Chicago investigators are questioning four African-Americans after a Facebook Live video shows a group of people torturing a white mentally disabled man while someone yelled “F*** Trump!” and “F*** white people!”
Chicago police were made aware of the video Tuesday afternoon. A young African American woman streamed the video live on Facebook showing at least four people holding the young white man hostage.
In the video, the victim is repeatedly kicked and hit, his scalp is cut, all while he is tied up with his mouth taped shut….The victim is … believed to have been held hostage and tortured in an apartment in the 3400 block of West Lexington on the West Side, Guglielmi said.
(That’s “Fuck Trump!” and “Fuck white people!”, just in case you thought the phrases were “Free Trump!” or “Feel white people!”)
Now here is how the Associated Press initially reported the story:
Chicago police say they are investigating a video circulating on social media that shows several people beating a man at a residence. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference Wednesday that four suspects are in custody. Formal charges have not been filed.
Johnson says the victim, who has “mental health challenges,” is recovering. Johnson calls the video “sickening,” and Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin says the suspects made “stupid decisions.” Officers were called to a residence on the city’s West Side Tuesday evening where they found signs of a struggle and damaged property.
Videos of the alleged incident were posted on social media. Police say it is too soon to make a determination if the attack was racially motivated.
“Police say it is too soon to make a determination if the attack was racially motivated.”
There it is! The first head explosion of 2017!
[A brief pause while I mop, scoop, and re-fill…]
Meanwhile, ABC and NBC didn’t deem the incident newsworthy enough to include in their evening newscasts, and the “CBS Evening News“ was the lone network to cover the story yesterday, telling us this:
“Well, Chicago, which just had one of its most violent years ever, was the scene of another horrifying attack this week. A young man, described as law enforcement sources as developmentally challenged, was beaten, kicked, and tormented for half an hour.”
The report concluded by noting that the attack was streamed live on Facebook, that the victim “had been reported missing from his home in the suburbs,” was being treated in the hospital, and that four suspects were in custody.” Race? Hate crime?
The larger context of this is the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, in which the initial stage of the news media’s effort to assist Democrats with their fear-mongering regarding Trumps election was to report that dozens of “hate crimes” against Muslims and minorities had been alleged, possibly spurred by Trump’s election. All of these were credulously reported without police confirmation that the victims were targeted because of race, ethnicity or religion, and many were never verified, while some were later revealed as outright hoaxes.
“The Left’s insane hatred of Donald Trump has spun out of control, and there have been far too many instances of this sort of depraved violence. I don’t want to hear another damn word about “hate crimes” against minorities supposedly inspired by Donald Trump’s campaign or election, not unless they equal this level of depravity.”
Is it fair to attribute this horrific incident to over-heated anti-Trump rhetoric? Maybe not, but it is more fair than the post-election “White supremacists are attacking blacks, Muslims and Mexicans because of Trump” narrative the news media eagerly embraced for weeks. To reflect on the three installments of “Major Ethics Alarm: American Journalism Is Crumbling Before Our Eyes” yesterday (here, here, and here), this is more evidence, and of a particularly ugly stripe.
All that an ethical news source had to do yesterday was report the facts. The races of the people involved were obviously a material fact, since “Fuck white people!” was one of the things the torture victim was forced to say. Why would any competent and fair editor allow both the racial identification and what was said by the victim to be left out of the news report? The answer is that the editors and reporters involved were not competent and fair. They were biased and deceptive. They were hiding the ball, covering up, and deceiving their readers, or, in the case of CBS, their viewers.
Yes, when a news story is intentionally misrepresented to make it appear materially different than what it is, that’s fake news, as much as “John Podesta Tied to Child Sex Ring in DC Pizza Place” but worse, because it is more likely to deceive people like you and me.
This is why the public doesn’t trust the news media, and shouldn’t. This is why so many white Americans feel that there is a double standard being applied regarding racism, violence and hate—because there is, and it is being intentionally enforced by the news media. Recall that the news media insisted that George Zimmerman’s fatal confrontation with Trayvon Martin was racially driven because he was a “white Hispanic-American” and his victim was black. But when four African Americans torture a white boy and make him shout”Fuck Trump!” and “Fuck white people!” as they stream it on Facebook, the mainstream media initially reacts with “Race? Hate? We don’t see any race or hate!”
The episode is also Exhibit A proving why Fox News, conservative talk radio and the right-wing websites, for all their own flaws and biases, are essential to prevent the mainstream media from getting away with this kind of attempted deception.
Condemning such reporting should be bi-partisan, and bi-racial, but I see scant evidence that it is. If African American activists and advocates, progressives and Democrats don’t find the unethical reporting of this episode infuriating and unacceptable, then they also can’t be trusted. It is only the fact that the news media believes its market wants this kind of slanted and misleading journalism that they continue to do it.
And at the risk of triggering a second explosion by even thinking about it, if “Police say it is too soon to make a determination if the attack was racially motivated” in a case where four blacks torture a white kid to shout “Fuck white people” isn’t the most ridiculous thing you have ever read in a news story, I’m not sure I want to know what the winner is—and Police Cmdr. Kevin Duffin’s statement that the suspects made “stupid decisions” is almost as bad.
Gee, Commander, which decisions are you referring to? Kidnapping a teen who is developmentally challenged? Torturing him? Forcing him to utter racist phrases? Streaming it on Facebook? The first thing that comes to your mind considering these acts is “stupid,” is it?