yahoo News named the community Wilson where Wilson resides and published a photograph of the officer.

The UK Daily Mail also named the community, posted photos of the officer and gave a description of the house.

USA Today also named the community and reported a local police presence.

The Washington Post named the street where Wilson lives.

Has any media outlet shown the public where Michael Brown lived?  To the best of my knowledge, they have not.

Were it not for the presence of the media, the racists Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson would not be there.  When reporters continually shove microphones in their faces to get a sound bite for the next news broadcast, those two con artists will eat it up and give the media what they want – incendiary comments designed to further inflame the violence and demands that Officer Wilson be arrested and charged with murder. 

In spite of all the irresponsible reporting that has taken place there will always be those who believe the First Amendment right to freedom of the press gives them a pass on whatever bad reporting they choose to broadcast or publish.  What people don’t stop to realize is that the accused also has Constitutional rights.  While it appears from the evidence and eyewitness accounts that Officer Wilson will be cleared of any wrongdoing, suppose it was not so clear.  Suppose that evidence and eyewitness accounts didn’t completely corroborate his version of events.  And what if everything just flat-out indicates he is guilty of murder?

The Eighth Amendment to the Constitution states in part – “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury…”  If wrong or misleading information is broadcast, with reporters writing articles saying “Arrest Him” or continually making statements that assume things to be true which are not yet proven, then the press is doing damage to the likelihood of a defendant receiving an impartial jury.   While I am certainly not suggesting that the media stop reporting on events like in Ferguson, there is a huge, huge difference between reporting and what the media is doing in Ferguson.  Inciting to violence, giving credibility to racists like Sharpton and Jackson, making demands and putting people’s lives in jeopardy by unnecessarily reporting where they live is the some of the most irresponsible reporting I’ve ever seen.  I would not be surprised to see some of these media people supplying the rope for a lynching if they were there with their cameras ready to ‘report’ on it.

With the freedom of the press comes responsibility and from what I have seen from Ferguson, that must be something that is no longer taught in journalism school. 

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2 comments to Media Culpability In Ferguson

  • There are far too many of today’s journalists who wouldn’t have a clue what real journalism was if it slapped them in the face.

    • I see the main problem with today’s journalists being that they want to use their positions to effect change instead of just reporting the news. While I am not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, even our Founders used the printing press to effect change, it becomes a bad thing when the people doing it have no scruples or ethics. That’s when you have the reprehensible journalism like we’re seeing in Ferguson and with other events such as the George Zimmerman trial.