In response to a video posted by the Facebook Police Watchdog community Cop Block, I mentioned (in not very much detail at first ) in the comments section that the following video inaccurately portrayed both the autopsy results of Mike Brown, and Darren Wilson’s testimony as to how the event unfolded.
My comment was met with unprecedented antagonism to say the least. I was insulted,told to kill myself, that I was a “stupid kid”, and that I should go out and fight out in the streets of Ferguson, the commenter deleted his comment before I could screen shot it, but it was definitely violent and I was taken aback by it, but then I remembered most death wishes over the internet don’t actually have much weight to them for the most part.
What insulted me the most of the comments was the derogatory way my age was used to immediately dismiss my criticism and logical conclusion for the video’s poor portrayal, oversimplification, and misleading nature.
I responded to the last comment, which I believed the author meant to refer to me as a stupid kid which led me to respond with the following:
“I’m actually a professional journalist who’s tired of media not doing their jobs correctly
With the rise of the internet is the increased attempt by other parties to disseminate untrue information for their own ends.
Such instances require that we examine the information present to us.
The information presented here is done inaccurately and uses 3-d modelling to elicit an uninformed emotional response based off of misrepresented evidence
Notice the absence of the markings in the video shown at 1:26 that do not show the shots to the chest? Or the central forehead?
The woman in the video is citing Brown’s private autopsy as the source…but even so shots to the center of the forehead and chest are too out of place to even be up for debate, especially given that the federal government is and has investigated this case, there’s no way they would have let a detail like that slide
says that Wilson claims to have shot Brown when Brown charged towards him notice how that part is missing in the video…this video doesn’t necessarily “depict both sides”
also notice how at 3:30 the same flawed autopsy graph is shown again as being cited by the private autopsy (that now mentions the shot to the head, but still remains flawed in missing the chest shots)”
As of now, 6:48 A.M.,no one has refuted or acknowledged the evidence or assertions I put forth, or apologized for their assumptious arrogance.
I’d be proud if I wasn’t disappointed. We deserve better “media” than this.
Alternative media is just as unsafe as mainstream media, especially now given the powerful global influence of the internet.
Read all evidence relating to the Ferguson documents yourself here
The following stemmed from a FaceBook post generated 11/26/14 by me, changes for grammar and context have been made
My posts on social media [Re-tweets, shares, and comments] lately regarding Ferguson have not been unbiased and I apologize for that.
I’m now going over witness interviews and testimonies [that, and more are available here] a long with evidence and all other relevant articles so that I may have a more informed context on what actually happened on August 9th 2014.
As a journalist, it’s my job to read first and ask questions later, but sometimes not being sure about the realities around you frightens you into hypothetical situations and rhetorical evaluation.
When events like these happen, maintaining a commitment to truth needs to be your first response, now that I’ve had time to digest the hysteria that has been the last couple of days (and weeks, and months) I can continue to pursue that same commitment with a much leveler head
I think it’s important that as we review the evidence, witness interviews and witness testimonies, we must keep an objective eye on the prize, and it wasn’t until I saw this post by Charles Cooke earlier that I really harnessed in that sentiment completely.
Number who have seen evidence: 0. RT @TheFix: 54% of nonwhites believe Darren Wilson should be charged with murder. 23% of whites agree.
The point raised in the tweet above is one that I found myself asking when I was reviewing evidence and interviews myself. Although I functioned my way through the documents with assumptions guiding my eyes and mind, the number of citizens who were actually trying to review the information for themselves or for the sake of promoting good media did cross my mind in form of a question. And as a result, I encouraged others to dig into the documents for themselves.
With the recent spotlighting of police brutality, especially against minorities- that has until this point gone mostly undocumented, it’s reasonable to see why I may have been too quick to come to conclusions, however these incidents are arguably separate in nature. (Though I do believe our law enforcement should practice and develop more regular, non-lethal ways to dissolve situations)
So far I’ve only began reading witness, evidence and autopsy reports, I hope to read as much of the evidence as possible this week as the tension de-escalates over time.
I encourage my fellow journalists and citizens to do the same, should they wish to make an informed opinion of the case’s conclusion.
To not do so would be to provide a disservice to all ears eager of hearing truth and justice, and would allow for deconstructive ignorance to grasp this conversation and slowly submit it to the silence of shame.
Typically pundits and roundtables don’t work so well in the sphere of constructive conversation about current events, and especially not about foreign policy. But sometimes Real Time With Bill Maher mines up some real gems (most of which don’t come from Maher himself).
What happened in this Real Time with Bill Maher clip from May 2013 is a perfect example of the consequences that come from a society more engaged in shouting than examining. While many people (and you might be included in this) roll their eyes over the thought of discussing Benghazi situation, (that was how long ago?) Glenn Greenwald mentions something that most liberals couldn’t find themselves to come to terms with: That when government officials make untrue statements on the air despite whatever team they may be on – their actions and statements deserve investigation and retribution when they prove to be false.
While Maher continued to insist that he didn’t know what the scandal was, Charles Cooke of the National Review Online added very beneficial and constructive reflections of how the media and its audiences turned to partisan distractions rather than actually addressing the issue and while this is slightly off-topic and not on point enough for Maher’s question-beckoning, it is very beneficial food for thought which I will come back to later.
Glenn Greenwald came in and supported Cooke’s claim that the polarization in coverage proved to be more distracting than beneficial, and came out with this awesome statement at 1:26
“The problem is that this arose about 6 weeks before the election when everybody was desperate to protect their side, so Fox [coverage] was ‘this is the worst scandal ever’ MSNBC [coverage] was ‘Obama did absolutely nothing wrong, he acted perfectly as always’ and the reality was something in-between which was:
A U.S. ambassador was killed (there’s only been 6 times in our nation’s history when that happened) The president went on the air and other people did too and made statements that proved to be untrue about why the attack took place- that it was a reaction to this film, when in rea- that’s just a reality, whether they were lying or just an error, the statements they made were- it was untrue.
Maher: It was a fluid situation
Glenn: No but it it still- when the government goes on the air and says things that prove to be untrue that is a – something that needs to be investigated and it was in a place where President Obama and NATO had gone and invaded and bombed and changed the regime, I’m not saying it’s a huge scandal, but there certainly are questions when the government and political officials six weeks before an election say things about a major event like that prove to be untrue. There should be investigations even if the republicans are doing it for political ends the same is true when democrats were investigating Bush officials and saying ‘these are the worst scandals ever’
Maher then goes off and brings in a statement made by Cheney that security at the Libyan Embassy was typically stronger during the 9/11 anniversary under the Bush administration, and while there is a fair amount of irony in that statement, it’s clear that Greenwald’s statement is still lost on Maher.
What is perplexing and frustrating is that Maher, just like the left-leaning outlets that Greenwald and Cooke mentioned, refused to acknowledge that the government should be held liable and answer for the inaccuracies in the statements they were providing.
And therein lies the biggest problem that we can see in modern media reporting.
With no tenacity for the truth or expectation of accountability for themselves or from the government, the media turned to partisan talking points and bile-quality reporting because doing so covertly plays it safe when compared to turning press conferences into interrogations.
While ‘interrogation’ might seem like a strong word to use for this situation, is it not appropriate? Lately there’s been a shift in tone when it comes to the usage of that word to imply some type of malice or harsh-intent, but at what point should media and society break away from accepting non-answers and expect their elected leaders to not only answer honestly to questions from the press, but to also answer for their misinformation?
We see this happen in debates where candidates don’t answer questions directly and veer off course, or when they cite statistics that are unfounded, debunked, or misleading
As Glenn pointed out, the statements made by the President and elected officials at the time proved to be untrue, and at the time they didn’t answer as to why. The fact that the media never asked them shouldn’t be reason enough to not address an accidental dissemination of misinformation. I understand that when constituents are harnessed in by the party-line tactics, it’s hard to expect quality journalism to take hold, but where media fails, journalism– true journalism should never falter- and I believe that Glenn was advocating for that in his statements.
As Charles Cooke later mentioned, “The Scandal here is that the media, as it did during the Bush years sides with power, the media did not want to investigate this and so it reported a process story right from the beginning Mitt Romney attacks the President
After Maher persists in claiming ignorance over what the scandal is, he goes on to cite supposed interferences and limits to what the administration can take on, saying
“What’s the crime? Something bad happened in the world. Obama is supposed to micromanage everything that happens in the world? He’s got four million people under his charge.”
Glenn later interjects and adds,
“You don’t think that when the U.S. ambassador is killed and there are people within the state department saying that they were asking for help and not getting it and that the U.S. government went onto the world stage for a week and made claims about what happened that turned out not to be true, that that doesn’t merit any investigation? “
“Okay, Alright, Alright let’s move-no, wait I don’t. I don’t and I’m bored with it let’s move on.”
Glenn smiles and sips from his cup, Joy Reid says OK- laughs and sits back, and the audience applauds enthusiastically from being saved from their duty as citizens that Glenn almost reminded them of.
If information is the currency of Democracy as Ralph Nader once said, it would seem that American media is doing its best to pick apart the collective piggy bank themselves. As hard as it may be, it’s up to us-the citizenry to count up what’s been exchanged and forged, otherwise the money that comes out of our mouth will never be any good.
As you’ve most likely heard by now, American journalist James Foley was beheaded by the Islamic militant group known as ISIL. The execution was carried out as promised by the extremists after they vowed to murder Foley, should the U.S. continue its renewed air strikes in Iraq.
The airstrikes were approved in early August, along with humanitarian relief- after president Obama announced that the U.S. would begin military action in Iraq as a response to increasing threats to the safety of U.S. personnel stationed there; he also cautioned about the possibility of ISIL sparking genocide in the region and stated that the U.S. could not turn a blind eye towards the conflict.
Foley’s parents claim to have been threatened by the White House, when they raised funds to pay off Foley’s captors.
“We were told very clearly three times that it was illegal for us to try and ransom our son out and that we had possibility of being prosecuted” his mother, Diane Foley, said on ABC news.
The National Security Council has taken an interesting approach to these accusations, with NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden stating:
“The law is clear that ransom payments to designated individuals or entities, such as ISIL [ISIS], are prohibited. It is also a matter of longstanding policy that the U.S. does not grant concessions to hostage takers. Doing so would only put more Americans at risk of being taken captive. That is what we convey publicly and what we convey privately.”
Many American media outlets as such as FOX, CNN, and MSNBC, fail to raise the important questions: How could this have been avoided, what could have been done?
As reported by Yahoo News, a mission to save Foley was conducted in August. Intelligence agencies believed that they had discovered Foley’s location in Syria, and “several dozen” special forces operations were deployed from aircraft carriers and engaged in a firefight with militants; but as the scene was later investigated, it became apparent that the location of the hostages (including Foley) had changed. The rescue mission was declared unsuccessful as a result.
What’s so interesting is that the release of this information by the White House marks the first time that the U.S. has divulged information about military personnel being “on the ground” in Syria since their civil war three years ago- yet they won’t comment on when the operation took place or how many hostages they were attempting to rescue in total during that operation. However, a detailed yet unconfirmed account of the rescue attempt by a resident in Raqqa paints a likely picture of how events unfolded in the James Foley rescue attempt, the account in its entirety it resembles the mission carried out to assassinate Osama Bin Laden.
Now to answer the questions set before:How could this have been avoided, what could have been done?
As you may know The White House has a pretty shoddy way of getting Americans back from oppressive regimes and terrorists. Bureaucratic red tape frequently halts or stalls negotiations in returning Americans to the homeland- and families are left to worry.
The situation between the Foley family and the White House is somewhat understandable over the concern of ransom funds being used to fund terrorist acts, but how long should a family wait to see results?
At the root of the kidnapping was the issue of American intervention in Iraq and Syria combined with U.S. aggression against ISIL – which can be seen as another attempt of “nation building” on America’s part– this is what ISIL was attacking.
In the transcript of the beheading, the executioner- suspected to be Abdel-Majed-Abdel Barry, A.K.A. “Jihadi John- says the following:
“I’m back, Obama, and I am back because of your arrogant foreign policy toward the Islamic state. Because of your insistence in continuing your bombings in Muhassan, Alboumar, and Mosul dam, despite our serious warnings. You, Obama, have yet again, for your actions, have killed yet another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knives will continue to strike the necks of your people. We take this opportunity to warn those governments who have entered this evil alliance of America against the Islamic state and back off and leave our people alone.”
“Any aggression towards the Islamic State is an aggression towards Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership. So any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
Notice the distinct omission of any hatred towards democracy or our culture, the freedom and equality of women within our social construct, or anything else resembling the “they hate us because they hate us” rhetoric that gets repeated time and time again by mainstream pundits. All of the grievances mentioned are a result from an embittered regime struggling to fight back against foreign and domestic enemies.
Keep in mind that ISIL is surrounded by enemies all over– governments in Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Iran are all hostile to it, and it also has the enmity of Al Qaeda, the Kurds, and other rebel groups in Syria- the truth still remains that ISIL is less of a threat than Al Qaeda. President Obama himself has even said on occasion that the amount of territory that ISIL controls is small and while debates go on about how much territory they currently control, it’s mostly agreed to look as pictured above.
As well funded as ISIL might be, there’s no reason to believe that they could afford a war on all fronts with their middle eastern rivals, as well as their European and American enemies.
To this day, ISIL has only vowed to carry out an attack against or our people, should we continue to attack them.
“any attempt by you, Obama, to deny the Muslims their rights of living in safety under the Islamic Caliphate will result in the bloodshed of your people.”
Though ISIL may have beheaded an American citizen- it was due to renewed aggression by the United States Government in what they see as a threat to their sovereign region, and considering that they claim to speak for “Muslims from all walks of life who have accepted the Islamic Caliphate as their leadership”- makes it that much of a bigger target for its predominantly Muslim neighbors, and that much less of our problem.
*This is post is not excusing ISIL, nor is it an attempt to justify their actions, it is simply an attempt to put the events listed within context and to promote constructive discussion*