What really happened in Jena

This is just another reminder, as if we needed it, to distrust most press reports. As the reporters showed during Katrina, they are profoundly lazy, and will quickly report rumor as news without bothering to investigate. Most of the time it’s harmless. Sometimes, though, as in reporting about Israel or small Southern towns, it’s profoundly damaging.  Here’s the Jena indictment, followed by solid facts if you read the whole article:

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they’ve all heard the story of the “Jena 6.” White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests – the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There’s just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side’s statements – the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they’d read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue.

The real story of Jena and the Jena 6 is quite different from what the national media presented. It’s time to set the record straight.

Hat tip: Captain’s Quarters

5 Responses

  1. […] [Discuss this article with Bookworm over at Bookworm Room…] Share Article Sphere: Related Content Trackback URL Please vote for Webloggin at the Weblog Awards by clicking on this link here, searching for the word “Webloggin” and clicking on the + sign. No registration required. […]

  2. “Instead, according to Walters, “two or three girls, white girls, were chit-chatting on their cellphones or playing with their cellphones right in the middle of my dissertation. I got a little irritated at them and said, ‘Pay attention to me. I am right now having to deal with an aggravated rape case where I’ve got to decide whether the death penalty applies or not.’ I said, ‘Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable so I want you to call me before you do something stupid.'”

    This makes no sense at all. What’s he saying? He’s going to prosecute 2 or 3 white highschool girls for rape for talking on the phone? Nothing like inviting the local DA down to the school to calm the waters, have him lose it and start making nonsensical threats.

    “the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of “Lonesome Dove.”)”

    This also makes no sense. “Lonesome Dove” aired in 1989 and while it’s been in re-release over the years it’s not likely anybody would make the connnection between nooses and that movie. If it was all just a big misunderstanding then why didn’t the school officials bring all sides together and explain that instead of letting this animosity fester?

    “the jury selection process was completely legal and withstood an investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.”

    George Bush’s Justice Department? Hahahahahahaha! That’s funny. Almost as funny as the verdict being thrown out on appeal.

    “Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks.”

  3. Let’s see how many local Jena black folks are willing to back Franklin up shall we? I’m sure if racial relations are as wonderful in Jena as he says they’ll be coming out of the woodwork anytime now to hold hands with him and sing kumbaya won’t they?

  4. […] Bookworm Room […]

  5. Despite the weak counter arguments above, the poor news coverage should alert anyone that the substance of events have been missed, or ignored.

    Some black kids see some nooses and are so enraged they gangbang a white kid who wasn’t involved? Give me a break.

    Certainly there are agendas pushing this, ala Bonfire of the Vanities. Since Iraq has cooled off the only news stories have been the sinking dollar and rising gas prices.

    And despite the understandable association of nooses with racial lynching, kids can tie them for other reasons. I tied many as a youngster, simply because I was proud of having mastered tying the hangman’s noose – something few other kids could do.

    I haven’t seen Lonesome Doves but there must be a hanging scene. The word “hanging” is the second plot key word on this movie web site:
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0096639/
    Imagine, kids who rodeo getting ideas from a movie like that!

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