The media is horrendous. They are vile. They are cannibalistic. They are without ethics. They are amoral. But any aspiring journalists shouldn’t get discouraged: this behavior just about guarantees a really great job market in the future once the power vacuum opens up.
But sometimes things are just so wrong, so vile, so unethical, and so much a part of an all-too-wrong status quo that a bit of intervention is in order.
Yesterday, dozens of stories were launched — the first by Mediaite — naming the Capitol shooter as Larry Dawson, a white male from Tennessee. These sources linked to his social media profiles and gave enough information for a casual internet user to track him down and find his house if they wanted to. The problem is that the shooter was Larry Dawson, a black male from Tennessee who lived at a different address, in a different town, and while he was shot at the Capitol Building, the other innocent Larry Dawson was at his college class with 25 very bemused witnesses.
Lindsey Ellefson, the reporter with Mediaite that started the rumor, had not yet apologized to the vindicated Dawson when I spoke to him last night, and this is probably the most disgusting part of it all. The editors inserted a brief note about their retraction and the staff at Mediaite went on with their day. I asked Ellefson if she would like to comment or apologize to Dawson but upon hearing the topic she immediately went silent.
Dawson’s life could have been endangered, but, because of a racist and sexist narrative that the media loves to push the author just assumed he was the terrorist. After all, every shooter is assumed to be a white male, especially when “God” is invoked. Although Dawson was lucky enough to avoid harassment on his Facebook page, a number of threats were made in the numerous comment sections across the web. I highly doubt Ellefson is one to care either.
But Dawson, a veteran of Desert Shield and Desert Storm (seen below wearing a Saudi Keffiyeh he obtained during his service) has taken this in good spirit: “So far everyone seems surprised I am taking it so good,” he said. “After 20 years in the military you get a thick skin. Plus I have one great alibi.”
Note: Shoebat and Conservative talk show host Phil Valentine did apologize for the identifying the wrong Dawson and they deserve credit for that. Dawson should sue everyone that did not.