I'm really not sure where this is going - if it's going anywhere at all.
First we had Trayvon Martin. This poor, innocent child, returning from a quick trip to the convenience store for some candy, was followed by some creepy white dude, who shot him dead for no apparent reason.
Then there was Mike Brown. For no reason other than he was walking down the street, Brown was shot dead, execution-style, in the back by a trigger-happy racist cop.
Next up we have a sordid tale of a young college student, viciously gang-raped by nameless and faceless fraternity brothers as part of some bizarre initiation ritual.
Problem is, in each of these stories, reality turned out to be nothing even remotely like the narrative. The media, desperately clinging to the "innocent boy vs. horrible racist man" narrative, kept showing pictures of Trayvon Martin when he was 12. We saw the same tactic with Mike Brown, with his high school graduation picture being apparently the only photograph ever taken.
They did get smarter with the UVA case, though. Since it was a sexual assault, the alleged victim wasn't named - couldn't be named. With that anonymity, the story is easier to stick to - no need to find 5 year old pictures when you conveniently can't show the victim at all.
In all these cases, though, the narrative fell apart despite the best attempts of the media to maintain it. George Zimmerman may have made poor decisions the night he shot Martin, but he hardly attacked this darling young boy. Officer Wilson certainly didn't shoot Mike Brown in the back. And while something might have happened at UVA, it's hard to believe this horrific gang rape occurred as part of an initiation ritual in the fall - when pledging takes place in the spring.
It makes you wonder. Sure, part of the problem is the rush to be first. Why be right when you can be right now? How many mass shootings has the media reported on where they claim multiple shooters, yet the reality is the vast majority are single? The stories as we initially hear them are juicy - a young man shot dead for no reason, a racist police officer shooting a black teen in the back, a college coed brutalized by frat brothers.
I'd be surprised if the media didn't report these stories.
It's the later, when the evidence starts pouring in that suggests things didn't happen the way the media wanted it to happen, that's critical. Rather than report the facts as they come in, we're treated to a litany of excuses. How many times did we hear the grand jury testimony in the Wilson hearing contained "conflicting accounts," yet we never heard that the reason accounts were conflicting is that witnesses who agreed with the "shot in the back" narrative were confronted with hard-and-fast evidence proving it couldn't have happened the way they claimed.
In the UVA case, this woman made numerous accusations that could have been (and eventually were) followed up on and found lacking. The first and most glaring being the initiation angle - a quick call to the national charter would have yielded the critical information that pledging occurs in the spring, so something like this happening as an initiation ritual is quite unlikely in the fall. Simple follow-ups fell by the wayside in the rush to bring these salacious and outrageous stories to print.
Even more troubling, though, is the aftermath. "Hands up" has become a rallying cry, despite there being not a single shred of evidence that Brown ever put his hands up. All greek organizations were suspended as a result of the Rolling Stone interview and alleged sexual assault; when it was brought up that perhaps the UVA President owed the fraternity an apology, the thought was violently shouted down. Oh, sure, maybe *this* assault didn't happen, but those evil frats have been doing stuff like this for a long time.
"Everybody knows" isn't a reason. The list of things "everybody knows" that has turned out to be completely wrong is so long we could spend all day on it and not even scratch the surface. It's certainly no reason to indict an entire profession (police) or condemn a specific fraternity for crimes no one can prove ever happened. Other injustices committed by other groups, no matter how similar, should have zero bearing on the actual event.
Every time the media blows a story out of proportion, though, the *real* stories get lost. Worse, they end up making things worse for real stories - by the time we got around to Eric Garner being killed by NYPD, we were all "outraged-out" after Mike Brown. Eric Garner was killed "resisting" NYPD over the sale of loose cigarettes. He wasn't knocking over convenience stores or selling drugs; he was committing the unpardonable crime of taking tax dollars away from the state. And he died as a result of police attempts to apprehend him.
That's a WAY more sympathetic story than the reality of Mike Brown, isn't it?
In the same vein, our Rolling Stone interviewee whose story seems to have fallen apart upon review has almost certainly caused severe harm to real cases of rape. Some will fail to report what happened, fearing that increased scrutiny in the wake of the embarrassing UVA report might further victimize them. Others might get overlooked as coverage is denied, again with a gunshy media deciding that silence is golden - after all, you can't get a story wrong that you don't report.
I'd like to believe that each of these cases are nothing more than the media just doubling down on their own stupidity. It's tempting to think there's some grand conspiracy here, that the media has this master template for fomenting dissent and hate in some bizarre attempt to make headlines and sell newspapers. Reality, though, dictates that the far more logical reason is simply that they don't want to admit they're wrong, and they're willing to burn the village in order to save it. Rather than say, hey, we messed up and didn't fully investigate that story, they're digging deeper and deeper.
Because if it really is some sinister conspiracy, I'm terrified to think that people are dumb enough to fall for it...
That is all.