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The Federalist fact-checks Derecka Purnell's playground "shooting"

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Songbird, Jul 17, 2020.

  1. Patchen

    Patchen Active Member

    Not a great response. The Federalist fact-check wasn't air-tight, but the difference between cop and security guard is signfiicant and the author looks bad for needing to correct.
    sgreenwell likes this.
  2. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I'm 50/50 on it.

    Serious correction, but hardly the "it does not appear to have ever happened" death blow The Federalist intended.

    Be interesting to see if more comes of it.
  3. JimmyHoward33

    JimmyHoward33 Well-Known Member

    I don’t know, you accuse a cop of shooting a child and it turns out it was a rent-a-cop that’s a massive distinction.

    Some people of influence decided “defund the police” was a realistic goal after hearing this story. Would they have had the same change of mind if the shooter wasn’t a cop?

    Defund the Securitas doesn’t carry the same weight
  4. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    If private security is abolished, and public security is abolished, then we’re at...no security at all short of John Wickian vigilantes, or something.

    The essay fundamentally changed because abolishing all security is abject nonsense that no one peddling.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2020
    Songbird likes this.
  5. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Was probably Paul Blart.
  6. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    The Federalist printed a follow up:

    Atlantic Finally Admits Police Abolition Piece Is Based On A False Narrative


    The Atlantic still refuses to share any corroborating evidence or if they did a fact-check on the original story before publication, although a search of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s archives encompassing the now-broadened timeline reveals an early-2004 shooting at Buder Recreation Center, less than three blocks from Purnell’s old address.

    That article, published March 9, 2004, is titled “Security Guard Is Charged With Assault,” and reports that, “The security guard, 23, and his cousin, 18, were quarreling at the center about 4:50 p.m. [March 8] when the shooting occurred, according to Richard Wilkes, a Police Department spokesman. The victim was shot in the arm.”

    “Wilkes,” the 2004 article concludes, “said there were no other injuries and no children were involved in the incident.”

    When asked if The Atlantic spoke to the victim, spoke to the guard, or acquired a police report, Anna Bross, a vice president of communications at the magazine, replied, “To start, you can find coverage of the incident in local newspapers in 2004.”


    It’s kind of remarkable The Atlantic can slough this off. A 23-year-old rent a cop getting an argument with his 18 year old cousin and shooting him in the arm in 2004 was used as a launching off point for a fake anecdote about a cop shooting a kid in 2003.
    Songbird likes this.
  7. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    That's really bad. For the Atlantic, and for her.

    She used that anecdote as a launching point for an "abolish the police" essay. Facts really matter. In this case, the central fact to the anecdote wasn't true -- and that is a very big deal.

    She tweeted this:

    That is complete BS. She'd have been better off not tweeting anything than trying to recast it that way.

    In the original essay she said she watched a cop shoot a young boy. She referred to him as the officer. It's maybe not the hugest deal that she was 13 and not 12 if she's telling the truth, or that she misidentified the interstate, although it's fair to ask why she and the Atlantic were so sloppy about details like those. If you can't be bothered with those details why should anyone trust the bigger things?

    It is, however, a huge deal that she is trying to BS her way out of it now with a muddled distinction between an armed security guard (calling it "private police") and the police. 1) They are not the same thing. 2) On the one in a trillion chance that she really made abslutely no distinction in her mind between the police and rent-a-cops (and we all know she wasn't thinking that way), the essay itself would have needed to spell out that it was an armed security guard and not an actual police officer. And if she had done that, it would have made no sense within the context of her wanting to to abolish the police. Which is how you know she fudged her anecdote to try to make it fit her narrative. ... and she got caught.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2020
  8. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    Is it bad enough that Atlantic should take the story down?

    Also still curious, does The Federalist routinely fact check other publications?
  9. Alma

    Alma Well-Known Member

    Is it?
  10. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    I don't think they should take it down. They should leave it up there for journalism schools to dissect whenever they want to teach their students about How Not To Do It.
    Dog8Cats likes this.
  11. Azrael

    Azrael Well-Known Member

    I don't know.

    If I were running things over there I feel like I'd have three options.

    1) Retract it; investigate the origin of the misstatements; publish the results of that investigation.

    2) Correct the misstatements, as was done, but append a much longer, more detailed account of your reasons to stand behind the piece.

    3) Update the misstatements, then just brazen it out.

    The editors over there have chosen #3. Not sure why.

    I'd lean toward #2 at first, because it seems easier.

    But the only way out is #1.

    So, retract it. Then figure out how it happened.
    Alma likes this.
  12. SportsGuyBCK

    SportsGuyBCK Active Member

    Probably because they believe the SJWs on the Twitterverse would come down on them if they did anything else ...
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