This article contains editorial content written by a retired police chief and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
ATLANTA, GA- And they wonder why they are called “fake news.” In an era of carefully clipped sound bites, it is more important than ever for people to get full context on comments made, in particular those made by law enforcement officials, politicians… in fact pretty much everyone.
There is probably no better example of this than what occurred this past week in Georgia, where a spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office saw his comments carefully edited with important context left out.
During that press conference, held in response to the horrific killings in Atlanta of eight Asian-American spa workers Jay Baker, the sheriff’s department spokesman made a comment which said, in part that the suspect, Robert Aaron Long was having a bad day.
“He was pretty much fed up, kind of at the end of his rope, and yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,” Baker said.
Now, taken without proper context, it can be inferred that Baker was in some ways almost trying to give some sort of bizarre justification to Long’s crimes. And taking those statements without context is precisely what was done, in this case by Aaron Rupar of Vox.
"Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did" — a law enforcement official explains Robert Aaron Long's decision to kill 8 people in a strange manner pic.twitter.com/u0zFcqjbNK
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 17, 2021
Rupar posted a 20-second video on liberal whine-fest social media site Twitter which went viral, causing a liberal meltdown over Baker’s perceived sympathy toward Long.
A number of individuals used that video clip to complain that police are attempting to dismiss culpability of white males who commit crimes.
One poster, Kimberle Crenshaw, a law professor (figures) and who invented the term “intersectionality,” called Baker’s perceived comments “bone-chilling” and slammed him for refusing to recognize “the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism.” Because as usual, liberals are trying to fuel the narrative that whites, especially white males are inherently racist.
I was speechless after watching that press conference. Thanks @divafeminist for laying out what was so bone-chilling about what was named (his "bad day") and what was not named-the misogynistic dimensions of anti-Asian racism. To reckon, we have to denounce every bit of it. https://t.co/lJZcQHa7xN
— Kimberlé Crenshaw (@sandylocks) March 17, 2021
If Baker had truly tried to dismiss Long’s actions as merely the result of his having a “bad day,” that is obviously unacceptable, and any scorn directed toward him would be justifiable. However that is simply not what Baker said, if the entirety of his comments are watched or read.
The full video (important section starts at 13:50) shows that Baker was paraphrasing what Long told investigators, not making an editorial commentary of his own. The “bad day” line was led by Baker explaining what Long had told investigators. He was clearly not advocating for Long.
Further, Baker explained without endorsement that Long told police the killings were not committed due to any type of racism toward Asians, but rather due to a sexual addiction, which debunks the Twitter mobs’ railing about Baker dismissing racism as an underlying motivation for the killings.
“He claims that—and as the chief said this is still early—but he does claim that it was not racially motivated,” Baker said.
He is saying what Long told investigators—not making an editorial comment as to Long’s motivation.
When a reporter asked later on in the press conference once again about any type of racial impetus for the slayings, Baker stepped aside and let Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms address what efforts were being undertaken in the city of Atlanta to protect Asian Americans at a time when there seems to be an increase in crimes against that segment of the population.
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In an era where accuracy of reporting takes a back seat to being first, facts be damned, context is more important than ever.
Likewise, as Robby Soave of Reason says, it is incumbent on police not to use press conferences to engage in wild speculation, but rather to relay to the public information gathered which doesn’t negatively impact the investigation. In this particular case, law enforcement officials did not do that.
That matters not to the sensationalistic mainstream media, which goes out of its way to exaggerate, misinform, and fan the flames in whichever politically correct direction they choose. This incident is a classic example of this.
For example, the Washington Post in its reporting gave no indication whatsoever that Long’s comments were basically a paraphrase of Long’s confession, writing that Captain Baker had been removed from the case with a sensationalistic headline:
“Captain who said spa shootings suspect had ‘bad day’ no longer a spokesman on case, official says.”
The article goes on, in its introduction to completely ignore the context of Baker’s remarks and in fact basically mimics Rupar:
“The backlash began with the sheriff spokesman’s statement to reporters that the mass shooting suspect was having a “bad day.”
‘He was pretty much fed up and kind of at the end of his rope. Yesterday was a really bad day for him and this is what he did,’ Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Jay Baker said Wednesday. He was describing the 21-year-old man accused of killing eight people, mostly Asian and almost all women, in a rampage across three Atlanta-area spas.”
As a matter of fact, New York magazine tried to portray Baker as a racist anti-Asian zealot for sharing on social media images of T-shirts which correctly noted that the COVID-19 virus emanated from China, reading “COVID-19 IMPORTED VIRUS FROM CHY-NA.” That was parroted by Buzz Feed and the Daily Beast.
In the case of the Daily Beast, they also tried to portray Sheriff Reynolds of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office as some type of deep state operative due to his prior work for Worldwide Protective Services, which was granted a government contract through Blackwater USA.
Baker has since been removed as spokesman for the case, with Reynolds saying in a statement that Baker’s comments “were not intended [to] disrespect any of the victims, the gravity of this tragedy or express empathy or sympathy for the suspect.”
This whole incident is a microcosm of the significant damage the media is doing to this country. We saw that months after the George Floyd incident, where at least two media outlets claimed Floyd was shot by Minneapolis police. Not so ironically, one of those outlets was Vox. Law Enforcement Today previously reported on these incidents.
We’ve seen that with the constant referral to the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot as an insurrection. In the case of the Atlanta killings, the media engaged in media malpractice by manipulating the narrative to make it appear as though “once again” the police were excusing the criminal acts of a white male.
It used to be when a crime such as this occurred, true journalists would attempt to gather facts and then reach a conclusion as to what happened. Today, the opposite is true—journalists form a conclusion and then try to manipulate the facts to reach the conclusion or narrative they wish to portray.
This case, as Soave asserts began with the media trying to portray these shootings as evidence of anti-Asian racism, just as they portray every killing of black suspects by the police as evidence of systemic racism and police going out to hunt down blacks.
Remember what we’ve said before about when you’re being shown something in the right hand, watch for what’s being held in the left? This is no different.
While many, particularly on the right have been (rightfully) concerned about censorship and misinformation being perpetrated by social media platforms, the mainstream media has been pretty much ignored, with the exception of former President Donald Trump.
In the case of the Asian spa killings, the media is trying to further a narrative and in the case of once again trying to push the narrative of racism, in this case toward Asian-Americans, they assailed the character of a law enforcement officer because he did not further their “whites are racists” narrative.
The media pushed a false narrative which impugned Captain Baker’s reputation and subjected him to a Twitter character assassination that we’ve come to expect from the Neanderthals who occupy that platform.
By pushing a video clip that eliminated context, which we’ve seen before when the same thing was done to Trump regarding Charlottesville, the media once again did a disservice to the American people.
Soave asserts that “it’s hard to take these people seriously when they continue to make such mistakes. We disagree with this particular assertion. These are not mistakes. They are an intentional attempt by the media to push a particular narrative and further drive a wedge between white Americans and minorities, in this case Asian-Americans.
At one point this week, the Washington Post had run one story on the actual known facts of the Atlanta murders, and *sixteen* on the incidents as a massive anti-Asian white supremacist misogynist hate crime. Sixteen! https://t.co/IMn16q623g
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) March 19, 2021
Having succeeded in pushing a further divide between blacks and whites, the media has now moved on to Asians and whites. It’s pathetic. Sadly, the mainstream media does not care who they destroy, or whose careers they ruin in the name of pushing their politically correct agenda. It’s nauseating.
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