I’m not going to mention his name because the only reason, I believe, this guy put together a new documentary on the Michael Brown shooting is to get attention. He is most probably, in my opinion, a bottomless pit of festering narcissism.
The point he is trying to make apparently is that Michael Brown traded marijuana for cigarillos with a nightshift clerk. He left the cigarillos in the store and then came back in the daytime for them. The dayshift clerk unaware of the transaction tried to stop him and that’s why Brown shoved him. Thus, it was not a strong-arm robbery on the famous video, but rather a drug deal and an assault. This to him changes everything about the incident between Brown and Officer Wilson.
Which of course, it doesn’t.
The owner of the store and the prosecutor, who called this would-be filmmaker’s claims “stupid,” both have said that the news programs footage of the events described were “poorly edited” and presented totally out of context.
These realities however, didn’t stop everyone with a pulpit—from FOX News to CNN to the New York Times—from interviewing this clueless screaming activist. In the end, not only did he get the attention he so craves, but he probably will end up making a bunch of money on the deal to boot.
So what? Who cares? Right? Wrong.
These stunts, and the platforms they are given, have real consequences. Negative consequences that will garner hardly a peep in the mainstream media.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the day after these supposed revelations: “About 100 people gathered to protest outside the market (where the Michael Brown incident took place) Sunday night. Several gunshots were fired nearby shortly before midnight. A Bellefontaine Neighbors man was charged Monday with trying to light a St. Louis County police car on fire during the protest. And a woman was charged with punching a Ferguson police officer in the face, breaking his nose.”
More outrage and more destruction—for what?
This seems to be the constant. The internet colludes with 24/7 news channels in a fight for eyeballs. A cynical race to the bottom: appealing to a sense of righteous victimhood that pits American against American.
How do you define success as a journalist or publisher in America, 2017? By the ability to reflect complex realities from multiple perspectives that will inform an electorate and enhance a vibrant democracy? Of course not!
Here’s how: You invite a screaming knucklehead on during primetime and you let him screech over people and make up facts. You descend upon a region struggling to recover from a violent and tragic epoch for just long enough to capture a few soundbites and some B-reel footage. Then you get on your airplane and fly home. Meanwhile, back where it matters, cars will be vandalized, fires set, maybe stores looted, citizens hurt, and cops injured.
It’s too easy to blame the unnamed egotist who made his film and then made the rounds at the networks. He’s just one. The real problem is a media that increasingly rewards outrage and ready-made narratives. I’m talking about not just the mainstream, but the partisan press, left and right, too.
According to Gallup in September 2016, law enforcement is one of the most respected professions in the country at 76%, behind only the military.
Meanwhile, according to the same poll, the confidence of people in this country for the media is at its lowest in recorded history! Many believe that Donald Trump won the presidency because of the public’s mistrust in the media. And none of this seems to make a difference to those who hide beneath the mantle of ‘journalist.’ Get views, amass clicks, appeal to our most base natures …
See, it comes down to money: For the media, of course, and for the so-called journalists, who in some cases will actually be paid bonuses if and when their stories go viral.
Here at Calibre we’ve dealt with plenty of journalists over the years. Some of them have been incredibly ethical: bring objectivity to the story, weighing various viewpoints, sifting through data, and so forth. I really enjoy interacting with true journalists and hold them in high esteem. But most have been openly and patently unethical: slanted, corrupt, pushing agendas, spurning any evidence that doesn’t validate the dogmas they bring to the topic.
I was being interviewed by a responsible journalist recently who surmised that the biggest media outlets and the most read and viewed journalists must have skipped ethics classes in journalism school.
“I’ve read at least three articles about your company that used the same quote but gave no mention that you didn’t give it directly to them,” he told me. “That’s as unethical as it is plagiaristic.”
The interesting thing about the quotes he referenced was that the original one was wrong when it was used by the only journalist I did talk to. The real quote didn’t fit her predetermined viewpoint so—she altered it. In my line of work that’s called planting evidence. But for her I’m sure it’s par for the course.
The problem is that there are real consequences when you have reckless media rampantly pushing agendas motivated by money. Towns are decimated. Property damaged. Homeowners displaced. Cops injured. Trust within the community—a fragile bond that must be cultivated carefully and over time—is obliterated. People, quite literally, die.
Which, of course, results in more clicks for the people who don’t live there and never would.
As a police officer and independent thinker I always enjoy your articles. I do have a couple comments on this one. Even if I generally share your opinion on most topics when you begin an article by name calling it distracts me from the rest of your message.
Second, There is a lot of blame to go around as to why the media over the last decade or so is struggling between ratings, profit and unbiased journalism. Regardless, that problem is not going away anytime soon.
In the scope of that discussion I think it is only fair to lay some of the blame on the consumer.
Instead of taking a news story and researching it by triangulating different sources of information until a clear and honest picture can emerge the majority of today’s consumers are content with hearing from one source and acting on it.
As the media becomes more and more difficult to interpret we need to create a population that no longer relies on a single source of information to form an opinion.
Just my 2 cents.
It is an unfortunate truth that the mainstream tabloids (ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, etc.) seem to always give free (seemingly the root word of “frequent”) publicity to the person or rabble with the most controversial topic of conversation, only because it makes them more money through their ratings. But then there are the “sheeple” who continually clamor for these types of “stories” which makes this form of symbiosis possible. Let’s face it; big controversy creates greater publicity, which boosts ratings, which translates into mo’-money. It’s similar in nature to drug trafficking; if it wasn’t for the junkies, the drug pushers wouldn’t be able to benefit…and vice versa. True journalistic integrity is a very, very rare commodity these days.
Well said, Jim. Very early on in my career I learned that the media is pretty much 100% full of it and never to be trusted. I flat out stopped watching the news because it’s 99% bull-excrement anyway. It’s way past time the media was held accountable for their actions and the lies and misrepresentations they spread.
I’m confused as to why my earlier response to Greg has been removed…There were no obscenities, no challenges or threats, no violations of Calibre Press or Disqus policies…what gives?
If someone somewhere didn’t like my opinion(s), that’s cool, but how about some sort of explanation so I don’t run afoul again? I’ve certainly seen plenty of bashing going on around here (no names please), and my response was void of anything like that I thought…
Stay Safe Boys and Girls…