Two weeks ago, a Sylacauga, Alabama teen was viciously attacked by at least four young adults among a crowd of about a dozen after a Friday night high school football game. The teen “would have died from the assault if not for swift medical intervention,” and “is expected to suffer permanent damage that he will carry for the rest of his life.” Four alleged attackers who were arrested on Tuesday have thus far only been charged with first or second degree assault. Given how low their bails were set, there’s a very good chance all four are back out on the streets already. The national press has been virtually disinterested in this story.
Oh, by the way, the victim is a white teen, the arrested assailants are black, and the motivation is likely the attackers’ fury over the teen’s online pro-police comments, expressed succinctly as “Blue Lives Matter.” Imagine the saturation coverage something like this would receive if the races were switched.
What little news the national press has reported has been woefully incomplete.
The Associated Press has filed two brief stories. The first appeared on October 4:
The biggest weakness is in the opening sentence, which makes it appear as if only Brian Ogle’s mother is making the claim that her son was attacked. It wouldn’t have been difficult to get it right: “The mother of an Alabama high school student who was attacked and badly beaten on Friday says her 17-year-old son after standing up for police.” This is not a minor quibble when so many news consumers, especially on computers and mobile devices, only see a story’s first sentence before deciding whether or not to click through.
Note what AP said about Ogle’s injuries in the final paragraph.
Wednesday’s story on the arrest, which, unlike the initial story appeared at its main national site but not at its “Big Story” site, is quite brief, and leaves out a number of important items:
Sure, this report identified the assailants as black, but that was unavoidable, given the nature of the attack and the online and social media attention it had received at that point. But note that the nature of the attack as “planned,” mentioned in the first story, went away.
But the AP arbitrarily downgraded Ogle’s “fractured skull” (more specifically, his skull ”is broken in three places”), mentioned in the first report, to “head injuries.” Additionally the AP’s “was hospitalized” reference would lead any reader to think Ogle was no longer in the hospital on Wednesday, and that he may even have recovered. An early-morning October 12 story at WRBL contradicts that impression, saying that “Last week, she (Brian’s mother) told us Brian was moved out of the ICU into a room. Today, Brandi told us he is doing a little better.”
The AP at least has had stories. Very few others have. A Google News search at 4 p.m. on Saturday on “Sylacauga Alabama Ogle” (not in quotes sorted by date), returned roughly 80 relevant items. Almost all of those which were not one of the AP items above were from local Alabama or Deep South news sites and center-right outlets. The New York Times has only relayed AP’s stories, and almost certainly has not included either of them in its print editions.
Pertinent items which would seem to demand more than cursory attention from the national press include the following:
- “All four that were arrested are … former SHS (Sylacauga High School) students,” and the Sylacauga Police Department reports that “There has been no evidence to support that any current SHS students were involved in the assault.” So four guys who were typically in three different places but went to the same high school and kept in touch might have been furious at Ogle’s “Blue Lives Matter” support, and decided he needed to be taught a lesson. Alternatively, it’s possible that the alleged assailants younger siblings or friends still in the school tipped one of the four off and put in a request for violence against a dissenter.
- Daveon Nix, the alleged assailant who was arrested in Sylacauga, “is the son of Sylacauga District 2 City Councilwoman-elect Tiffany Nix.” Though it’s completely possible that she had no idea what her son had allegedly done and that she has been as good a parent as anyone can be, the following quote seen the Talladega Daily Home on October 7, several days before the arrests, is now quite embarrassing:
Nix’s said children do what they see their parents do.
“If we’re upholding them in their wrongdoings, then we are as much to blame as they are,” she said.
One cannot help but ask how Tiffany Nix’s son allegedly came to be filled with the kind of hate that drives an attack like the one on Brian Ogle.
- Though there is a chance that the four may be charged with more serious crimes (but that would seem to require a “hate crime” determination, and the external pressure to avoid that will obviously be high in the circumstances), the Sylacauga PD’s Facebook post indicates that the current charges carry potential sentences of 1-10 years for second-degree assault and 2-20 years for first-degree assault. The bonds that were set ranged from $15,000 to $20,000. It usually only takes a small percentage of a bond to be posted in cash for the accused to be freed pending arraignment and trial. Who knows what these four are capable of now?
But the national press barely cares about any of this.
Brian Ogle’s mom had an update for the New York Daily News, virtually the only national outlet besides AP which has given the story any attention:
Allen said her son is getting better as he recovers from the brutal attack. “He’s already done more than the doctors thought he would at this point, and we couldn’t be more thankful for that,” she told AL.com.
That’s simultaneously heartening and intensely infuriating. As Ms. Allen said two weeks, shortly after the attack:
“Instead of us planning for his 18th birthday, we’re here (at UAB Hospital),” she said. “Why? Because he made a statement that he backs the blue?”
All indications are that the answer is, “Yes.” That’s apparently a truth so ugly, and so against the grain of the Black Lives Matter agenda with which the press has become sympathetic, that it will do all it can to minimize its exposure.
Cross-post pending at NewsBusters.org.