Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fox, the networks & Jena myths

Like most Americans, I don’t regularly watch any of the networks' evening news programs.

But I hope some of you do, because I have a question.

Yesterday I posted concerning a news report by Craig Franklin, an editor of Jena’s newspaper. He debunked media myths surrounding the Jena 6 story. The "whites-only tree" and the "only a school yard fight" were just two of them.

Franklin is the only journalist to have covered the story from its inception until now.

Of MSM news reporting of the story, Franklin said: "I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice."

Fox News with Brit Hume covered Franklin's report tonight just as it earlier covered the hysteria, posturing and false claims which launched the Jena 6 story.

Friends have told me and I've read that the network evening news programs gave big splashes to the original Jena 6 hysteria, posturing and false claims.

My question: Are the network news programs covering Franklin's report?

Bonus question: Do you know of any journalist who's so far debunked anything Franklin's reported?

Final comment: It's not hard to understand why the networks and their Democratic Party allies are so upset with Fox News, is it?


Jim in San Diego said...

A free press loses much of its value when it chooses "freely" to (a) report myth as fact; and (b) refuses to publish the debunkment of the myth. Very dangerous to us all in the long run.

We get, instead, the gagitous (word?) spectacle of two of the thugs being "honored" on national TV recently as "victims".


dsf said...

No one has yet debunked Franklin, but about half of his points were supported to varying degrees by other local papers (unfortunately not archived online). The best source for what the media has published is in the discussion pages on the Jena 6 Wikipedia entry. Snopes also concurs with many of Franklin's points. Further, NPR and even MTV posted many of these clarifications back in September.

To draw a parallel with the Duke rape case, the status of reporting on the Jena 6 is about what it was just before the photo lineup.

In other words, many holes remain in both the collective myth version and the debunked version.

For one, did the boys hang actual nooses or were they calf leads, as implied in an early story from one the local papers?

Did the FBI and the US Attorney interview just the three students, or did their investigation include the police, DA, judge and the appeals court?

Bailey's statement to the police following the Barn Party fight. Note: Justin Sloan turned himself in and pled guilty to simple battery. The original charge has not been verified, nor whether he benefitted from first-offender status or from a plea-bargain.

The witnesses' statements to the police regarding the shotgun incident. This event appears to be the myth version's weakest link, and this case has not yet been tried.

Mychal Bell's juvenile record, particularly regarding Jason Whitlock's allegation that one of the charges was for beating his girlfriend.

The most overlooked fact that has been published and verified is that Reed Walters agreed to probation for Mychal Bell four times for four felonies. Feasibly, a case could be made that Walters was too lenient on him prior to the beating of Barker.

If I may draw a consensus from the various speculations floating about, the details of one of Bell's two previous battery charges will be quite gruesome and will establish a specific pattern of criminal behavior. Also, the shotgun trial will be the keystone in establishing whether Reed Walters, the police and the courts involved were acting with racial bias.

Anonymous said...

At the beginning of the Jena scandal, I "ran across" a blogger who was docummenting the events. It did not reach the status of KC or here, but just the same seemed plausible. I wish I had bookmarked it. Anyway, he/she stated that all the stories had been twisted to follow the narrative of white oppresion on blacks. I don't remember the specific details, but the MSM tried to make it all look like cause and effect of a series of incidents. But they were not. Between the tree, the noose and the party, there were weeks and even months between some of the incidents.

What everyone ignores is the crimminal history of the young men involved. For example, Mychal had been in trouble with the law since he was 15. But, since he was a good football player, he still played on the team, though he had 4 charges pending. Two were property damage, and 2 were assaults. My question is, why did it take so long to lock his kid up?

Well, he's locked up for 18 months now, so we'll see what happens when he gets out.

Anonymous said...

Worth noting is that despite the emphasis on the lacrosse players "errors" in having a party, that required them to apologize daily and assume full responsibility for all subseqauent events by other people (in media view) the criminal history and actual violent horrible beating by the Jena 6 is irrelevant in the myth.

dsf said...

"Two were property damage..."

This leads to some of the deepest conjecture making the rounds.

The school was burned. A few of us out here have been wondering for awhile if the prosecutor suspects Bell of burning the school. If Bell has been charged for three assaults, could he soon be charged for a third destruction of property? Was Walters holding the inflated charges over the others' heads to pressure someone to break? Straight out of Law & Order, I know, then again this whole thing has read like a Paul Haggis script.

The thing is DA Reed Walters could very well have a history of racial bias, however just as the myth version provides only flimsy evidence toward that charge, the debunked version does little to dispel it.

What causes so much confusion among the blogs is the lack of focus among the Jena 6 supporters that breaks down into three groups of approximately the same size. Those who want all charges dropped, those who want fair trials and appropriate charges for the whites involved, and those who say don't look at the details but at the overall picture of racial injustice in the United States. The movement has been as disorganized as the march was in September.