Selective Character Assassination by the Media

Background information about Michael Brown, the dead 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, has been trickling out.  The National Journal is upset with this “character assassination by the police and by the media.”

Character assassination by the media?  Say it ain’t so.

In 2008, the Huffington Post had no problem publishing photos of Sarah Palin as a bimbo in a bikini, even though the photo was a fake.  Then there is Dan Rather, of CBS news, broadcasting a false story about George W. Bush and his National Guard service.  The Washington Post had no concern over publishing “George Zimmerman’s relevant past.”  But they were quick to remind us in the same article that “[w]hat is not relevant is Trayvon’s past.”  Seems only certain characters are fair game for assassination, but others are off limits.

The National Journal was also critical of a Washington Post report stating that “[a]t the time of his death, Brown had marijuana in his system.”  They reassure us that marijuana is not “[i]ndicative of a criminal mind (as Coloradans and Washingtonians would attest).”  Tell that to the dead wife of a Colorado man who shot her after eating cannabis.  Perhaps it is very relevant.

If the media are truly concerned about leaked information or character assassination, they should be the ones leading the charge to keep quiet and let the legal and review processes play out.  Instead, the Washington Post had this little nugget to remind readers of the racial aspect of this case.  Describing police officer Darren Wilson’s neighborhood as a “mostly white city of 11,000 people about 18 miles southwest of mostly black Ferguson” sounds like a bit of not so subtle “character assassination,” but not the type that the National Journal would be upset about.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS, a Denver-based physician, is an advocate of smaller, more efficient government.  Twitter @retinaldoctor.

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