What Will the Lasting Legacy of a Sad Day in Ferguson Missouri?

By Ed Timperlake

Thus speakith a Washington Post Headline: “The saga of Shawn Parcells, the uncredited forensics ‘expert’ in the Michael Brown case.”

In the article The Post reporter points out:

“Cable news is more about stoking biases and inflaming partisans than about informing viewers.…

And bias is part of the problem as well. Highly-charged, emotional stories continue to produce some strikingly unskeptical reporting, particularly stories that include a racial/political component..”


No truer words were ever spoken.

However let’s not let the Main Stream Media (MSM) off the hook as compared to “Cable News.”

Many will say the same about the so called MSM after a lot of their silliness with their often reporting of opinion as fact in stories “above the fold”, which is shorthand for great prominence.

No similar words have capture the same shorthand focus for electronically presented “prominent” news.

One can speculate that the breathless Gong! Gong! “Fox News Alert” could be considered the equivalent of “above the fold.”

However, as all know reading venues the broad diversity of sources available on line  that there is good news in this 21st Century information revolution.

The internet is ever expanding to give reader access to many different sources of both fact and opinion passing as opinion.

But there is also hope for the MSM because it is important to acknowledge and commend the Washington Post in that they are trying to correct the Ferguson record that was poisoned by a lying self-serving ignorant fabulist.

In the history of bad events of US racial incidents, the fact that the Post published a picture of the fabulist with his hands in the air is a real service.

The erroneous narrative of the events that day, “Hands-up” in Missouri have even made it onto the playing fields of the NFL, shame on them, and into the Well of the US House of Representatives. Those are sad displays for all Americans.

Now it is time for some historical context by looking back at two other racially focused events in our modern media reporting.

Both of these events have given birth to rather uniquely American media personalities and very strange narratives.

The famous OJ Trial begot today’s Kardashian T&A show:

She( Kim Kardasian) added: ‘Every night I would sit in the bath and cry, I prayed my boobs would stop growing. He (Robert Kardashian one of OJ’s Attorneys) told me I had a body not many girls have, that later it would lead to attention from men, but that the most important thing was that I was a wonderful girl and I had to understand my self worth.’

And the infamous Tawana Brawley case gave us Al Sharpton, advisor to President Obama.

Wiki actually gets the Brawley incident fair and balanced:

Tawana Glenda Brawley (born 1972) is an African-American woman from Wappingers Falls, New York, who gained notoriety in 1987–88 for falsely accusing six white men of having raped her.

Brawley’s accusations were given widespread media attention in part from the involvement of her advisers, including the Reverend Al Sharpton… 

After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of an attack. 

The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.

Brawley initially received considerable support from the African-American community. Some suggested that Brawley was victimized by biased reporting that adhered to racial stereotypes. 

The mainstream media’s coverage drew heated criticism from the African-American press and many black leaders who could brook no degree of skepticism or disbelief of the teenager and her story.

The grand jury’s conclusions decreased support for Brawley and her advisers.

So just like the OJ Trail, ( great debate show-stopping question– did OJ do it?) and the fake Brawley rape case, it will be interesting to see a decade out what barking carnival act will arise from the events in Ferguson Missouri.

The other dimension especially from the OJ Trial and Cable News saturation is that several asserted facts journalists rose to national prominence.

It looks like Ferguson may create an opportunity for someone new to have lightning strike their media career.

How else can one explain the never ending pontification of panel after panel of thoughtful looking experts belaboring over and over their remarkable insights.

Don’t they just get intellectually board from repeating each other’s platitudes and insights that continue stoke the entire event? Is America doomed to see –Ferguson Day 444 etc etc.

The answer is simple when the Media stops making money by hyping an event out of proportion to simply drive ratings that increase advertising rates it will stop.

That is unless the producers and editors make a personal value judgment that it is the singular most important story in America, then it will go on and on and on.

A unique complication to the Ferguson narrative is with President Obama, who was elected to bring healing and unity on racial issues, and is now actually trying to drive the story.

A President can TRY to do that and so far he has been successful and other significantly much more important issues are “below-the-fold” or symbolically buried on inside pages or not getting enough “Gong, Gongs” on Fox News.

With specific respect to the justified Ferguson shooting in this current cauldron of media driven coverage, with many journalist taking pride in developing their “first draft of history,” the danger is that events in Ferguson that day may quickly be moving into self-serving legend over facts.

Damage to real racial problems and issues be damned false narrative full speed ahead.

But at this moment in “the first draft” process, thank you Washington Post for reporting, the truth is the truth! In our free market society with a vibrant first Amendment that is how it should work.

So the simple question for our nation is will the truth be accurately be reported and accepted.

And with an eye to the future, will Ferguson eventually devolve into its own version of the Kardashians and/or create another Al Sharpton, to advise our President, YIKES!

America deserves better, or do we?



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