Posted by Curt on 24 October, 2007 at 10:20 am. 8 comments already!

Not too long ago I finished a book on the Duke Lacrosse “rape” incident called “It’s Not About The Truth” by Don Yeager.  It detailed the shameful conduct of the District Attorney Mike Nifong along with the media who were complicit in hyping the lies of Crystal Gail Mangum. 

The front-page headline read: “Dancer Gives Details of Ordeal.” An unbelievably sympathetic story followed, portraying Crystal as a single mother of two who was struggling to take care of her family and finish her degree at NCCU.  She told Samiha Khanna and Anne Blythe, both writers for the News & Observer, that as soon as she and the other stripper started dancing, the more then forty men in the house began shouting racial slurs at them.  “We started to cry,” she told them.  “We were so scared.”

Of course none of this turned out to be true.  In fact we later find out that Crystal was not some poor little girl just trying to get an education but was instead just a common street prostitute out to make the quickest buck she could.

Craig Franklin at the Christian Science Monitor now appears to be the first MSM reporter to question the role of the MSM in hyping the lies of the Jena Six story.  Since he lives in Jena and his wife is a teacher at the school in question he appears to have a deep knowledge of the events, and he is a bit pissed off that the MSM got so lazy that they didn’t bother to actually investigate the charges being spread by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson:

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests — the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side’s statements — the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they’d read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.

Chris then goes over the many myths of this story:

  • There was never any “white-only” tree
  • The nooses were NOT a message to black students.  The FBI and police found that “Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”) The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history”
  • The District Attorney was threatening three white girls who would not shut up during his press conference, not the accused black kids
  • When Robert Bailey Jr was denied entrance to a private party, not a “whites-only” party as alleged, a scuffle did occur but no bottle was thrown.  One punch was thrown and the kid who threw the punch was arrested.
  • The next fight at the grocery story occurred because Robert Bailey Jr was denied entrance to the party and then struck, but multiple unrelated witnesses backed the story of the white kid who was jumped.  This fact was not reported by the MSM.
  • The “school yard” fight was much more then just a simple fight: “When Barker tried to leave through another exit, court testimony
    indicates, he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses
    confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on
    the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together
    to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head. Police
    speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the
    racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.”
  • There is NO evidence that the fight was over the noose incident that took place three months earlier. 
  • The all white jury was true, but the MSM leaves out the fact that several black residents were summoned for jury duty that day but failed to show up.
  • The fact that a few of the Jena Six have long criminal histories was overlooked by much of the MSM

Like the “rapes and murders” of the Superdome during Katrina, or the “brutal rape” of a stripper in the Duke case, we see a MSM too willing to send the lives of people spiraling out of
control in an attempt to sensationalize a otherwise boring criminal
incident.

UPDATE

Greg Pollowitz at The Corner has some more media stories on the incident and one in particular is a fascinating and aggravating look at how the story became such a hyped lie in the first place:

Bean — the creator of Friends of Justice, an
organization primarily dedicated to helping poor minorities victimized
by our justice system — had warned prominent members of the Jena
community as early as January that the town would be painted as racist
by the national media if Walters didn’t back down.

“I told them I
was going to bring media attention to this situation, and it was likely
the same thing would happen to them that happened to my little
hometown,” Bean said by phone on Friday. “Tulia got a bad rap, a rap it
probably didn’t deserve. But the media doesn’t do its job. It’s in the
entertainment business.”

“Tulia” refers to the case that made
Bean and Friends of Justice a player in the world of American criminal
justice. In the late 1990s, Bean exposed a corrupt cop in his hometown.
More than a dozen drug convictions against minorities were overturned
because of Bean’s work. Tulia was labeled as racist, and Bean became
the person to call if you thought the police and/or a prosecutor were
exploiting you.

A lawyer in New Orleans put Bean and parents of
the Jena Six in contact with each other in December. Within three
months, Bean had researched Jena and the events surrounding the
assault, and published a 5,400-word narrative titled “The Making of a
Myth in Jena, Louisiana” and a 2,400-word, media-friendly narrative
titled “Responding to the Crisis in Jena, Louisiana.”

These two
pro-defense narratives form the outline for most of the world’s
understanding of the case. Bean connected the December assault on
Justin Barker to the September noose hangings, to Reed Walters’
infamous “I can ruin your life with the stroke of a pen” statement at a
hastily called school assembly, and to separate off-campus
confrontations between Robert Bailey and white men on the Friday and
Saturday before the attack on Barker.

~~~

Bean said he
first spoon-fed his narratives to Tom Mangold of the BBC because
Mangold had worked with Bean on the Tulia drug cases. The BBC filmed a
documentary on the Jena Six titled “Race Hate in Louisiana.” Bean said
he then gave the Jena Six story to newspaper reporter Howard Witt of
the Chicago Tribune, which published a similar story on May 20.

“I put it in the hands of people I knew would do a good job with the story,” Bean said.

Bean
also gave his story to a blogger, Jordan Flaherty, and a law professor,
Bill Quigley. From all of these sources the story mushroomed and became
fact.

And from there the rest is history, including all the money the convicted criminals are now making over this incident:

People in Jena say the feud is over money. The families are handling
the donations to the Jena Six defense fund. Robert Bailey recently
posted and took down MySpace photos of himself and another Jena Six
defendant with wads of $100 bills stuffed in their mouths and splashed
across their bodies.

Wonder why these photos were not reported on?

Other’s Blogging:

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