A long time ago, in a media culture far, far away…
Fake news bounced onto the scene in the form of Richard Jewell and hasty accusations of terrorism and murder.
The Daily Wire offers an interesting description:
Before there was Brett Kavanaugh, before there was Nicholas Sandmann, and before there was Officer Darren Wilson or George Zimmerman, there was Richard Jewell: an innocent man whose life was nearly destroyed when the media and the FBI falsely accused him of domestic terrorism for no other reason than the fact he was a white fat southerner.
Richard’s problems began on July 27th, 1996, and the catalyst was — ironically — a heroic deed.
At the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, the AT&T security guard discovered a backpack filled with three pipe bombs.
He notified police, and they began to clear the area.
Here’s a bit more detail from the The Guardian:
Jewell was one of about 30,000 police and guards, the largest peacetime security force in US history, enlisted to protect the Atlanta Olympics. He’d been hired as a temporary contractor by the security firm Anthony Davis Associates and had been on duty for nearly seven hours in Centennial Park when he spotted the unattended pack beneath a bench near the tower at 12:58am. Nine minutes later a 911 call from a nearby phone booth told dispatchers: “There is a bomb in Centennial Park. You have 30 minutes.”
At 1:15am, a team of security officers including Jewell began clearing the area. The contents, three pipe bombs surrounded by masonry nails, detonated roughly 10 minutes later before all spectators could be removed. Among the fallen were Alice Hawthorne, a 44-year-old cable TV company receptionist from Georgia who died of “multiple penetration injuries” from the flying metal fragments, and Turkish cameraman Melih Uzunyol, 40, who died of a heart attack while rushing to film the scene.
If not for Richard, many more lives would’ve been lost.
For a moment, the 33-year-old Danville, Georgia native was hailed as savior. He was all over television and in the papers.
But then, holy crap, a twist — the FBI turned to him as potential suspect:
[W]hen Piedmont College president Ray Cleere phoned the FBI the following afternoon to suggest that Jewell, a former campus security guard at the school with a reputation for overzealousness, might have planted the bomb himself in order to play the hero, the FBI looked further into his background.
For three months, Richard got the 1990’s version of the mob/frenzied idiocy.
Back then, that was only possible via the media; trolls and social justice warriors and generally most of the dumbest things happening right now didn’t yet exist.
But boy, the media hammered the guy.
It was the worst journalism has to offer. Richard seemed wholly convicted by the press, before anyone knew what was what.
At 4:50pm on Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a special edition led by a 10-paragraph, 365-word story with no attribution that stated Jewell was the “focus of a federal investigation”. The banner headline screamed: FBI suspects ‘hero’ guard may have planted bomb.
Seven minutes later CNN broadcast the story, holding the Journal-Constitution up to the camera. At 5.11pm, the Associated Press released a wire story attributed to its own sources. Shortly after, NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw said on air: “The speculation is that the FBI is close to ‘making the case’, in their language. They probably have enough to arrest him right now, probably enough to prosecute him, but you always want to have enough to convict him as well. There are still some holes in this case.”
A second-day opinion piece in the Atlanta newspaper only doubled down on the scoop: “Like this one, he became famous in the aftermath of murder. His name was Wayne Williams,” columnist Dave Kindred wrote, referencing the serial child murderer. “This one is Richard Jewell.’’
And now, the Fake News fiasco’s gettin’ a bit of what-for, from none other than one of Hollywood’s most unwoke heavyweights: Clint Eastwood.
The trailer for the new movie’s out, and it socks it to the media machine somethin’ fierce.
As noted by TDW:
Indeed, it is all about the narrative. At one point in the trailer, a journalist (played by Olivia Wilde) tells her newspaper editor that “Jewell fits the profile of a lone bomber, a frustrated white man who is a police wannabe who seeks to become a hero.” She says this without a lick of evidence to support her claims.
“We’re running it,” her editor says in reply.
Remind you of maybe a few other things in the news these last couple years?
The film’s based on Vanity Fair’s 1997 article, “American Nightmare — the Ballad of Richard Jewell.”
Enjoy the trailer for Richard Jewell — starring Kathy Bates, Sam Rockwell, and I, Tonya’s Paul Walter Hauser — above.
Clint sure doesn’t go for cultural Marxism goofiness — see here. I’d say he’s gonna tell it like it is.
And the 89-year-old — who should be an inspiration to us all — is still an amazing director.
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