There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by a group of 100 black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being employees of the paper.
Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.
“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a red light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk.
“Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that’s when the beating began. …
“The victim’s friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. Church and Brambleton. It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”
Washington says neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster’s torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami reportedly fears to be alone in her home., while Forster wishes he’d stayed in the car.
The columnist admits the story has not, until today, appeared in the Virginian-Pilot.
“The responding officer coded the incident as a simple assault, despite their assertions that at least 30 people had participated in the attack,” Washington explains. “A reporter making routine checks of police reports would see ‘simple assault’ and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. In this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees. Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?”
Washington says the day after the beatings, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack, and one post in particular chilled him.
“I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light,” wrote one person.
“I don’t,” wrote another, indicating laughter. “(do it for trayvon martin)”
Trayvon Martin, is the unarmed black teen, who died after being shot by a community-watch captain with white and Hispanic parents, George Zimmerman, in Sanford, Fla., sparking a wave of outrage long after the incident.
The newspaper is coming under heavy criticism today from residents in the greater Norfolk area, known as Hampton Roads.
“It is unbelievable that the Virginian-Pilot would BURY this story for two weeks for politically correct reasons. That is sad and disgusting,” said David Englert of Norfolk. “Someone should be fired or resign over the decision not to report this attack. It is a sad enough commentary on our society and community to read about how the responding police viewed this crime, but for our only newspaper to decide that they will hide from the truth rather than report the truth is PATHETIC! Any attack by a mob of people on any innocent victim should be put under a bright spotlight for all involved to be judged and exposed as appropriate, and to make sure that the criminal justice system does its job to protect those who obey the law.” [PVC: Hah – don’t hold your breath for anyone to be fired. When a reporter lied about what I said in an interview and was caught red-handed, the Pilot ignored the situation.]
William Tabor of Chesapeake, Va., complained: “Surely the Pilot knew about it. A racially motivated attack is certainly news. Was it not politically correct enough to be reported? Is civilization suspended in Norfolk after dark? If we can’t rely on the police for protection, and our [news] media fails to warn us of such hazards, we can only rely on ourselves.”
Charles Chandler of Norfolk indicated: “I am not sure what I am angrier about. This story, or the crowd of black teens who needlessly and thoughtlessly beat two white victims. Or am I just angry that this still occurs in the year 2012. Nearly fifty years after the marches and the speeches and the declaration of civil liberties for all people. Clearly we are nowhere near the dream Dr. King envisioned. I am angry. I am angry at the calloused cop who stated “this is what they do”. I am angry at the Pilot for hiding it under a bushel.”
And Douglas Gaynor of Virginia Beach brought up the need for self-defense, saying, “If the young lady was armed and trained, she could have whipped out P345 and taken out a few thugs.”
There’s something about mob behavior that, to me, has always been beneath contempt. People can act like chimpanzees when the group is large and there’s lots of wood around to swing at the innocent. We’re still not that far removed from dragging our knuckles across the veldt.
You’ve probably read the personal stories told by people who attended mass rallies in Nazi Germany. The way otherwise sensible, educated people became shrieking hysterics when submerged into the sieg heiling Mob. Some people believe this was an aberration; that it only affected Germans. They’re wrong. It takes a very strong-willed individual to resist the rip-tide of a frenzied mob.
You’ve seen this image? A strong-willed individual indeed.
He is Mencken’s Man – the rare individual who stands apart from the crowd.
That is a great picture.
Do ya’ll reckon its been doctored?
yeah that crossed my mind. but someone somewhere in nazi germany did something like that so it’s all good anyway.
Nothing new. Norfolk is the armpit of America. I know I lived there seven years. Even went college there at Old Dominion University. The university was really nice, but it’s smack dab in the middle of the ghetto. People got shot in the face, robbed, and all kinda shit on a daily basis. 90% of the shit was never reported. I used to work for campus security. That stuff I mentioned didn’t happen on campus, but damn close enough. By the way, Jersey is the ass crack of America. I lived there too.
Battle Mountain Nevada has already paid for the title “Armpit of America”. It had to do with a Right Guard media blitz. Sorry about Norfolk, but money talks 🙂
Was stationed there for 4 1/2 years while in the Navy. Couldn’t agree more. I always looked forward to deployments overseas so I could enjoy myself without having to look over my shoulder every 5 minutes.
Areas surrounding military installations—-especially Army and Navy bases—-tend to attract the worst kind of people for some reason. And then you have the criminal element of the military, i.e. gang members that you had to be concerned with (but that’s another topic altogether). The immediate neighborhood outside of Naval Station San Diego was so bad in the ’90s that sailors weren’t allowed to walk off base after nightfall. It was either drive off or wait till sunrise.
Actions of under reporting some stories while over covering other stories give support to those people claiming bias by the MSM. It does not matter what the true reasons are for this. The perception can be enough to cause distrust of media by general population.
It does cause me to wonder and ask why does this occur. As my history teacher stated we are prisoners of our sources. People can base their opinions only on available information.
As Holmes is quoted: “Data! Data! Data!” he cried impatiently. “I can’t make bricks without clay.”
Those that control information can shape peoples’ opinions and the debate. Fortunately the internet gives people a way around the gate keepers of information. If one is willing to look, one can usually find the truth.