How did Fox News run a totally bogus Ferguson story? Welcome to the truly slimy side of the right-wing hit machine
© Fox News/AP/Michael Caulfield/Cliff Owen
Tucker Carlson, Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter
The killing of Michael Brown,
an unarmed young black man shot at least six times by police officer Darren Wilson, and the resulting protests in Ferguson, Missouri, left the right-wing media machine in something of a conundrum. Days ticked by and still there was no viable right-wing narrative.
Then, six days after the shooting, Ferguson police chief Thomas Jackson bowed to pressure from the community and media and identified Wilson as the cop who shot Brown
. At the same time, Jackson released two new bits of information. He said Wilson had been taken to a hospital after the shooting with swelling to his face. He also released a store surveillance video that showed Brown reaching over a counter and grabbing a handful of cigars, then pushing a store clerk on his way out.
This was a turning point in the story: Ferguson police seemingly wanted to transform Michael Brown from an innocent victim to a criminal. Still, it was hard to justify killing a young man with no previous record - especially shooting him six times, for allegedly stealing a handful of cheap cigars.
It wasn't long before Fox News was pushing a new narrative
: Michael Brown wasn't just the latest in a depressingly long line of unarmed young black men to be gunned down by a white cop. He was a thug, they suggested, a criminal who deserved what he got, because he posed a deadly threat to Officer Wilson.
This was proven, Fox News reported
with an unnamed source, because "the officer had sustained a fractured eye socket in the incident." Ann Coulter even suggested, incorrectly,
that we'd seen X-rays of the fracture. Fox went on to claim "solid proof" of a battle between Wilson and Brown for the officer's handgun.
It was not long, of course, before CNN and others disproved such bogus claims
. But how did such fiction make it all the way to an outlet as major, if intellectually challenged, as Fox News?