“The media sucks!“
—-Comedian and videographer Vito Gesuald, after discovering that the Associated Press lied about his conduct while circulating his image to news outlets around the country.
A detailed account of this illustrative event is here, but the basic facts are these. During the walk-out of Netflix employees who want the streaming service to censor comedians who dare to make jokes about the anointed untouchables in our culture, currently transexuals (among others), a counter-protester named Vito Gesualdi staged a mild counter-protest with a sign that read “Jokes are funny.” He makes videos and has a humorous podcast, and was on the scene to support Dave Chappelle’s First Amendment right to make jokes even if some people find them offensive. Vito was photographed by an Associated Press photographer named Damian Dovarganes, with the result you see above. But the AP captioned the photo, “Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi screams profanities as he engages with peaceful protesters begging him to leave…”
Vito was horrified and understandably so. “Screams profanities?” he tweeted. “Dude, I just yelled ‘I love Dave Chappelle’! The media sucks!” A bit later, Vito discovered with a Google search that the falsely captioned photo was turning up everywhere.
“Oh great, it’s a stock Associated Press photo caption so that lie is on dozens of news sites now. Any lawyers in the house? This is BS,” he wrote adding with another tweet, “Worth noting that my co-host Dick Masterson is currently at the hospital getting a CT scan after having his head bounced against a concrete planter by these ‘peaceful protestors.'”
Indeed the media does suck, and this time, as in the similar smear of Catholic student Nick Sandmann, there was sufficient evidence to prove how much it sucks. Since the photo was very identifiable, internet sleuths matched it to several videos and recordings of the event. At the moment AP’s photographer snapped his photo, Vito was shouting, “I’m just here to say that jokes are funny, people. Dave Chappelle’s a funny guy. I love Dave! I don’t know why all the violence, I don’t know why all the hate. I just LOVE DAVE CHAPPELLE! DAAAAAVE CHAPPEEEELLE! WOOOOO!” No obscenities at all. But one of the protesters was shouting obscenities at him, the video showed. “Repent, motherfucker!!!” one Netflix mob member screamed repeatedly at Gesualdi after those “peaceful protesters” destroyed his sign.
Remembering, no doubt, that Sandmann’s lawsuits against the media sources that defamed him produced a substantial settlement from CNN, the Associated Press changed its caption to read,
“Comedian and videographer Vito Gesualdi shouts at people protesting against Dave Chappelle’s Netflix special outside the Netflix building in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles…”
It has not, so far as I can discern, specifically retracted its previous lie. Sue them, Vito. I can refer you to some people.
I have concluded that those who deny that the mainstream media is biased, toxic, deliberately dishonest, incompetent and untrustworthy have to be in denial, like my retired journalist friend, genuinely in favor of journalists being propagandists because the want a woke totalitarian regime, or morons. Is there another option? I don’t see one.
The Associated Press was once the single news service one could trust to confine itself to the facts, because it was relied upon by other outlets. Now look what it has become. It’s progressive staff wanted to side with the politically-correct would-be censors at Netflix, so they deliberately, maliciously and reckless distorted the facts to turn an innocent (and civil!) counter protester into a villain.
The current news media is the enemy of the people, as President Trump accurately pronounced it. If he gets credit for nothing else, Trump deserves credit for having the guts to pronounce the truth, just as Reagan refused to be polite in describing the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.” The media is also the enemy of democracy. It not only cannot be trusted, it must not be trusted.
In short, it sucks.
8 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Month: AP Libel Victim Vito Gesualdi”
Hard to imagine that anyone who could pour p!$$ out of a boot without instructions could believe that AP, et al, thinks their target audience is anymore discerning than stumbling/bumbling/mumbling simpletons.
Ethics villain: the crowd that stole his sign, ripped it up, gave him back the stick and accused him of having a weapon.
Their retraction was…. Something….
I was going to make the same point you did… This have a faintly Covington taste to it.
I am confused and I hope you can clarify this for me. I thought the First Amendment Freedom of the Press allowed for the press to print lies about a public figure and never be sued. And, I thought a comedian was a public figure as compared to a high school boy and minor. Thus can Mr. Gesualdi actually sue?
Well, I googled him. It came up with 2YouTube links to his channel, a link to his Twitter profile, a mention of him on a site called ‘Dickipedia’, a bunch of articles about this incident, and some obituaries of people named Vito Gesualdi that don’t happen to be him. Not even a Wikipedia page about him. So, it would be hard to call him a ‘public figure’. I googled my local physician (a very local physician) and got a page of links about him and his practice. I googled a high school friend of mine and it returned 6 links to her webpage, 4 links to the theater where she works, 2 links to sites that used her work, and her IMDB page.
She is NOT a public figure, no one on this site would know who she was. If Gesualdi is a public figure, then every schoolteacher, physician, and teenager with a social media account is now a ‘public figure’.
Ok, I had misunderstood that. I assumed (poor choice on my part) that a comedian and videographer was a public figure. Thanks.
1. Not never, it’s just that the lie has to be deliberate, reckless, and done with malice. News organizations have been successfully sued for defamation by public figures, but usually the company sees the writing on the wall and settles…as in this case.
2. He’s less of a public figure than I am, and I’m not.
Thank you for the clarification. I hope he sues and wins.