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I wonder if major media executives are savvy enough to be embarrassed by the unpaid citizen journalists who have subverted their high price monopoly on the news.
Does it trouble these executives, I wonder, that people who care about the truth go anywhere but CNN or ABC or the New York Times to find it?
Do they know that on subjects that deal with race – as the major media proved again in Ferguson, Missouri – the best informed Americans consider their coverage to be not just inadequate but preposterous?
To get the skinny on Ferguson I turn, as I did on the Zimmerman case, to the alternative media and especially to my pals at the blogging collective known as the Conservative Treehouse.
Their task, as one of their bloggers put it, is “to deconstruct the narrative, to find out who all the people were behind the curtain.”
In the case of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, as with Trayvon Martin’s in Sanford, Florida, the Treepers have pulled back the curtain as a team.
One Treeper posts, and the other members and their allies comment. Unlike many such sites, the goal is not just to air gripes. The goal at the Treehouse is to analyze existing data, add information and, finally, to solve problems.
The Treepers believe that at just about noon on Aug. 9 Michael Brown and Dorian Johnson attacked officer Darren Wilson as he attempted to exit his SUV.
The conventional wisdom is that only Brown and Wilson were involved in the altercation. By analyzing video from the earlier convenience store robbery and the crime scene photos, the Treepers concluded that Johnson was involved as well.
In the convenience store video, Johnson was wearing a bracelet. When he circled back to the crime scene after the shooting, the bracelet was gone. In the crime scene photos, it appears to be laying on the ground next to the SUV. Johnson also removed his outer shirt, likely to blend into the crowd.
By Aug. 15, people who track the alternative media had a pretty good idea of what happened in the streets of Ferguson. Although the information came from an anonymous source – the caller “Josie” on Dana Loesch’s St. Louis radio show – it smelled more like truth than the “hands in the air” nonsense the media had been reporting all week.
According to Josie, Wilson pulled up ahead of Brown and Johnson who were walking down the street, backed up after learning of the robbery at the convenience store, and attempted to exit his SUV.
“They slam his door shut violently,” said Josie. “I think he said Michael did. And, then he opened the car again. He tried to get out. He stands up.”
“And then Michael just bum-rushes him and shoves him back into his car,” Josie continued. “Punches him in the face and then Darren grabs for his gun. Michael grabbed for the gun. At one point he got the gun entirely turned against his hip. And he shoves it away. And the gun goes off.”
On the Treehouse website are photos of where that bullet ended up, namely in the wall of a nearby apartment building.
Josie continued her narrative: “Well, then Michael takes off and gets to be about 35 feet away. And, Darren’s first protocol is to pursue. So, he stands up and yells, ‘Freeze!’ Michael and his friend turn around. And Michael taunts him. And then all the sudden (sic) he just started bum-rushing him. He just started coming at him full speed. And, so he just started shooting. And, he just kept coming.”
It took CNN’s Don Lemon at least three more days before he presented what was old news in the blogosphere as breaking news.
Wilson fired 10 shots at 12:02 p.m. At 12:07, a bystander began shooting a video. The conversation in the foreground captures some random angry ranting. The conversation in the background captures the only solid eyewitness testimony in the case.
A professionally trained audio transcriptionist volunteered his or her services to the Treehouse. The witness’ account tracks almost perfectly with Josie’s.
“The police was still in the truck,” the witness said to someone who had just arrived at the scene. “He’s like, I don’t know, [Brown] was kinda pushing with his hands [inaudible] he was in that truck.”
The witness continued, “Him and the police, yeah him and the police, I mean the police was in the truck. He was like over the truck right, now … then he ran. Police got out and ran after him.”
And now the witness cut to critical part: “Then the next thing I know, he coming back towards the police. The police had his gun drawn already.”
At this point the listener was not yet aware that the police had shot Brown. “The police shot him. Next thing I know, I think he’s missing [his shots]. He, then dude started running, kept coming toward the police.”
The witness thought the officer had missed Brown because Brown kept coming. “I heard like eight shots. It was like four, and then it was like four more. It was like pop pop pop pop pop, and just stopped for a minute, pop pop pop.”
Concluded the witness, “I’m thinking that – the dude was still standing – I’m thinking that he was missing him. Then he kept coming towards him.”
I think that even if Don Lemon had an enraged 300-pounder rushing at him, he might also be inclined to shoot.
The Treehouse goes into much more of the visual and audio evidence than I can recreate here. They dissect the post-shooting movements of Johnson, the testimony of the alleged eyewitnesses, the orchestration of the “hands up” iconography, and all the other details that media chose not to notice in its disgraceful, self-destructive coverage of events in Ferguson.
In the Zimmerman case, the defense attorneys monitored the Treehouse. Don Lemon might want to start doing the same.
Media wishing to interview Jack Cashill, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.