Out of all the horrible developments that came out of Ferguson, Missouri over the past year, the irresponsible way the media has reported information is one of the most troubling. From the beginning, major media outlets created and disseminated the narrative that Michael Brown was maliciously executed by a blood thirsty racist police officer. The amount of misinformation that was reported as fact was alarming. Even after the grand jury evidence seriously invalidated the notion that Michael Brown had his hands up and was trying to surrender when he was killed, the media continued to report it as fact. On Sunday, National Review’s Rich Lowry went on Meet The Press and calmly stated the following three undeniable facts about the Ferguson case:
1. Michael Brown robbed a convenience store (Video evidence)
2. Michael Brown wrestled with an officer (Forensic evidence)
3. Michael Brown charged an officer (Eyewitness testimony, Darren Wilson’s testimony and autopsy results)
Andrea Mitchell was visibly stunned by this statement to the point where she appeared to be short of breath.
She responded by saying, “I don’t want to re-litigate those facts”. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson chimed in claiming that there was conflicting testimony about those three things. Yes, there was conflicting testimony, but there was no conflict in the physical evidence that Lowry was citing. Furthermore, the majority of the witnesses, many of them African-American, corroborated these three points. Mitchell is re-enforcing a common misconception being pushed by the mainstream media that people are entitled to their own interpretation of facts. There are not two sides to every story and much to Mitchell’s dismay, facts can’t be “re-litigated” once they have already gone through the proper channels of the legal system. Forensic evidence also doesn’t have two sides. Regardless of her opinion on the no indictment decision, Mitchell was clearly uncomfortable with Lowry’s blunt explanation of important lessons that need to be learned regarding Ferguson. Whenever the media dismisses the sad reality that this situation likely escalated due to several poor choices from Michael Brown, it is difficult to fully address the ways which another tragedy like this can be prevented in the future. Every conversation about the demilitarization of the police force or equipping officers with body cameras (both constructive ideas) needs to be followed by a frank discussion about the aggression and animosity being directed toward law enforcement officials. SGR finds it very strange that Andrea Mitchell is so flabbergasted by the suggestion that Michael Brown didn’t do himself any favors in the way he handled his interaction with a police officer.
– Andrew Mark Miller