From The Ethics Alarms “Fake News That Deniers Of Mainstream Media Bias Claim Isn’t Fake News But It’s Still Fake News” Files: The New Michael Brown Video And CNN

As we all remember, teen-aged African- American Michael Brown was arrested and subsequently shot to death by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson after he was attacked  by Brown. The narrative, based on a lie told by Brown’s friend and accepted as fact by the news media, that the teen was shot while shouting “Don’t shoot!” and holding his hands up, sparked riots in Ferguson and demonstrations elsewhere, as well as racial tensions that still continue. Much to its disappointment, the Obama Justice Department couldn’t find evidence that Wilson behaved improperly under the circumstances, and he was never charged.

From the New York Times:

[P]olice released a security video from a nearby store that showed Mr. Brown pushing a worker and taking cigarillos minutes before the shooting. But a second, previously unreported video from that same convenience store included in a new documentary is raising new questions about what happened in the hours before the shooting on Aug. 9, 2014.

The footage shows Mr. Brown entering the store, Ferguson Market and Liquor, shortly after 1 a.m. on the day he died. He approaches the counter, hands over an item that appears to be a small bag and takes a shopping sack filled with cigarillos. Mr. Brown is shown walking toward the door with the sack, then turning around and handing the cigarillos back across the counter before exiting.

Jason Pollock, a documentary filmmaker who acquired the new tape, says the footage challenges the police narrative that Mr. Brown committed a strong-armed robbery when he returned to the store around noon that day. Instead, Mr. Pollock believes that the new video shows Mr. Brown giving a small bag of marijuana to store employees and receiving cigarillos in return as part of a negotiated deal. Mr. Pollock said Mr. Brown left the cigarillos behind the counter for safekeeping.

What does the new video, which the store owners deny shows what Pollack says it does, have to do with the circumstances of Brown’s shooting, and whether Officer Wilson was in fear of bodily injury, requiring him to use deadly force?

Nothing. Not a thing.  Nada. Zippo. What occurred hours before Brown encountered Wilson had no impact on the subsequent events. It doesn’t matter whether Mike Brown was selling drugs, stealing something, making funny faces, or clog dancing. It doesn’t change the evidence that he tried to wrest Officer Williams’ gun from him, fled the police car, and turned and charged the officer.  The video literally doesn’t matter, any more than a video of “Pootie Tang” or “The English Patient.”  Because it doesn’t matter, the video has no significance to what does matter, whether the police shooting was just, or racially motivated.  It isn’t news. It isn’t useful or enlightening. If it is represented as news, then the public is being misled.

So why did CNN’s  “New Day” invite Pollock, an acolyte of rabble-rousing Michael Moore, to join a panel with  Morehouse College Professor and vocal race-baiter Marc Lamont Hill and former NYPD detective Harry Houck to debate the video, as if it, you know, had any significance whatsoever? The only reason I can see is to cause trouble—well, get ratings and cause trouble— and re-open an already inflamed wound that exacerbates racial tensions and division. “New Michael Brown Video Raised Questions About Shooting” said the caption under the panel. Questions about the shooting? What was on the video had nothing to do with the shooting in any way! The only new question raised by the video is What the hell does this have to do with the shooting?”

The segment rapidly deteriorated, as it was seemingly constructed to do.  Since the topic of discussion was completely irrelevant to anything, the panel’s dysfunction would be the story.  Pollock accused Houck of looking for excuses to “defend the police.” Defend them from what? No police were in the video.  Houck correctly stated that the video wasn’t evidence of anything.  “This reminds me of the inauguration, when people looked at an empty field and and Donald Trump said ‘Oh it’s the biggest field in the world,’” was the film-maker’s non sequitur retort. Why was CNN helping to publicize what is obviously going to be a documentary that seeks to rehabilitate the fable that Brown was gunned down by a racist cop?  What is a documentary maker’s credentials to be on such a panel.

“You’re nothing but anti-cop, sir,” Houck said, setting off Pollack in a screaming fit:

“[Brown] is innocent! Continue your white supremacy. You look ridiculous.”

“We don’t need any insults on this show,” said Cuomo, who is really the one who looked ridiculous. By turning an irrelevant video that changes nothing in the final verdict regarding Mike Brown’s death into a  lengthy segment on a news show, CNN falsely represented it as news—something the public needs to know that will increase their understanding of events and issues important in their lives.

That is fake news.

And this is CNN.

UPDATE: Now the new video that has nothing to do with the shooting has sparked protests in Ferguson. Of course it has. Good work, CNN.

39 thoughts on “From The Ethics Alarms “Fake News That Deniers Of Mainstream Media Bias Claim Isn’t Fake News But It’s Still Fake News” Files: The New Michael Brown Video And CNN

  1. “Why was CNN helping to publicize what is obviously going to be a documentary that seeks to rehabilitate the fable that Brown was gunned down by a racist cop?”

    Because that’s what they want to believe.

    They want to believe that sweet, college-bound Michael Brown was shot by a racist cop because he was a black kid walking down the street. They’re not going to acknowledge anything else.

    When the original footage of him shoving the store owner seemed to indicate he’d committed strong-armed robbery, they decided that sweet Mike was shot because he’d stolen a few cheap cigars.

    The footage only proved that Mike wasn’t really a Gentle Giant all the time.

    But, now, operating under the delusion that what happened in the store matters a whit when it comes to what happened on the street, they are willing to believe that sweet, college-bound Mike swapped illegal drugs for the cigars if it means proving that he didn’t commit robbery…and, thus, did not deserve to be shot for a robbery he didn’t commit.

    It’s never going to change until they accept the following:

    Michael Brown was not shot because he was black.
    Michael Brown was not shot because he stole cigars.
    Michael Brown was not shot because he was walking in the street.
    Michael Brown was shot because he attacked a police officer and tried to take his gun.

  2. Hey, As Mika Brezinski recently said on air. Trump is trying to tell people what to think and that’s our job. So, what do you expect from CNN.

    As an aside, and I know it’s irrelevant but I know how to take a tape and edit out disparaging parts but someone needs to tell me how they edited in the parts showing Brown man handling the little shop owner in the original footage.

    What might be relevant is the question why it took so long for this tape to emerge. Is someone creating a false narrative through careful editing? We know that communication is what moves the masses. This footage serves no purpose except to foment unrest.

  3. So now reporting on new developments and showing video, and possible interpretations of that video from a highly contentious story that still reverberates today is “fake news?” The term, as you use it, has no meaning. Of course it’s news. In much the same it was news when the woman who accused Emmitt Till of being lewd admitted she made the story up, some 60+ years later. It is a new nugget of information in the story, even if it is old.

    The original video of Mike Brown was used by many people to give credence t the idea that he was a “black brute” who was likely to have attacked the officer and also run at the police officer through a hail of bullets. You are right, in the grand scheme of things, it should have been irrelevant. But it wasn’t. It was used to create a narrative. This video throws a possible wrinkle into that commonly-accepted narrative. So it’s news. Not earth-shattering news, but still news nonetheless.

    • I’ll argue you’re asking for equivalency between the conduct of two groups here that isn’t comparable. I do concede that much of who’s “right” is a matter of moral luck, but there is a profound difference in who’s more in the wrong.

      As Jack pointed out at the time, the whole Michael Brown episode was a massive train wreck. Way too many people jumped onto the bandwagon on one side or the other before the facts were known. The ethical position would have been to take a wait and see position but neither the black lives crowd nor nearly all cops and their reflexive backers wanted to wait.

      On the side of cops and their reflexive backer, this video was used as a distortion to back their narrative. They were unethical because they based their position in the side of the cop because he was a cop.

      When the truth came out, it was even worse for Michael Brown than I expected. Darren Wilson went above and beyond to avoid killing Brown. The fatal shooting occurred over a 100 foot span as Wilson backpedaled and shot as he backed up. Brown chased him the whole time.

      BLM backed the wrong case. Instead of having the honesty to move on to a much more provocative case, they think they need to stay on this one. They, the media and their political allies keep up the HUGE lie when evidence proves that it’s a giant lie.

      Calling the video equal to the impact on an innocent Wilson, continuing to stoke racial strife, and creating even more damage in Ferguson is despicable.

    • You’re both right and wrong at the same time.

      “New Michael Brown Video Raised Questions About Shooting”

      “New Michael Brown Video…” : News
      “…Raised Questions About Shooting” : Fake News


    • Deery: No, reporting about the new video isn’t fake news. Putting that story under a caption that says the video “raises questions about the shooting,” when the video has nothing to do with the shooting, is fake news.

      It’s a real simple concept:

      If I take a picture of a ship at sea and publish it in the newspaper, that’s not fake news. If I add the caption, “This ship was just hijacked by pirates,” when that didn’t happen, it’s fake news.

      • Both CNN and HLN news spent long segments discussing the video this morning. Absurdly, a lot of the time involved showing that the video didn’t show what the gonzo documentary maker claimed it did, although it wouldn’t change ANYTHING if the video showed EXACTLY what he said it did.


    • According to the store owner himself, Brown attempted to force a trade rather than buy te merchandise. The store owner refused and tried to block Brown from leaving the store without paying, which is why Brown shoved him and walked out. The store owner then reported the robbery.
      All of this has always been the unlucky victim’s story, it’s verified by both security tapes, and incidentally, his store was destroyed by rioters who believed the false narrative that Brown was a victim.

      And now this new “shocking” tape (which reveals nothing new) will subject the man and his business to further harassment and persecution. Which of course no one at CNN cares about. Collateral damage.

  4. deery stretches in a manner of Elast-O-Girl in stating: Of course it’s news. In much the same it was news when the woman who accused Emmitt Till of being lewd admitted she made the story up, some 60+ years later.

    No, Deery. Carolyn Bryant’s decades-old admission that she gave false testimony during the murder trial is MATERIAL to the the fact that Bryant’s husband and Leslie Milam were acquitted of Till’s murder.

    The fact that Michael Brown was in the store half a day before the videoed altercation with the store owner is IMMATERIAL to the Brown case. You might as well argue that what Brown had for lunch four days earlier has bearing. It does not,

    • No, Deery. Carolyn Bryant’s decades-old admission that she gave false testimony during the murder trial is MATERIAL to the the fact that Bryant’s husband and Leslie Milam were acquitted of Till’s murder.

      But hey, it’s all immaterial now, right? The guys are dead and can’t be tried again. And her testimony, in and of itself, should have been irrelevant to whether the accused murdered Till or not. But it wasn’t, because people will sometimes use irrelevant evidence in their judgment on a case…which brings us to…

      The fact that Michael Brown was in the store half a day before the videoed altercation with the store owner is IMMATERIAL to the Brown case. You might as well argue that what Brown had for lunch four days earlier has bearing. It does not.

      There was no Michael Brown *case* as such. The closest it ever got to that was a semi-secret grand jury. The original video may or may not have been played or described for them. But it was mostly a controversy of differing public opinions, how sharply they differed from one another, and the reactions that occurred from those differing opinions. That’s why it was news in the first place. As the video may shift the narrative surrounding that, it does qualify as news, even if it isn’t the most earth-shattering kind. I don’t think all news has to be in the earthshattering category.

      • deery, deery, deery. Obtuse as always. Nice attempt at a parse, but it won’t fly here.

        Okay, there was no “case,” if you wish to narrowly define “case” as a legal proceeding. Substitute the word “incident” if you wish. It changes nothing.

        The investigation into Michael Brown’s death focused – entirely and appropriately – on his encounter with Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, and whether or not Wilson used unreasonable force in his encounter with Brown.

        Matters leading up to the encounter – beyond the triggering incident at the store – are immaterial. The now-established fact that a number of towns near St. Louis use fines on citizens as a mechanism for balancing the budget, though I’ll be the first to acknowledge is grossly unfair, is immaterial. Brown’s upbringing is immaterial. Brown’s educational history, his prior arrest record, the leftover tacos he had for breakfast that morning – all are IMMATERIAL.

        In the face of a PR shitstorm (see: Marilyn Mosby/Baltimore) the local DA determined there wasn’t evidence justifying prosecution. A FEDERAL investigation by a highly politicized Justice Department – propped up by a media that was making big bucks by stirring the pot – concluded that Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown in self-defense, and that the entire “hands up don’t shoot” meme that created the BLM movement never happened.

        Hey, it’s your life. Believe in a lie if you wish. You spread it at risk of your own reputation.

        • You pronounce things as “IMMATERIAL”, but immaterial to what?
          Matters leading up to the encounter – beyond the triggering incident at the store – are immaterial.

          There was no “triggering incident” at the store. The altercation between the officer and Brown occurred later than that, and the officer was not responding to any call from the store. The first video was irrelevant as far as whether unnecessary force was used, and the second video is too. But both are used to inform public opinion about the character of Brown.

          It is news, insofar as it is new information about a noteworthy event that wasn’t known to the public. I’ve seen it several times on my timeline today, and none of the sources they linked to was CNN. People are obviously very interested in the subject matter and other sources are reporting on it. Does CNN have an ethical duty to restrict people from this information?

          • Wrong. Ferguson PD dispatch issued an alert to all units as a result of the altercation at the store; Wilson saw someone matching the description. That was Michael Brown.

          • Further, CNN doesn’t have an ethical duty to restrict people from information. It has an ethical duty to make an editorial judgment as to what is in fact newsworthy.

            Given that Brown’s presence at the store hours before the triggering incident is immaterial to the altercation between Brown and Wilson, it had an ethical duty to make a prudent judgment as to whether reporting this actually introduced relevant new detail to the case.

            Knowing how inflammatory this “news” was likely to be, and knowing (or, at least, it SHOULD have known) that it had no bearing, CNN actually had an ethical duty NOT to report it.

          • Why does the character of Brown matter in any way? If he was a volunteer worker for orphans, a Boy Scout, a Secret Santa for Ferguson, if he tried to take an officer’s gun, then fled, turned and charged an officer with all of his 300 pound bulk, he was asking to be shot as dead as if he had been Dracula.

            And by what weird, warped, sick view of “character” is participating in a drug deal an enhancement of character?

            It’s non-news. It is only of interest to those in denial of reality, who think it is meaningful. Objectively, it isn’t. Sure, report the existence of the clip, if it’s a slow news day, maybe after news that Kylie Jenner’s pimple popped. But having the panel argue misrepresents that there is anything to argue about.

            • Agreed, his character shouldn’t matter as to whether excessive force was used. But all that went to crap when the police released the video of Brown allegedly robbing the store, in an apparent (successful) effort to favorably slant news coverage in their way.

              So no character doesn’t (shouldn’t) matter for court. But it certainly does for the court of public opinion. And news doesn’t just deal with courtroom rules of evidence, but public opinion and reception, among many other things. It’s news. The panel thing, eh. I believe most of those panels are useless anyway, done mostly to fill time. If not this, then “home office dad”, and his kids and hilarious wife interrupting an interview.

              • It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t. Not “shouldn’t.” The video of him pushing around the little shop clerk was also irrelevant, and played mo part in any aspect of the decision not to charge Wilson. The police were sick of the Brown family, like Trayvon Mratin’s family, manipulating public opinion with false portrayals of the deceased as little angels—not that it matters. So what? That video was barely news, but at least it was contemporaneous with the investigation. This is after-the-fact static.

  5. I think the video is news. It adds a little bit more to our understanding of what Brown was doing right before his death.

    But Jack is right about the reaction to this news. Those pretending that this should change anyone’s mind about whether the shooting of Brown was legally justified are fooling themselves. It does not tell us anything new about that.

    Reporting on this isn’t “fake news.” A reporter asserting that it indicates Brown was unfairly targeted, and that it adds credence to the narrative that the shooting was unjustified, is.

    • But Chris—and I more or less agree—this is post hoc ergo propter hoc. A false arrest, a bad arrest, doesn’t justify attacking the cop. A cop who is being attacked after a bad arrest is just as justified in shooting to protect himself as one who is being attacked by someone who is a serial killer. The two issues are separate, and presenting it as otherwise misleads the ignorant. Fact: Mike Brown would be alive today if he stayed in the police car, submitted to authority, and was otherwise law abiding.

      • There is a pretty long list of things the innocent can’t do, and doing them subjects them to prosecution even if they are innocent of the original accusation. In a non-exhaustive list we have: Can’t assault the cop, can’t resist arrest, can’t evade arrest, can’t escape once under arrest, can’t assault a correction officer, can’t assault a court officer, can’t assault/rape/murder a cell mate.

        Every one on that list has ensnared an otherwise innocent person and resulted in prison time.

        • But Chris—and I more or less agree—this is post hoc ergo propter hoc. A false arrest, a bad arrest, doesn’t justify attacking the cop. A cop who is being attacked after a bad arrest is just as justified in shooting to protect himself as one who is being attacked by someone who is a serial killer.

          I’m not sure I get what this is supposed to be in response to. The BLM narrative around Brown wasn’t just that he was unfairly arrested, it was that he had his hands up and was backing away at the time of the shooting. That would have certainly been unjustified.

          All available evidence points to the conclusion that this did not happen, and Brown charged the officer. But those still defending Brown mostly deny that. Their argument isn’t that he was justified to charge the officer because it was an unfair arrest; It’s that he didn’t charge them.

          And as I said, the new video doesn’t add any more support to that argument.

      • Here’s the story that should have ran:

        A new documentary promises to add fuel to an already volatile subject: The shooting of Michael Brown. This was a story largely driven by narratives, many of them false. For instance, it was widely believed Brown had his hands up and said “don’t shoot” before the officer shot him, although that was later proven wrong. Filmmaker Whatever HisNameIs claims his video debunks another myth about the case: That Brown robbed a store owner hours before he died. While the video isn’t related to Brown’s shooting case, the filmmaker says it shows Brown was not a thug who robbed liquor stores.


        That’s the only legitimate way to cover the release of this video. It has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting case, and that should be made absolutely clear. But I do think the fact that the documentary was released is a story…but it’s a story about how this film attempts to correct one part of the Brown narrative. Not how this alters the shooting case.

        • And as such, it’s a teeny weenie story. The film doesn’t prove, for example, that Brown didn’t batter a smaller store employee, or even that he didn’t steal an item. And the “he’s not a thug who shop-lifts, he’s a thug who deals pot” is mind-meltingly silly.

          He didn’t deserve to die because he was a thug, and Wilson wasn’t guilty of murder if he wasn’t.


          • Yeah, I’m trying to figure this whole thing out, because the way I see it, this film only serves to make Brown look even worse. It does nothing to dispel the video showing him roughhousing the store clerk; it merely adds the detail that Brown had sold a bag of weed at the store a day earlier. So how, exactly, does this make Brown seem more sympathetic? I guess they’re trying to say, “This was no random strong-arm robbery; the Gentle Giant was merely trying to get payment for the weed he’d sold the store. What’s the complaint here from the Trumpkins? Doesn’t their Orange Leader always say we have to be tougher in these trade deal negotiations? The Gentle Giant was merely taking what was his. So he sold weed. That doesn’t mean he should be gunned down in cold blood with his hands in the air while saying ‘Don’t shoot.’ And anyone who doesn’t see it this way is a bigot.” *

            * The last sentiment was actually articulated by the filmmaker during an interview I saw. Anyone who doesn’t think this video exonerates Brown is a bigot.

            Don’t these people realize how ridiculous they’ve become?

            • Tippy,

              Oh, I do like the Trump angle. Yes, I do. We all know that Trump did it. It was just a matter of time. And, even if he wasn’t president, or even a candidate at the time for that matter, his mere presence as a high profile grifter from Manhattan conclusively established his white, Anglo-Saxon privilege, which directly caused the Gentle Giant to seek employment in the informal commodities trade. The Gentle Giant knew that corrupt, lazy, inept, and racist police would not enforce his right to payment for his delivery services, so he has to rely on self-help remedies to protect his contract rights: “You don’t pay, I rough up your store manager.” Now that I think of it, Officer Wilson is simply a mere societal extension of Donald Trump and his white privilege.

              On a serious note, I saw an interview with the documentarians (is that a word?) making the same assertions. Mystified, I asked my wife what she thought of it. Her sideways glance was enough for me to know she thought the whole thing was hocum. In the immortal words of my father, “If you attack a police officer, expect bad things to happen.”


  6. I do hope the documentary flops. The guys is not as talented as Oliver Stone whose lunatic fringe ideas about the assasination of JFK were at least interesting. Michael Brown the thug and drug dealer is not worth a documentary.

  7. “A false arrest, a bad arrest, doesn’t justify attacking the cop. A cop who is being attacked after a bad arrest is just as justified in shooting to protect himself as one who is being attacked by someone who is a serial killer.”

    Man, does that ever bear repeating. All these people with cell phones and suspects, for God’s sake, acting as if they’re self-deputized, expert members of Internal Affairs on a Law and Order is just nuts. And it’s getting people killed.

  8. Five hundred years ago, somebody* wrote, “Accused of burning to death three men and a dog, the Inquisition defeats all charges by triumphantly producing the dog alive.” It’s a common tactic today – gather all arguments that were made by anybody, at any point in an evolving discussion, pull up any bit of evidence that might cast any shadow upon any of those arguments, and proclaim all of the arguments unfounded.

    *Would love it if anyone can source this. Been driving me crazy.

  9. Just read this and I’m not sure it’s fake news cause, I mean, it sounds legit. Anybody know?
    Everything You Think You Know About the Death of Mike Brown Is Wrong, and the Man Who Killed Him Admits It

    Here is the story of Michael Brown’s murder that we all believed: One sunny day in Ferguson, Mo., a huge behemoth of a man named Michael Brown walked into a convenience store; committed a strong-arm robbery, escaping with the invaluable loot of a pack of cigarillos; and while he was walking home, Darren Wilson, a brave cop responding to the robbery, stopped him.

    When Wilson tried to detain Brown, Brown reached for the cop’s gun and the policeman shot him. But Brown wouldn’t quit, and the officer thought that Brown might have a weapon, so Wilson shot a few more times to stop Brown from harming him.

    “What happened in Ferguson is that a man committed a robbery, attempted to assault a police officer, and the police officer—to save his life—shot him. The police officer did his duty. The officer should be commended for what he did.” —Rudy Giuliani on Fox News, March 12, 2015
    Except none of that happened.

    After a documentarian released video this past weekend that dispels the myth of the Mike Brown corner-store robbery, more information is emerging about the n-word-using patrolman who was accused of racial discrimination and excessive force even before he pumped at least six bullets into Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, killing him. New court papers reveal that Brown never tried to take the officer’s gun, never struck the officer and did not initiate any contact with Wilson, who was cleared of wrongdoing by a secret grand jury in November 2014.

    As part of a civil suit filed last year against Wilson, a court document reveals some stunning admissions from the former Ferguson police officer. In a court docket filed Dec. 28, the cop who killed Brown admitted to using racial slurs, cursing at Brown before he was killed and grabbing him without provocation.

    According to the document, Wilson acknowledges that he spotted Brown and his friend Dorian Johnson on Canfield Drive on Aug. 9. He will not admit that they were engaged in any criminal activity other than jaywalking. He pulled his police car over, blocking the path of the teenager and his friend.

    The officer does not dispute the fact that he didn’t radio anyone before stopping the two pedestrians and telling Brown to “get the fuck back” after opening the police door. It is disputed whether the door ricocheted back into Wilson or whether Brown closed the door himself, but the policeman goes through the details of the encounter:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.