Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shame on You, Michelle Malkin! A Republican Diva, Journalistic Ethics, and the Knoxville Horror

By Nicholas Stix

Yesterday, Michelle Malkin posted a video on the Knoxville Horror, the carjacking-kidnapping-robbery-gang rape-sodomy-torture-murders of Channon Christian, 21, and her boyfriend, Christopher Newsom, 23, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Letalvis Cobbins, 24, his brother Lemaricus Davidson, 25, George Thomas, 24, and Cobbins’ girlfriend, Vanessa Coleman, 18, have been charged with murder, rape (anal, in Newsom’s case; vaginal, anal, and oral, in Christian’s case), armed kidnapping, armed robbery and theft.

(Today, May 17, the accused have a court date in Knox County Criminal Court. Last month, a court source told me that the defense attorneys would merely be presenting motions, likely including one for a change of venue, and that the case would not be proceeding to trial for many months.)

That would be my story. As in, the one I spent five weeks covering for American Renaissance, which published it two days before Malkin posted her video. In other words, she had to know about my story. Only she not only never mentions me, but splays screen shots during her “story” of non-stories written by Republican blogger cronies of hers (some of them after my story had run) who had not only not researched the story, but who simply copied and pasted every wild Internet rumor they came across – Mark Alexander, Matthew Sheffield, James H. Lilley of the Baltimore Reporter, who has been reprinted all over the place, et al. Malkin even goes so far as put a link next to her video to a blog post by Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, which is nothing but yet another link to a mutual Republican blogger crony, LaShawn Barber. A link to a link! That last bit of blogrolling inspired two images in my mind: One is of a closed, corrupt system, every bit as bad as the so-called MSM. The other, equally obscene image, is of a sort of orgy that became popular, or so I’ve read, in New York during the Age of AIDS, in which … well, I think I’ve gone far enough with that image.

Malkin even shows a screen shot of the Wikipedia entry on the story, in which someone linked to my story immediately after mine appeared on May 14. However, as my next column will show, the Wikipedia entry, for reasons largely typical of that particular propaganda organization, is as unreliable as those of the bloggers.

You’ll notice that I have not embedded a single link to the non-stories I’ve cited. Typically, I’m link-crazy; in preparing a story for publication, I’ll spend hours finding links to supporting and related stories. But I have no intention of driving traffic to the sites of journalistic frauds and goldbricks.

And Malkin doesn’t even get the story right!

For one thing, she lists Eric Boyd first among the defendants, and then lists all of the charges (and even some non-existent charges!), as if Boyd had been charged with the full list of crimes that Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman have been charged with in Knox County Criminal Court. But in fact, Boyd was not charged at all in the 46-count state indictment. Boyd has been charged federally, in U.S. District Court (also in Knoxville), with “BEING AN ACCESSORY AFTER THE FACT TO CARJACKING,” for having allegedly helped Cobbins and Thomas flee apprehension to neighboring Lebanon, KY, where a local-county-state-federal interagency task force arrested them without a struggle. (More on that apprehension in a future column.)

Malkin also “reports” that the defendants have been charged with “torture,” but no such charge is in either the state or federal indictments. I know that, because unlike, Malkin, I took the trouble to contact the county and federal courts in Knoxville, obtain the federal indictments, as well as the federal affidavits, for the modest cost of $4.90, plus the cost of several long-distance telephone calls, and r-e-a-d the state and federal documents. (Of course, the calls and conversations with court clerks took place over the course of a few days.) Malkin obviously didn’t do any of the reportorial leg work. She’s a diva, and divas are above that.

(The caps were not my way of emphasizing the charges, but rather the way the feds wrote the indictments, which I just re-read from the documents the federal court clerks sent me.)

Her misreporting of the “torture” indictments ties into her misreporting of the “torture.” Granted, pouring cleaning fluid down a living woman’s throat counts as torture in my book, but the authorities have taken a much different tack, in rationalizing that act as having been meant to destroy DNA evidence.

Malkin also quotes the claim that Channon Christian was found in five separate garbage bags. That claim is not in my report, because I could not find a reliable report of it. Granted, I found an alleged copy of a news report that had been posted to a message board, including the sentence, “Her body was in five separate dark trash bags.” But the message board is for the Neo-Nazi group, Original Dissent. Call me intolerant, call me crazy, but I do not find posts at Neo-Nazi message boards to be credible news sources. And that one sentence was in boldface. Considering that Neo-Nazis and white nationalists have worked so hard to spread rumors in this case, without independent corroboration, I just can’t trust the poster at Original Dissent.

I tried hunting down the original story, but the link no longer worked, and none of the different versions of the story in question that had been published at the same time and still available on the Internet contained the sentence, “Her body was in five separate dark trash bags,” or any equivalent. That doesn’t mean that the sentence is untrue. As I reported in my American Renaissance story, the Knoxville PD has steadfastly refused to provide the causes of death or the conditions in which the corpses were found. It is my hope that my story will cause public pressure to be brought to bear on KPD Chief Sterling Owen IV, and Knox County Attorney General Randy Nichols, to finally release the autopsy reports for the victims. As I reported in my story, all I have gotten from both offices so far has been a massive stonewall.

Some people don’t like the idea that American Renaissance reports such stories. Though they haven’t read it, they hate it. When AR editor Jared Taylor approached me in March, asking me to cover the story for him, I was honored. Unlike the haters, I’ve read dozens of issues of AR. I have compared many stories on race that either the magazine or its editor Jared Taylor, in his book, Paved with Good Intentions, and I both covered, and their stories always checked out.

The reason AR has flourished for so long, is because when it comes to scientific research, journalism, and writing on race, it is the gold standard, and because it reports on issues such as black-on-white crime and racial differences in IQ that the socialist/communist and Republican MSM both refuse to report on, and that even allegedly conservative (read: Republican) academics refuse to do honest scholarly research on, that is, if they will research the issues at all.

I’ve been doing the same sort of work since 1990, when I considered myself a “liberal” (before I learned that “liberal” was a euphemism for socialist or communist), and founded my short-lived New York magazine, A Different Drummer. I’d be perfectly willing to write the same material for the New York Times, Daily News, New York Post and Newsday, but they refuse to publish it. In fact, one of New York Newsday’s (RIP) editors whitelisted me back in 1991 for a letter in which I expressed the mildest, tongue-in-cheek criticism of a racist black coed he had published.

In the moral law posited by both Kant and Rousseau, “If you desire the ends, you desire the means.” Applied to this case that means, if you desire that black-on-white crime be honestly reported, you desire the medium that will honestly report it. That means that people who say they won’t read American Renaissance’s reports on black-on-white atrocities, really don’t want to know about them, and don’t want anyone to report on them, but are too dishonest to say so. Add to that dishonesty the corruption of the Republican blogosphere, and you have people who would rather that the public read their own phony “reports” on a racist atrocity, and those of their cronies, than that they read real reporting on it.

Imagine the roles were reversed, and I had just acted as if I had reported a major story that Malkin had spent five weeks researching and had broken nationally two days earlier, but without mentioning her at all, and instead mentioning a bunch of blogger cronies of mine who, like me, had not done any reporting on the story, or who had mixed up known facts with Internet rumors. (Of course, since the bloggers I’m variously friends or friendly with are real veteran journalists, a role reversal is hard to imagine.) Malkin would have immediately sicced her lawyer on me, and used her blog to attack me.

Malkin is both benefiting from other reporters' work, and giving credit to her undeserving blogger cronies, who did no reporting. Why should anyone do any real reporting, if blogger divas like Malkin, Reynolds, et al., are just going to get the credit, and keep it among their cronies? Since no one seeing Malkin’s video or reading her cronies will know about Knoxville authorities’ stonewalling regarding the autopsies, he will not generate any pressure to release them. And since most of Malkin’s cronies are content to repeat Internet rumors, why should anyone bother with the time-consuming, exhausting work of newsgathering? All we need is the Internet rumor chamber.

In the past, I have only written positively of Malkin. I held fire when she snubbed me in 2004. She wrote a blog about the Rev. Al Sharpton, in which she cited some of her cronies by name. Quality cronies, by the way, not non-reporting bloggers. (And I’m not denying that bloggers have broken stories. But when they do, they are acting as journalists, who happen to use the technical medium known as a “weblog” or “blog.” A blog is but a tool; it is only as good as the writer using it.)

That time, though Malkin wouldn’t cite me by name, she at least linked to my October 7, 2001 Toogood Reports exposé on Sharpton, “Rudy and the Rev. Bozo.” And I did get a lot of hits off that anonymous link.

And a couple of years ago, I did her a personal favor by keeping her out of a story that could have negatively impacted on her personally. I hadn’t even thought about that until this minute. I never expected a quid pro quo from her, but I certainly didn’t expect her to stab me in the back. As my mom always says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

But hey, Malkin is a diva, and I’m just working press.

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