Hit-and-Run Journalism and the Oppression Narrative

Interim Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene.

Two days ago, I took the Washington Post and New York Times to task for uncritically publicizing the allegations of recently resigned Portsmouth Police Chief Tonya Chapman that the police department was riddled with racism. Both newspapers rushed to publication without any dissenting view or even a note of caution.

Portsmouth City Council has appointed an interim replacement, Assistant Chief Angela Greene. In her first public statements yesterday, Greene, who like Chapman is a female African-American, said she did not see a problem with racism in the department. Said she, according to WTKR TV:

I can’t tell you what [Chapman] felt, what she might have gone through. My experience here in almost three years, I do not see that. I do not see that as a perception. I do not see that as a problem here.

And this:

If there is an issue with any particular officer, that officer is addressed immediately. If I feel like there is a systemic issue or an issue more widely than one individual officer, that’s when we bring in training.

I don’t know what the truth is. Maybe racism is a problem in the Portsmouth police department. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe there is a problem but it’s complicated and cuts two ways. But here’s what I do know. The Washington Post and New York Times are only interested in one side of the story — the side that confirms the Oppression Narrative of endemic racism.

Why do I say that? Because neither newspaper has seen fit to follow up with stories about Greene’s remarks. The Times did run an Associated Press story yesterday, “Residents Ask What Led to Resignation of Black Police Chief,” but, so far, has nothing about Greene’s comments.

Gee, if the idea weren’t so outrageous, one might be tempted to think that white liberal reporters in the Mainstream Media want to fan the flames of racial animosity. Who needs Russian Twitter trolls or Neo-Nazi scumbags when you’ve got elite media?

Perhaps the newspapers will publish something tomorrow. If they do, I will update readers.

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16 responses to “Hit-and-Run Journalism and the Oppression Narrative

  1. Jim,
    A few points. The Virginian-Pilot had the story about the interim police chief on its front page today. To imply that white journalists are ignoring is simply not true.

    The Times and Post did try to get the city’s and the police version of the Chapman matter.

    Neither paper is local. They are national and cannot cover every turn of the screw on a story. You might not understand this because you have never been at a national news outlet before. I have and now free lance for two of them.

    Lastly, if you look at the Post Website, you will see that they have another story that is potentially even bigger — allegations of sexual harassment of a young African-American VCU student by Doug Wilder, the country’s first African-American governor and a prominent politician.I am dying to see how you play that one.

    • Peter, I found it surprising that any national newspaper would cover the exit of a very small town police chief, and surmised that it was only due to the allegation of racism/sexism. If racism/sexism is what the nationals deem newsworthy, then wouldn’t the Angela Green statement have been of equal interest?

      • No, because Angela Green’s statement runs counter to the proven political agenda chronically pushed like drugs by the Washington Post every day.

  2. Touch you, Peter – you worked for NATIONAL newspapers. Jim and I will keep our place and genuflect when asked…..I’m a real peon, having only worked ten years for a dinky paper out in the sticks. Not a real reporter at all….

    I’m pretty jaded about all this, and that includes Jim’s ginned-up outrage. Too many outside the city have axes to grind, and I suspect the people inside the city just want a good police department. I do not doubt at all that there was friction in the department, some but not all of it was over race and gender, and now the city’s leaders have sent a message that if the problem for anybody is a black, female chief, well you got another one, so find a way. They are on the scene, and I’m not, so who’s to judge?

  3. Jim, if I understand your post correctly –

    The black Assistant Chief Angela Greene has been at Portsmouth’s black Police Chief Tonya Chapman’s side for three years. And during that entire time, Assistant Chief Angela Greene reports that she saw NOTHING RESEMBLING what her Chief claims to have witnessed, namely a depth of “racial tensions within the police department” … some of it “so inflammatory” that she would not detail it in her letter “out of concern for public safety.”

    And, in addition, there were surrounding circumstances mentioned in your earlier article that strongly suggested that other responsible parties could have been easily found to corroborate the Assistant Chief’s view of these matters. But no apparent effort was made by the NY Times or Washington Post to contact these parties.

    The central job of a national newspaper is to publish facts of public interest only after it has investigated those facts, determined their validity or likelihood of it, and placed those claims and all other relevant claims within the proper context of the an story entire well developed by the newspaper’s staff, so that their readers have the best chance to gain a balanced view of that story’s truth, meaning, and import. Only then are the legitimate interests of all involved parties protected, here to include those mentioned in the story, the city of Portsmouth, the state of Virginia and the entire nation, given the fragile state of race and identity politics in America today.

    It appears however that the New York Times and Washington Post may well have grossly violated these basic rules of decent journalism. And, in so doing, these newspapers violated the rights of it readers, the city, state, and nation.

    It appears that the Washington Post and the New York Times did not take even the minimal amount time or effort necessary to investigate the claims of Portsmouth’s black Police Chief Tonya Chapman, if only to determine if there was a contrary view anywhere within the police department, its union, or any other responsible city official over seeing the police department?

    Indeed, it now appears that both the New York Times and the Washington Post may well have taken no time whatsoever to validate this story. So that now this story may possibly be yet another iteration of a hate crime hoax that both papers have become lately so expert at reporting without any reliable sourcing at all. But instead this story might be another version of the Washington Post’s invented story of the 17 year old kids standing on a DC street corner while engaged in the hate crime of wearing MAGA hats in public?

    Have the New York Times and Washington Post become chronic race baiting machines that inflame the body politic and society of America nationwide? That’s now a legitimate question. Because this activity has in truth been going on for many years now.

  4. Just read the Post piece on Wilder and the allegations and I have to say I’m dismayed. But the complaint is confirmed in writing, she’s on the record, and it is a legitimate story. This whole idea that a black victim should not report an allegation against a prominent black perpetrator, a debate that seems to be going on somewhere (read Michael Paul Williams the other day), is totally anathema to me. That sounds like a very convenient meme put around simply to protect those who might be accused. Just my cultural bias, I guess….

    Then there’s that Jessie Smollett’s thing….

    • I have just read the Wilder piece too.

      Unless I am missing something, and I might be, the problem with the Wilder case, even with the complaint, just like with the Portsmouth Police Chief case, as best we can tell now, there is no way to determine the truth of what has been alleged or happened, yet it is reported (published around the nation as if there is a way it can or will or quite possible will be verified).

      Hence great damage is done without the chance of resolution. We are stuck an unverifiable claim.

      In an earlier time, newspapers would see this problem, what its result to publish it would be, and simply on that basis, typically decline to publish until or unless the pure speculative fact pattern of the story changed. Now, unless we go back to this standard, we will continue to be flooded with unverifiable but published stories that cause great and unfair damage without proof or resolution.

      Unfortunately, many of today’s newspapers with today’s lower standard are happy to public unverifiable stories because it serves the newspaper’s political bias or agenda, and/or because it increases revenues by reason of publishing salacious but unverifiable details on celebrities, sex, and/or political enemies.

  5. It’s those dang liberal rags… they’re causing all this stuff… don’t you know….

  6. Where’s the Post on Justin Fairfax? Long time no hear.

  7. Where is the CONSERVATIVE media on these stores? AWOL?

  8. Steve,
    Don’t take offense. I am not talking about you and I think Jim’s is a terrific journalist. But the fact is that neither one of you have worked out of Virginia to my knowledge. I have and it is a very different journalistic experience. BusinessWeek (a news weekly magazine, by the way) had a global circulation of about one million people. You literally had to crunch everything down to a thousand words or less — sometimes more. I spend about 10 years in international — six overseas and four as an editor in New York. For a 2,300 word cover story we would get maybe 10 lengthy files – each almost the size of a short story — from various bureaus and shrink them down. We had to write for a global audience. We did not have the time or space to follow each little development in a story. That’s what I was trying to point out and it is true.

    • Pravda is a big operation too. So is the BBC. I find the bigger the so called “news outlets” are, the less trustworthy and more corrupt they typically become. Arrogance and pride goes before their fall.

    • “We did not have the time or space to follow each little development in a story.”

      Each little development… So, when the original story is about a deposed black female police chief accusing the department of racism, it’s a “little” development when the interim police chief, also a black female, says she doesn’t know what her predecessor was talking about? It’s a “little” development when the underlying premise of the original story is totally undermined?

      I remember you complaining about the BusinessWeek “narrative” — I think that’s the word you used — about globalism. Globalism is good. As I recall (please correct me if I recollect improperly) that your editors were less than receptive to articles that undermined the narrative.

      That’s exactly what we have going on here with the NYTimes and Washington Post. Different narrative, same impulse.

  9. Uncovering news and reporting it is but a secondary purpose of the WaPo. It’s major goals are to promote high taxes and more government spending, especially in Virginia; to support open borders, which, in turn, creates a need for more taxes and spending; to elect Democrats; and to give elected Democrats and Democratic candidates cover, while doing the opposite for GOP officials and candidates. Generally news that is consistent with these goals are reported and that that is not consistent, not so much. And on the opinion side, the Post often refuses to allow op-eds that directly contradict the “official opinions.”

    There is nothing wrong with this but it’s totally inconsistent with the traditional role of the media. If Bezos was truly candid, he remove “Democracy dies is Darkness” and replace with “News and opinion allied with the Democratic Party.”

    This is not noble journalism that protects democracy. It’s simply political activity that attempts to disguise itself as journalism. It’s quite similar to blogs such on Powerline on the right. It’s time to drop the façade that the Post is a newspaper and its employees journalists. I could respect that basic level of honesty but won’t hold my breath until it comes.

    • To prove TMT’s point:

      When soon to be presidential candidate Joe Biden announces that “White men need to change their routine,” the Washington Post publishes only one side of the Portsmouth Police Chief racist white police man story. This is a corrupt effort to prove Joe Biden right in an effort to support Joe’s run of President.

      At the same time, the Washington Post tells readers atop its front page “That Democracy Dies in Darkness.” Thus the paper tells its readers that they can rely on the truth of its stories, when readers plainly cannot rely on the truth of its stories. This chronically dishonest one sided news dominates the Washington Post front page each and every day.

  10. Jim,
    The Post has published AP accounts following up on the police chief affair.Of course news outlets have their own culture. In the 1980s and 1990s BizWeek really bought into the “globalization” idea just as it bought into the “New Economy” before overplaying or underplaying its hand on the Web and having to be bought out by Bloomberg.

    The culture was likewise unique at the WSJ. We did not like them even though we played softball against each other. One day the feelings ran so hot, we almost got into a massive fistfight in a NYC park. We vowed never to play them again.

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