under First Amendment Fair Comment and Criticism, blog
post by John Hoff
When a double murder happened at an illegal "after hours" nightclub in North Minneapolis, the mainstream media was all over the story. There were stories about the shooting itself, stories that identified the two dead men, stories about relatives of victims mourning the dead, even a story about the owner of the nightclub (Maurice Harrison) and his history of problems with the city.
So you would think that when prosecutors release a criminal complaint naming both of the alleged shooters and detailing the circumstances, media sources BESIDES The Adventures of Johnny Northside would report these details?
(Click here for this blog's coverage naming the two suspects)
Yeah, I'm kind of stumped on this phenomenon of media silence, as well...
Was there a memo? Did a memo go out to everybody and I missed it? Did the memo say, "Murders in North Minneapolis are interesting and worthy of media coverage, but if we report on the arrest of suspects, well, that's just glorifying what they've done. Allegedly. Henceforth, let's make it a policy to not even report their names."
If such a memo is circulating, I did not receive the memo. And I don't know if the memo is such a good idea, anyway. I think if a murder is worth writing about, then the arrest of an accused murderer is worth writing about, as well.
The only reason I learned about the criminal complaint with the murder charge against Cory J. Bryant was because I was looking through the jail roster (mainstream media should try this little trick, some time) and I spotted a suspect with a North Minneapolis address, serious charges, and a particularly large bail. The criminal complaint names a second suspect, Dominique Sinkfield.
Nobody spoon fed this blogger a press release or even tipped me off. I wrote the story as quickly as possible because I wanted to publish the information first, figuring there was a whole pack of media hounds who would follow with their own stories...but I wanted to have the story FIRST, damn it.
Seldom does this blogger think it's actually possible to embarrass the mainstream media by sinking my teeth into a good story first, hours or even days before the mainstream media catches up. After all, my readership is relatively limited compared to, for example, the Star Tribune. My subject matter is limited, as well, and tends to stick fairly close to North Minneapolis.
So I figure that if I cover a big story first, it doesn't effect how the mainstream media covers the same story. If it's a big enough story (a murder charge in a high profile double homicide, for example) the mainstream media will cover it, anyway.
My influence, I figured, was more subtle. For example, I keep emphasizing the criminal records of the VICTIMS of shootings, making it clear murder victims in North Minneapolis are, far too often, peas that spring from the same pod as the killers.
But with the arrest of Cory J. Bryant, something has shifted in the media cosmos.
I covered the story.
And the mainstream media didn't.
Even more confusingly, this wasn't the kind of small story that I normally cover and they normally don't.
No, this is the kind of story where, normally, the mainstream media gets the story first (usually off a press release from the prosecutor's office) and in a red hot second the mainstream media are ALL OVER IT LIKE WHITE ON RICE.
Then, about a day later, this blogger comes along and digs up additional details in the bloody, churning wake of their massive media coverage.
That's what USUALLY happens.
When that DOESN'T happen, the pattern is this: I get the story first. I enjoy being first for about 12 to 24 hours.
Then along comes a TIDAL WAVE of mainstream media coverage.
But that didn't happen, either.
What has happened, here, confuses me.
Somebody just got charged in a high profile murder...
And nobody covered it but The Adventures of Johnny Northside.