Boyd tells me he contacted the crime beat reporter at the Birmingham News and told her about his story. “Not newsworthy,” was her response. Boyd also tells me that law enforcement officials told Boyd they “don’t mess with the Outcasts of Alabama.” Comforting.
Had the attackers been the Confederate Hammerskins, and the victim been different, we all know (at a minimum) the Birmingham News would have covered the story. DOJ lawyers would be checking on the contract air carrier from Washington to Birmingham. I’ll wager even Soledad O’Brien would have spent at least one show on the attack.
It is precarious when the law, and attention from the media, are so out of balance. When state law enforcement officials flinch from prosecutions of the black Outcasts of Alabama, and national media organizations ignore some violence while elevating other incidents to month-long stories, the rule of law suffers.
Uniform outrage to incidents of lawlessness should guide the police, the Justice Department, and the hearts of every American. Selective outrage toward lawlessness empowers the thugs you chose to ignore.
The Beacon is a leader in reporting on violence and corruption in parts of the south. In my book Injustice, I singled out the paper for excellent reporting on the activities of Ike Brown in Noxubee County, Mississippi: “Published by Scott Boyd, the Beacon had been fearlessly and relentlessly covering Brown’s antics for years. While the national media was primarily interested in questioning the Bush administration’s decision to bring the case in the first place, the Beacon diligently memorialized crucial political events and reported the straight facts.”
Let’s see if the attack by a black motorcycle gang on an Alabama highway in broad daylight gets any more media or law enforcement attention now that the information is here for the asking. I won’t hold my breath.
UPDATE: The Birmingham News now finds the story newsworthy, about 7 hours after PJ Media first published the story, and at least a week after the Birmingham News, didn’t.