Inconvenient Facts: The Media and Philando Castile
Jeffrey Lord
by

Here we go again.

Yet another hotly reported media narrative stamps itself on the national dialogue only to find — oops! — maybe there are actually more facts to be discovered before we know, as they say, “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

This time around the media narrative surrounds the Minnesota shooting by St. Anthony Village Police Department officer Jeronimo Yanez, the shooting victim one Philando Castile. Says a police audio tape of Yanez:

“I’m going to check IDs. I have reason to pull it over. The two occupants just look like people that were involved in a robbery. The driver looks more like one of our suspects, just ’cause of the wide-set nose.”

Then we learn that there are pictures out there of the robber — one of two — committing the robbery, gun in hand. And indeed there is a similarity between one of the robbers and Castile.

Now. How did we learn any of this? From a narrative quite different from the mainstream media’s all-too-predictable “racist white cop kills black man” story — a different narrative that went viral over at Conservative TreeHouse. The TreeHouse story drew instant wrath from liberal websites. Over at Mediaite John Ziegler put it this way:

Shocker! It Looks Like the Media May Have Bought a False Narrative in Philando Castile Shooting

Writes Ziegler in part:

If there is one thing I’ve learned about media firestorms in the modern age of one-hour news cycles and 15-second attention spans, it’s that whoever tells the first story which the news media likes is the “winner.” Once the narrative is set in stone (when the news media works in unison that takes about two days, tops), the truth will face a battle that is severely uphill, into the wind, on ice, and will almost never prevail.

There was no better example of this sad reality than the “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” myth which drove the entire Ferguson fiasco and was the origin of the entire “Black Lives Matter” movement. Every investigation into the matter (including by the Obama administration) later concluded, against self-interest, that this catchphrase was based on an obvious and despicable lie. However, even that did almost nothing to alter public perceptions of that event or the media’s eagerness to give instant credibility to similar claims from the same groups in the future.

Ziegler goes on at a later point to add:

Again, none of this remotely proves that Castile was indeed the armed robbery suspect. The point is that there is a potentially very compelling other side of this story which is being ignored or ridiculed by the media which is already very invested in the current narrative.

One of the best examples of this is the “fact check” website “Snopes,” which, in its typically arrogant and liberal fashion, has definitely declared these “rumors” about Castile to be “false,” while actually doing a pretty good job of establishing that they might actually be true (while also ignoring the significance of what we now know was in the police officer’s mindset). A close reading of their conclusions could best be summed up by saying: “We want this story to be false, so, because it hasn’t yet been proven 100% true by liberal media sources with no incentive to do so, it must be false.”

I have seen many times the power of what happens to media coverage once every new fact is seen through the prism of a false narrative and is impacted by a clear confirmation bias. Everything is then perceived completely differently than it should be, sometimes laughably so….

Exactly so.

The trouble here is that this presentation of a false narrative instead of the presentation of facts keeps happening over and over and over again. X occurs, the mainstream media jumps for the convenient liberal narrative of the moment — and the facts be damned.

Let’s time travel. It is November 22, 1963. President John F. Kennedy has been shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. Message from the media of the day? Dallas was filled with virulent right-wingers who created a city of hate — a murderous right wing just looking to kill the civil rights-supporting JFK. The problem? It turned out — pretty quickly — that the assassin appeared to be one Lee Harvey Oswald, a man who once tried to defect to the Soviet Union and was an outspoken member of a group calling itself Fair Play for Cuba. Later it would also come out that Oswald was suspected of being the shooter who fired into the Dallas home of a right-wing retired Army Major General Edwin Walker, barely missing Walker. Among Walker’s other notable beliefs, he was a staunch anti-communist.

But? But no never mind. To this day there are those who believe it was “the right wing” that killed JFK — precisely because the media of the day put out the story of Dallas as a city teeming with right-wing hate. So even though it was Oswald the pro-communist who killed JFK, it was really the right-wing haters who did it. Got that?

Yes, you get that. From JFK’s assassination right on to today’s events revolving around the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson or Philando Castile in Minnesota, the pattern is always the same. Forget the search for the facts. Just jump to the best liberal narrative available and run with that. The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Who needs that?

Notice as well? Take a good look at the Minnesota officer’s name. That would be Jeronimo Yanez. In other words — yes, he is not a “white guy.” He is a Latino. Will the narrative now reflect that a brown officer shot a black man?

Don’t bet the ranch. Facts don’t matter with liberal narratives. Particularly inconvenient facts.

Jeffrey Lord
Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com. His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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