Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Keeping the peace in a moment of great unrest is clearly a job skill the local cops in Ferguson, Missouri, lack, but someone in the pro-cop community in or around Ferguson clearly has rather sophisticated wingnuttish propaganda skills. We know this in part because someone knew enough to spoon-fed this story to Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft, who's called the Stupidest Man on the Internet by everyone on the left even though he's made his blog into a widely read conduit for questionable stories the "respectable" right-wing press doesn't want to report but is all too happy to retransmit:
BREAKING REPORT: Officer Darren Wilson Suffered "Orbital Blowout Fracture to Eye Socket" During Mike Brown Attack

The Gateway Pundit can now confirm from two local St. Louis sources that police Officer Darren Wilson suffered facial fractures during his confrontation with deceased 18 year-old Michael Brown....

Local St. Louis sources said Wilson suffered an "orbital blowout fracture to the eye socket." This comes from a source within the Prosecuting Attorney's office and confirmed by the St. Louis County Police....
As Charles Johnson notes at Little Green Footballs, Wilson is seen in a witness's post-shooting video displaying none of the likely symptoms of this kind of injury, and he didn't leave the scene to get medical attention. Johnson also notes that Hoft illustrates his post with an X-ray of this kind of injury on which the label "UNIV OF IOWA ETC-CT" has been crudely obscured -- no, it's not an X-ray of Wilson, but you're clearly supposed to think it is.

Prior to this, another dubious story mde its way up the media food chain:
Yesterday [Monday], the controversy surrounding the conflicting stories of Michael Brown's death grew hotter, when Christine Byers, a police reporter with the St. Louis Dispatch tweeted the following information about officer Darren Wilson:

But she backtracked, tweeting this semi-retraction hours later:
Yeah, she was spreading this tale even though she's not reporting this story, or any other story -- she's taking a Family and Medical Leave Act leave from her job. But her rumormongering also spread like wildfire -- thanks to sites like The Blaze and (again) Gateway Pundit.

Is local law enforcement just tilting the story the way law enforcement always does with local media, but the result this time is that right-wing propagandists with a national base are listening? Or does someone in this process actually grasp how the right-wing puke funnel works? It's probably the former, but the result is the same either way: rumors and disinformation, once they're out there, get enshrined as fact on the right, and that colors the story for all of Heartland America -- and, by the way, for any potential Darren Wilson jurors. Whatever's going on, it's clear that the other side always work the media more skillfully.


UPDATE: More here.


Victor said...

From a single seed of 'stupid,' a mighty forest grows!

Jebediah, RBG said...

Keeping the peace in a moment of great unrest is clearly a job skill the local cops in Ferguson, Missouri, lack

Not to pick too many nits, but I think the problem isn't so much that they lack that skill, but that peace isn't what they are after. Brutal suppression is their goal, and they seem to be pretty good at that.

Anonymous said...

Hmnnn! Well, when it comes to airing your opinion/prejudice (you choose) then 'Anything they can do we can do better'.

Of course, waiting until the facts are fully established is a non-starter.

aimai said...

I noticed that both the Boston Globe and the NYT had unsourced claims that "witnesses" backed up the police side of the story in today's paper. The reporters simply left these bald assertions hanging there in the story without attempting to reconcile this startling new "fact" with the previous witness and police statements. If you weren't following the case on twitter and on the internet but just casually reading about it you would have a completely false picture of the kind of witness statement collection that the police did and you would believe that there was some eyewitness confusion producing conflicting stories, which as far as I know isn't the case. No authorized witnesses, no actual witnesses, have come forward to say that MB attacked the police officer. But suddenly anonymous witnesses are supposed to exist who have claimed exactly that?

Glennis said...

So the City of Ferguson is releasing details of Wilson's medical condition? Isn't that a violation of law?

And truly, Jim Hoft IS the Stupidest Man on the Internet.

Steve M. said...

I think "sources" are releasing the information.

Ken_L said...

I can't recall - was the truth about George Zimmerman's head injuries ever definitively established at his trial? Certainly on the right it remains received wisdom that his head was savagely bashed against the sidewalk prior to him shooting.

Steve M. said...

It seems to have been established that he had injuries, though even a doctor who regularly does commentary at Fox News thought they looked superficial.

Glennis said...

I am a little reluctant to belabor this, but I'm serious. It's a violation of the law to release another person's medical record - There is no way a prosecutor's office would release or leak this information at this level of specificity - or do so on purpose. It's also highly unlikely that the police officer would allow the prosecutor's office to release it. If there is a medical record showing this injury and it's been submitted as evidence for the grand jury, it's also against the law to leak it.

So I'm saying there's no way this is real. Someone made it up, and a lot of gullible people are eating it up.

I work with City Attorney folks and City HR folks, and I can tell you 100 percent, people in these positions DO NOT RELEASE ANY information about an employee's medical condition, EVER. They wouldn't release information that he had a HANGNAIL, much less a serious injury.

Roger said...

You give the prosecutor's office too little credit. I mean, when has a prosecutor ever violated a law?

And it's not a violation of HIPAA for the patient to repeat a diagnosis or for someone to repeat what the patient told him/her. So Wilson could have claimed such a diagnosis, and that could have been repeated, or someone in the d.a.'s office or the p.d. just lied to the Stupidest Person on the Internetm just to make him look even stupider.