Cincinnati Station Says 'No' to PC Reporting on Racially Motivated Crime
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.
Maybe it was the fact that the county prosecutor's son was among those assaulted. Or perhaps it was the perceived threat to the city's most beloved fall event. Whatever the cause, Local 12 followed through on Dixon's original outrage. The station didn't sweep the larger story under the rug. It even introduced a word — "black" — into its June 12 video and print story which wasn't in its or the Enquirer's original reports.
Among the refreshing truths told — refreshing because, despite their ugliness, they represent the truth:
(about the incidents at the Taste event)
11 victims filed reports saying they were kicked, punched or stomped by a group of black teenagers or young adults, boys and girls. Ten of the victims were white, one was Asian. Two reported racial slurs. Noelle Findlay was so certain the assault (on her and her husband while they were in their car) was racially motivated; the police report says "hate crime" ... because she believes there was no other motive.
(on the general problem of black teen violence targeting non-blacks)
... Dr. John Wright, a criminal justice professor at UC (University of Cincinnati), said, "I think it is racist behavior, racist behavior when you target a group based on their race, sexual orientation, it's the very nature of a hate crime."
... "We are unwilling to speak about race when it comes to crime because it is a sensitive matter," said Wright. "Allegations of racism ruins careers, ruin lives. The media remains silent or targets the people who bring up the issue."
... Pastor Peterson Mingo of Evanston (a Cincinnati neighborhood) said, "Not too many ways to explain that behavior, have to condemn it, can't be tolerated."
Sociologists weighing in suggest high unemployment and resentment fueled by segregation are possible causes.
Mingo says there is something else, "There is a thing about loyalty. You with me or you ain't. If you with me I'm getting ready to knock dude up side head lets go. It's not where you can say I'm not going to. You're either with me or you're not."
The station also has additional video of its interview with Dr. Wright, who minced no words:
If groups of white students, white kids, were running around, violating blacks, beating up black fathers, beating up 13-year-old black girls, there would be the hue and cry sounded. We would take it as seriously as we take anything else. Time magazine, the New York Times, everybody would cover this. Everybody.
... But if it's turned the other way around, everybody is so afraid to speak about race and crime that they are silent. That silence is killing people. That silence allows this to continue.
But there can be no acceptable excuse for mob violence. None.
... The attorney general said that we're "a nation of cowards" when it comes to speaking about race. At one level he's right, but there's a reason why people are uncomfortable talking about race and are uncomfortable talking about the dynamics of black behavior. Not all black behavior. Let's be very clear about this. The vast majority of African-Americans are law-abiding people. ... They deserve our support and encouragement. They deserve our protection.
... It's better to be honest, even if the honesty is dirty, than to live a lie that is clean.
Author Colin Flaherty has been looking at black teen crimes targeting whites for some time. He has compiled a list of incidents "in more than a dozen cities around the country. Some fatal" — just this past Memorial Day weekend. His latest book "documents more than 500 cases of black mob violence in more than 100 cities around the country." The vast majority have barely made a media ripple — and when they do, the obvious racial element is deliberately ignored.
Local 12's and Flaherty's efforts at shining the light of truth are praiseworthy and important, but still far from complete. Two larger questions loom.
The first: What can be done to reverse the shocking growth in race-based hatred among blacks?
The second: Why have the nation's first black president and his "nation of cowards" attorney general made virtually no attempt to attack this problem head-on?