Such a Nice Boy

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Recently, around 11 PM in a “bad” part of Chicago, police shot a teenager who was holding a gun. It turned out to be a realistic-looking BB gun.

Anyway, here is the photo his family sent the media:

And here’s how his photo appeared in the media.

Naturally the cop community considers this yet another media cover-up designed to make them look bad:

It has been pointed out to us by a number of commentators that he is representing one of the most violent street gangs ever to grace the streets of Chicago, namely the vice lords. It has also been mentioned that the nearby Piccolo Elementary School has suffered a rash of windows being shot out by BB’s over the past week along with neighborhood cars. Also, the time of the shooting (after 2300 hours) indicates a curfew violation. But none of this is being covered in the media reports now. All we’re hearing is how police are too heavy handed, Jimmell was a good boy, there was no gun, blah blah blah.

A commenter emailed the reporter:

Your first picture on the tribune website, WAS CROPPED, to eliminate the fact this teen was flashing GANG SIGNS. The full picture is available all over the internet. Now your picture of this teen in the hospital is bordering on scandalous. How dare your newspaper use these subtle techniques to slant the news. The fact is he had a realistic looking gun. Was already in the grip of a street gang, these are the things your story should mention, and that this is a BIG problem with youth in certain areas of the city. These are the facts. I feel sorry for the officer and the rest of the CPD that the trouble that your slanted biased coverage will cause. Yellow Journalism is alive and well in Chicago.

The reporter replied:

A couple of things…

Our “first” picture — I take it you mean the first photo we posted — was uncropped. If you’re a regular reader on our site, you’ll know that most of the pictures we post are cropped, so our photo folks cropped it as they always do.

I’m not aware whether the picture is “all over the internet” but we posted it with the family’s permission.

I don’t know if the gun in question was realistic looking, I haven’t seen it, though from past experience, many BB or pellet guns do look like their real counterparts. I don’t know if he was “already in the grips” of gang life, either.

Yellow journalism refers to the sensationalism of the news. What you’re accusing us of is the exact opposite: still incorrect, but not yellow journalism by its definition. Your statement is wrong because it flatly states that we as a newspaper, or I, as a journalist, have a pre-determined point of view.

I’m a fact gatherer. Sometimes we get the facts, sometimes we don’t. Whatever we get, we pass it on to our readers.

I like to interact with readers. I like it even better when they’re correctly informed.

I hope this clears a few things up.


(Hat tip to Mencius Moldbug, who considers this a dispatch from the real America.)

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