How Is This Possible? (Answer: It’s Not) The Cincinnati Enquirer Backdates Its Jamie Urton Murder Coverage)
Jamie Urton was killed in Cincinnati on Friday, March 24.
That afternoon, while driving back to work from lunch, he hit a 4 year-old child. He was then ordered out of his car by others who saw the accident. He was then killed as he begged for his life (the linked story appears to be the only site which reported this particularly salient information). The 4 year-old’s injuries ended up not being serious.
Jamie Urton was white. About two weeks later, the person who allegedly pulled the trigger and the 4 year-old’s father (who had been pretending to have sympathies for Urton’s family), both of whom are black, were charged with murder.
Though I didn’t save graphic proof, I can say that I attempted the following weekend to find a story about Urton at Cincinnati.com, the web site of the Cincinnati Enquirer, by searching on his last name. I found no stories. I noticed that a few national center-right blogs picked up the story and its racially-charged elements over the following two weeks, but I didn’t check back to see what Cincinnati.com did with the story.
Now that I have, I’m appalled:
The Enquirer is pretending that the story about the services for Mr. Urton was published on March 24. He was killed that day. It is not possible that services for Mr. Urton were planned and announced by the end of the day he was killed.
The story’s original URL, ending in “cpd-shots-fired-after-child-hit-vehicle/99584356/” appears to give away the fact that the Enquirer reported a breaking-news story on March 24 and gave it a vague headline — probably “CPD: Shots Fired After Child Hit by Vehicle.”
Based on the unsuccessful search on Urton’s last name noted earlier, it appears that the paper threw up a story about which little was known shortly after the incident, and failed to update it all until six days later, or at the very least failed to update it on a timely basis .
My vote would be on the former, simply because the first reader comment at the story in question, which garnered quite a bit of attention from local television stations, is dated … March 30:
From all appearances, on March 30, the Enquirer, by “updating” a nearly information-free breaking news story from March 24, tried to pretend that it had been on top of this story all along. It wasn’t. Again, the information about the services for Urton — the subject of the headline and the story’s first two paragraphs — could not possibly have been known on the day he was murdered.
As part of Gannett and the USA Today network, the Enquirer’s dishonestly dated story as seen above was carried at USA Today and several of the network’s other individual papers.
Investigative reporter Jack Cashill appears to have a strong point to make when he contends that “local media are just as bad, maybe worse” than the national establishment press.