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.