Looking back on the death and destruction in Ferguson, we can see the dirty hands of the media, especially CNN, now basking in the glow of (relatively) high ratings. Racial violence is a ratings booster and winner.
It is certainly correct to say, as the media have said millions of times, that a white police officer shot an unarmed black teenager to death in Ferguson. But this was never the whole truth, and the media knew it. After all, the Trayvon Martin case had proven that the idea of innocent black teenagers being killed for no reason didn’t stand up to scrutiny. In that case, like that of Michael Brown, we discovered the case involved a marijuana-abusing young thug with criminal activity in his background. Martin and Brown turned out to be the aggressors, a fact that comports with statistics on racial violence in America that few in the media want to talk about.
Colin Flaherty writes about it in his book, White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.
The media’s addition of the terms “white” and “black” in the Michael Brown case reflected the prevailing liberal media bias, in the sense that it was assumed that a racial component was at work and that whites were at fault. The white police officer was presumed guilty. The black teenager was presumed innocent.
In the Trayvon Martin case, it involved a black teenager and a “white Hispanic.”
Now that the grand jury has released the facts of the Michael Brown case, we can see that Officer Darren Wilson was completely justified in his actions. Yet Wilson has left the police force as a result of death threats against him and fellow officers. He has been punished for doing his job.
There is no outrage in the media over that. Instead, on Tuesday, CNN tried to inflame racial passions once again by suggesting that it would be a miscarriage of justice for Michael Brown’s stepfather to be charged with incitement to riot. He had yelled “Burn this bitch down” to demonstrators in Ferguson.
The stepfather, Louis Head, is black. But it appears that most of the violence has been organized by communist groups led by whites. They view blacks as cannon fodder for the revolution. Again, however, the media have shown no interest in this issue.
Not content with a dead, black teenager, the media-mob alliance has forced a respected police officer who dealt with Michael Brown by the book to ultimately leave the city. From this point on, like somebody in the witness protection program, Wilson will have to conceal his identity in order to protect himself and members of his family.
If these members of our media had a conscience, then they would go back and try to correct, even at this late date, all of their misleading coverage, in an effort to restore some level of sanity to the narrative about what happened. But don’t count on it.
The media “mistakes,” to put it charitably, can be easily documented.
Almost immediately after Brown’s death, we were treated to the slogan, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” based on what happened, according to Brown’s best friend, Dorian Johnson. Wolf Blitzer described him as an “eyewitness” and gave him an opportunity to spew what we now know were lies. Johnson, who was present when Brown robbed a convenience store, seems to have originated the misleading “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative, falsely insisting that Brown was shot in the back. However, the forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony show that Michael Brown was the aggressor and tried to grab Wilson’s gun.
Even before the grand jury report was in, we were treated to outrage over the local police releasing video of Brown robbing the convenience store of swisher sweet cigars. Only later would we learn the cigars were used to assemble high-powered marijuana “blunts.”
On Sunday, when black members of the St. Louis Rams showed up in a display of “Hands up, don’t shoot” at a football game, the St. Louis Police Officers Association naturally took exception. They noted that the display has become “synonymous with assertions that Michael Brown was innocent of any wrongdoing and attempting to surrender peacefully when Wilson, according to some now-discredited witnesses, gunned him down in cold blood.”
The only additional comment that has to be made is that the false narrative originated with “witnesses” procured by the media—who turned out to be liars.
This is why the media have now changed the meaning of “Hands up, don’t shoot” to refer to a “gesture of solidarity” with the protesters. They have made this change without acknowledging that its original meaning has been proven false.
The coverage took another unusual turn during the riots when CNN’s Don Lemon came under fire for noting the use of marijuana by violent protesters. Lemon, who is black, apparently did not realize that by doing that, he was drawing attention to the criminal element in Ferguson. Such an observation reminded some people of Michael Brown’s use of marijuana and theft of cigarillos that are used to make the marijuana “blunts.”
Ferguson did demonstrate the existence of a black criminal element running rampant through the streets and high on drugs. Our media have done their best to whitewash the nature of this domestic threat in order to perpetuate a false narrative of white racist police violence.
We might think that the media would be interested in answering the lingering question during the most recent riots of why the police and the National Guard let various businesses burn down. But the problem is even far worse than the media have let on.
Colin Flaherty, author of White Girl Bleed a Lot, has produced a YouTube video of recordings from a police scanner in Ferguson, demonstrating how law enforcement was overwhelmed and scrambling to address the black mob violence. The police can be heard describing gun shots, even fired at police headquarters; multiple calls for help; burglaries in progress; and stores and police cars being set on fire.
At one point, police can be heard describing retreats from certain areas of Ferguson, citing “officer safety” issues. In other words, the mobs were more “militarized” than the police.
Film footage of the destruction and violence is bad enough. But what Flaherty has put together shows how the mobs were in charge of Ferguson and had more manpower and firepower than the police.
Flaherty wonders if all the talk about the alleged “militarization” of police led Missouri’s Democratic Governor Jay Nixon to deliberately let the looting and riots continue without an effective response or challenge. According to this theory, Nixon didn’t want the police or National Guard to look like they were overpowering the mob.
If so, the media bear some of the blame here, too. As we noted from the beginning of the Michael Brown case, our media had talked incessantly about the “militarized” police being the problem in Ferguson. But when the riots actually took place, the police were outgunned and outmanned.
It’s difficult to see how the media could have done a worse job of covering this anti-police violence.
If the past is any guide, the media will keep Ferguson smoldering while providing more face time for the agitators. Then they might move on to another case in which they can try to blame police for alleged misconduct.
Almost on cue, CNN is now focusing on a pending decision in an incident involving a large black man resisting arrest that the media have labeled the “chokehold death” case in New York City.
The issues they won’t address include the problem of black violence—specifically black-on-white violence—and drug use and family breakdown in the black community.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism, and can be contacted at email@example.com.