Today's Bronson column is titled, Sensational, biased news stories stink
. To crib a joke from Friends: "Hi, kettle, this is Peter Bronson. You're black." Having listed a number of pretty silly international news stories on Nathaniel Jones's death, here's what Bronson has to say:
Such ridiculous reporting is too warped to be excused by mere ignorance and mistakes. It looks deliberately distorted to fit a biased agenda: Those racist cops in Cincinnati are killing black men.
Don't let the facts get in the way of a good story.
This story never would have made it past Dayton if the suspect had been white. It never would have traveled past Columbus if the cops had not turned on their own patrol-car camera to record the entire thing.
Time after time on TV, the cable news reporters rerun the tape, drooling over the "good video.''
But they nearly always leave out the most critical part - when Jones ignores the cops' commands to stay back, lunges at Officer James Pike, slugs him and tries to grab him in a chokehold.
Hm. He claims a worldwide reporting conspiracy to cram the Jones tragedy into a larger story: "Those racist cops in Cincinnati are killing black men." But that story's right, at least in part: "cops in Cincinnati are killing black men," after all. Something like eighteen since 1995, in fact. I guess Bronson has a problem with the "racist" part? But I don't read that in any of the stories. It's just something that one might imply from the surrounding facts: eight years, eighteen black men dead, no white people dead. And Bronson knows that. So, instead, he'd prefer that the rest of the world keep its grubby little hands off of Cincinnati, stop reporting the facts, and just leave us alone to stick our heads in sand.
Hm. How about, "This story never would have made it past Dayton if the suspect had been white." I assume he means Nathaniel Jones when he says, "suspect," though all Jones was suspected of initially was passing out in front of a White Castle. Beyond that, I think it's a little speculative to say what would have happened had Nathaniel Jones been white. Recent history says that he wouldn't have died. But if he had been white and he had died, I don't think anyone knows how the press would have reported it. See above: it's been a while since that's happened in the 'Nati.
Or the "the most critical part - when Jones ignores a cops' commands to stay back, lunges at Officer James Pike, slugs him and tried to grab him in a chokehold." Oh. I didn't know that we knew that Jones was trying to grab Officer Pike in a chokehold. It looked to me like he was stumbling around, flailing wildly, maybe high and certainly confused. I suppose that could be interpreted by some as an attempted chokehold. Or it could be interpreted that he was high, confused, and stumbling around. But Bronson speaks with such authority. It's like he knows for a fact what Jones was trying to do. I guess I'll have to borrow Bronson's Ouija board sometime to confirm the report.
Now, I'm not saying that what the cops did was wrong, and I'm not saying that it was right either. That's not my point. My point is that Bronson decries biased reporting out one side of his mouth while engaging in it from the other. Of course, he'd probably say that he's just a columnist, not a reporter, so he's not bound by just reporting facts in an unbiased manner. Fine, I suppose, though that seems like something that should be done on an editorial page or a blog. But regardless, editorial license doesn't excuse intellectual dishonesty.