This is pretty startling. Since the tragic killing of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, two NYPD officers who were fatally shot while sitting in their squad car Saturday, there have been a lot of reactions aired in the press — some good, some not so good. In particular, there have been some pretty overt instances of people implying the culpability of the nationwide anti-police violence protests which have been happening over recent months. Here's a great example: Fox affiliate WBFF claimed protesters chanted "kill a cop" during the Justice For All march in Washington, D.C. last week, a charge which is flatly untrue, and disproven by the video they aired.
Well, that is, it would've been transparently untrue, if not for one of the most deceptive edits of all time. The trick is pretty simple, as detailed by Gawker's Miserable Shitehawk (no, really, that's the byline) — with video of a call-and-response protest chant that goes "We can't stop! We won't stop! 'Til killer cops are in cell blocks," just cut the clip short, right after the word "cops." What you end up getting is an abrupt phrase that might sound an awful lot like "kill a cop," especially have you have a newscaster telling you so. Many viewers of Baltimore's WBFF probably still believe this happened, through no fault of their own.
Completing the effect, the report then pivots to the killing of Officers Liu and Ramos, as if to suggest the two events were related — the unruly protesters, chanting for police to be killed, followed by the police being killed. If you actually watch the full video of the D.C.protests, however, what you'll see looks very different. It's not an incitement to murder. It's nothing more than a customary protest chant, being offered up by some activists who felt the need to speak out.
It all adds up to one of the sleazier productions you'll find, whether it was intentional or not — the footage the report used was from a YouTube video (the same one embedded above, which Shitehawk posted on Gawker) called "Sharpton's Go Kill a Cop March in Wash DC," so it's altogether possible a credulous reporter saw it, and simply heard what they wanted to. In any event, it's a pretty grave mistake, and as such it's no surprise that WBFF has apologized for the incident, in a Facebook post that went up Monday.
Fox45 is apologizing for an error made on Fox45 News at Ten last night. We aired a clip from a protest in Washington, DC where we reported protesters were chanting “kill a cop”. We received a phone call from Tawanda Jones, who is in the video, who informed us that the chant was actually “We won’t stop….We can’t stop…. ‘til killer cops…. are in cell blocks”. We here at Fox45 work hard every day to earn your trust and bring you fair and comprehensive news from around the country. Although last night’s report reflected an honest misunderstanding of what the protesters were saying, we apologize for the error. We have deleted the story on our webpage and we offered to have Ms. Jones on Fox45 News at 5:00 tonight for a live interview. We had a constructive conversation with her earlier today and she has accepted our invitation and will join us for a live interview at 5:30.
At least one positive thing has emerged from this mess, which is that the woman in the video, Tawanda Jones, will apparently get some airtime to address the situation. Jones is very close to the issues she's protesting about — her brother is Tyrone West, yet another fatal victim in a controversial case of police violence. Here's hoping she gets to say her peace, and that her words won't be misinterpreted so wildly in the future.