A remarkable thing happened in Cincinnati on Thursday. WKRC-TV, which has taken to calling itself “Local 12,” did a story on the growing problem of black-on-white teen mob violence — and called it black-on-white teen mob violence.
The event where the violence occurred took place two weeks earlier during Memorial Day weekend at the city’s Taste of Cincinnati event downtown.
Reporter Adam Kiefaber spent the first half of his coverage on an unrelated shooting incident in the vicinity of the Taste event which he should have handled in a separate story. When he finally got to addressing the “multiple people reported being attacked” at the event, he describe how one victim, Jon Deters, the son of Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters, was “approached by five or six people.” Separately, he noted that two other men, both in their 40s, were assaulted “by a group of people.” In his report’s final sentence, Kiefaber finally acknowledged that the pair “were targeted for being white.”
Most of Local 12′s original story on May 27, the Taste event’s final night, fell into the same predictable traps so often seen as the press dances around the ugly reality of these incidents.
Co-anchors Rob Braun and Cammy Dierking introduced the segment as being about “groups of teenagers” committing acts of “random violence — people jumped, punched, and kicked” by “thugs who seemed to enjoy hurting them.”
As on-scene reporter Deborah Dixon described some of what had happened, the station’s video caption read, “RANDOM ASSAULTS.” One man, said to have been “victimized by 20 boys and girls, all teenagers,” said that “it was almost as if it was fun to them, like it was a game, like they found enjoyment out of it.”
But then Dixon’s reporting took a brief and surprising “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it any more” turn.
Tripping over her words in a clearly unscripted moment, Dixon said, “How angry does that make you — this makes me so angry to think about that thuggish, rude hateful behavior.” She then went back to describing the assault on Jon Deters, speculated that it might have been part of the “knockout game” craze — the phenomenon which much of the press has spent as much time ridiculing and denying as reporting — and openly noted that the city was trying to “figure out what to do before Oktoberfest,” the nation’s largest such event.