In the media’s coverage of racism in America, the presumption is guilty whenever allegations involve a white person as the offender.
In the latest rush to judgment, Rachel Richardson, a Black volleyball player for Duke University, said opposing fans shouted racial slurs at her in a match against Brigham Young in Provo, Utah on Friday, Aug. 26, 2022.
The next day, The New York Times and other outlets reported the player’s claim as incontrovertible fact. The lead in the Times was, "A Duke University women’s volleyball player who is Black was called a racial slur during a game Friday night in Utah, prompting Brigham Young University to ban a fan from sporting events . . . "
Not even a "who said she was called . . . "
Cue requisite outcry.
Both schools issued supportive statements, as did the Utah governor ("I’m disgusted… [by] these a**holes"), and King James himself, Lebron James, who posted a tweet ("stand tall, be proud, and continue to be BLACK!!!").
Cut to Sept. 9: Brigham Young University officials announce they have found zero evidence that any fans hurled any epithets at all.
Despite interviewing more than 50 people present, including visiting Duke fans, and reviewing "all available video and audio recordings, including security footage and raw footage from all camera angles taken by BYUtv of the match."
This embarrassing skin-back barely was covered at all.
The player’s claim advanced the liberal media narrative of a racist America, and they dived in, spawning more than 200,000 stories online.
CNN carried it on five different shows in a week, 24 minutes of total airtime.
The media ignored early warnings that the story was bogus.
On Tues. Aug. 30, the campus paper at BYU, the Cougar Chronicle, ran a story saying the athletic department was unable to find any signs of a slur.
The same day, the Salt Lake Tribune posted a report saying BYU police had found no evidence that fans had shouted racist epithets.
On Sept. 4, newsbusters.org called out "CNN, ABC, PBS and ESPN" for promoting "another racism story that appears to be a hoax." On Sept. 8, foxnews.com cited CNN, ABC and ESPN for failing to update peel back the allegations in this story.
The big dogs stayed silent until they had no choice, when BYU announced its findings a day later. BYU officials, one day after the game, had profusely apologized to the Duke players and banned a fan who was accused of hurling the n-word.
Later, the school had to apologize to the fan and unban him. Some reports described him as "mentally challenged."
He told officials he was yelling about hitting the ball into the "net." A different n-word.
So, what if Richardson simply misheard it?
Oddly, no other Black (or white) teammate has come forward publicly to corroborate her version of events. No one took time to consider that possibility, including Richardson herself.
Two days after the match, on Sunday the 28th , she issued an angry statement, saying she and her Black teammates were "targeted and racially heckled throughout the entirety of the match. The slurs and comments grew into threats which caused us to feel unsafe."
She said BYU failed to "stop the unacceptable behavior" and called on BYU staff and players to "undergo education and training to better handle the racist, ignorant, and asinine behaviors that were exhibited by their fans during that match."
She also cited "closed cultures which tolerate amoral racist acts," and said, "It is not enough to indicate that you are not racist, instead you must demonstrate that you are anti-racist."
She plugged a woke educational series on "the roots of racism."
This sanctimonious lecture from a 20-year-old college sophomore, two days after a single alleged incident, runs on for 684 words. She posted a photo of her typewritten tirade on Twitter, where tweets are otherwise confined to 280 characters.
The media skipped most of it.
They also overlooked — or intentionally left out — this: hours after the match, the first post on Twitter about Richardson’s claim came from her godmother, Lesa Pamplin.
In her Twitter feed, Pamplin calls whites "cr*****s" and says things like: "we are in a damn fight against white supremacy, "and "You poor white moth*******rs can’t take it," and "Elevating these white men to hero status is p*****g me off."
Outkick.com has details. Also, she is a candidate for circuit judge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Surely that last fact had nothing to do with any of this, right?
Dennis Kneale, @denniskneale on Twitter, is a writer and media strategist in New York. Previously, he was a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal, the managing editor of Forbes, and an anchor at CNBC and Fox Business. Read Dennis Kneale's reports — More Here.
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