Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Media Duplicity on Civility

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“Video shows aftermath of 69-year-old woman punched at a Trump rally.” So ran the headline at the Los Angeles Times on September 14, 2016. The liberal-left website TPM (Talking Points Memo) headline was more incendiary: “Trump Supporter Cold-Cocks 69-Year-Old Protester Outside Rally.” Suddenly, Shirley Teeter, a heretofore unknown elderly woman, was thrust into the global limelight as a media darling and an heroic symbol standing against Donald Trump and his violent bully minions. That was the story that played for days all across the Fake News media. Unfortunately, the fact that it turned out to be a false story didn’t prevent it from being the model for innumerable similar  reports in the anti-Trump media in the months that followed.

“I’ve gotten depressingly familiar with protester beatings at Trump rallies,” Josh Marshall at TPM wrote concerning the incident. “69 year old Shirley Teeter, who wears an oxygen mask and lugs around a tank to support it, was protesting outside a Trump rally in North Carolina when a feral Trump backer turned on her and punched her right in the face. Cold-cocked her, as Shirley put it.”

Marshall was awestruck by Teeter’s heroism because immediately after the alleged beat-down, she popped up on local media to deliver an anti-Trump, pro-Hillary political message. “Now here’s the kicker that makes me absolutely love this woman,” says Marshall, who then enthusiastically reports: “She gets punched hard in the face, knocked down and bruised. She gets driven home by the police. But damn, Shirley pops right back up and she’s on message.… She asks if people find a Trump supporter punching her in the face deplorable. How can you not love that?” (Emphasis in original.)

Indeed, how can one not? — except that this lovely narrative is false; it is a prime example of not only genuinely fake news, but fake news based upon a fake incident, a deliberate provocation and fabrication. How do we know this? Well, there is solid evidence: eyewitnesses, video of the incident, Teeter’s later revision and “walk-back” testimony concerning her allegation, and a videotaped sting interview in which the instigator of the provocation admits that Teeter was acting on behalf of operators for the Hil­lary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

However, at first, all most of us had was a he said/she said situation. The man accused of assaulting Teeter (spelled Teter in some stories), Richard Campbell, told a much different story, one in which he was the victim of Teeter. Whom to believe?

According to Campbell’s attorney, Ruth Smith, Campbell is a 73-year-old retired electrical engineer who has lived his entire life in South Carolina. He suffers from cataracts, is legally blind, and is on various medications including heart medication. On the weekend of September 10, 2016, Campbell and his wife traveled to Asheville, North Carolina, to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. According to Smith, the Campbells “decided to extend their vacation in Asheville when they learned that Donald Trump was coming to the civic center. The couple attended the Trump rally peacefully. As they exited the rally, approximately 1,000 protesters were allowed to surround the exits of the Civic Center. Many of these protestors hurled profanities and other insults at the Rally attendees as they left. Mr. Campbell and his wife observed what they believed to be saliva on their clothing as they passed through the crowd, presumably from protestors.”

Photo: AP Images


This article appears in the August 7, 2017, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

Smith stated that “Mr. Campbell was led by the left hand by his wife as they exited the building and made their way single file through the crowd. As they left, Ms. Shirley Teeter approached Mr. Campbell from behind and grabbed him on the left shoulder. Mr. Campbell reflexively moved his arm to release himself from Ms. Teeter’s grip. Ms. Teeter then fell backwards onto the ground.”

Shirley Teeter gave several media interviews claiming that she was “punched in the face,” “sucker punched,” and “punched in the jaw.” She also claimed she suffered severe injuries requiring treatment at Mission Hospital. In addition, she repeatedly denied ever touching Campbell and claimed that she had engaged Campbell in a discussion about living in Russia and he “sucker punched me.”

“Fortunately, witnesses have come forward which have disputed Ms. Teeter’s account and have stated that she was in fact the aggressor by first grabbing Mr. Campbell,” Smith stated. “Video has also surfaced which shows Mr. Campbell walking through the crowd led by his wife by the hand. He stumbles at one point due to his poor vision. The video shows Ms. Teeter approaching Mr. Campbell from behind and reaching up her arm to grab his left shoulder from behind. The video clearly shows that Ms. Teeter did not engage Mr. Campbell in any conversation prior to the incident despite her claims.” The video to which she refers is available on Facebook, YouTube, and many websites, and does bear out Campbell’s description of the event.

In a subsequent interview with TV station WLOS, Teeter back-pedaled, suggesting that perhaps Campbell didn’t “cold-cock” her. According to WLOS, she now says “it’s possible that he could have struck her with his backhand.”

Despite her claim of injuries, Teeter was later photographed at the rally smiling with other protesters. She does appear to have a bandage on her left elbow. However, as Smith points out, “Multiple video and photographic evidence of Ms. Teeter’s face the following day show no bruising or other trauma to Ms. Teeter despite her claim that she was ‘punched in the jaw.’” Smith adds that “photographs of Mr. Campbell’s hands also show no sign of trauma. As Mr. Campbell is on blood thinner, he bruises easily and with little pressure applied.”

But the slam-dunk on this whole affair came with the release of an undercover video interview with a notorious Clinton/DNC dirty-tricks operative, Scott Foval. In the now-infamous interview, entitled “Rigging the Election — Video I,” conducted by Project Veritas, Foval boasts about his unethical (and often illegal) operations involving protests, staged incidents, and incitement to violence. Foval brags that Teeter “is one of our activists” who carried out a very successful “bird-dog” operation. He then proceeds to explain in elaborate detail that “bird-dogging” involves an intricately choreographed operation of hundreds of paid and volunteer activists trained to create “anarchy” and media-exploitable events at Trump rallies.

And the Shirley Teeter “bird-dog” stunt was but one of many admitted provocations staged by Foval and his associates Bob Creamer, Aaron Black, Zulema Rod­riguez, Cesar Vargas, and others.

Bob Creamer, whom Foval approvingly describes as “diabolical,” is a top Democratic Party operative who, incredibly, visited the Obama White House 342 times and had 47 meetings directly with President Barack Obama himself! Creamer is on tape confirming that Hillary Clinton was personally involved in ordering the anti-Trump chaos that he and Foval were producing.

So, did any of the “I’m With Her” Hil­lary shills of the Fake News thought cartel rush out to demand explanations from Clinton, Obama, and the DNC over these explosive admissions? Did any of them revisit and correct the Teeter-Trump-Campbell story? Did any of them put Scott Foval or Bob Creamer on the hot seat over their damning admissions? Did any of them apologize to the Campbells for ruining their wedding anniversary, violating their rights, and subjecting Mr. Campbell to arrest and malicious defamation? The answers to those questions are shameful, but not surprising: no, no, no, and no.

In fact, the same Fake News Hillary shills have done their worst to deep-six the Project Veritas videos and discredit their producer, James O’Keefe. And why not? After all, they already had their talking points: Hillary is good, Trump is bad; Hillary supporters are heroically virtuous, Trump supporters are evil and violent.

TPM’s Josh Marshall summed up the preferred “Trump-violence” meme in his concluding comments: “But seriously, why is there so much violence around Trump rallies? It’s almost as if there’s some violence somehow embedded in the message itself.” And that charge of “Trump violence” is the message that the Fake News media have repeated and reinforced innumerable times, while either ignoring or sniffing and scoffing at numerous, real violent attacks on Trump supporters and threats of violence and assassination against President Trump himself.

Now, apologists for the Fake News cartel might argue that, OK, the fact that the major media failed to expose the Foval-Creamer hands behind the Shirley Teeter stunt and other evidence exculpating Richard Campbell shows irresponsibility and/or blatant anti-Trump bias on the part of the media. But, the apologist argument would continue, it is unfair to criticize the press for publishing the initial stories of the incident because it was “news,” and they had no way of knowing at the time that this was a faked event.

There are at least two things wrong with attempts like this to exculpate the media. First, the Teeter case is a screamingly obvious example of the anti-Trump media grabbing and running with a “gotcha” incident that they blew way out of proportion, even if it had been genuine, not fake. In a highly charged political protest (where the anti-Trump protesters are the aggressors, violating the rights of fellow Americans to peacefully, legally assemble and hear from their candidate), it should not be surprising if the pushing, shoving, spitting, screaming, and insulting (by the protesters) leads to punches being thrown (by the protesters and/or the Trump supporters). If Teeter had been punched, unprovoked, it might have been worth a minor story or two, but that’s all, because in the melees such as we have been witnessing for the past year at political rallies, it is difficult to sort out the claims vs. facts on the spot. And, in this case, Teeter was clearly not seriously hurt. Moreover, the Foval-Creamer tactics of the Left in using activists to create incidents for media exploitation were already well known before the Project Veritas sting videos came out, so any savvy reporter or editor should have known to be cautiously skeptical about these events. But the “news” organ­izations that ran with the Teeter story did so because it reinforced the narrative that they were already furiously flogging: that Donald Trump represented the dark, violent fascist streak in America’s “basket of deplorables.”

Second, put in context, the sensationalized Teeter incident (even if it were real, not fake) was a “nothingburger” compared to numerous real, verified, witnessed, and videotaped brutally violent attacks on Trump supporters: elderly men and women, children, high-school and college students, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, active service members, retired military veterans, and more, simply for wearing a “Make America Great Again” cap, or attending a Trump rally. None of these received the type of media attention lavished on the Teeter case and similar fake (or questionable) incidents used to reinforce the “Trump violence” meme. In fact, most of them were totally ignored by the oh-so-concerned-over-violence reporters and commentators. You won’t see any of the civility and compassion advocates of the press crying tears and wringing hands over verified, videotaped victims of vicious beatings by anti-Trump protesters. Victims such as:

• Jade Armenio, a sophomore at Woodside High in Redwood City, California,  who was kicked, beaten, and had her hair and earrings ripped out;

• David Wilcox, 49, who was badly beaten in Chicago by a group of attackers taunting him as a “white boy” Trump supporter;

• Feras Jabro, a 21-year-old Arab-American, who was attacked and viciously beaten by a mob of anti-Trump protesters in El Cajon, California, for wearing a Trump cap; and

• A pro-Trump college-age young woman who had her hair set on fire by an anti-Trump protester at President Trump’s inauguration, while other threatening protesters chant “Love Trumps Hate!”

There were also large-scale attacks. Mobs of anti-Trump thugs attacked supporters at a Trump rally in San Jose, California, pelting them with eggs, beating them bloody, and ripping their clothes.

All of the above graphic incidents — and hundreds more — have been caught on videotape and are widely available on the Internet. But don’t expect the Fake News media to shake off their Trump Derangement Syndrome and allow their viewers and readers to see the other side. That would destroy the effect of the “Trump violence” meme they have so assiduously flogged for the past year.

Photo: AP Images

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