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Fox News Tweet: EXCLUSIVE: Missouri cop was badly beaten before shooting #MichaelBrown, says source http://fxn.ws/1rmBjOL  via @HollieSMcKay
As we head into day two of the grand jury hearing evidence in the Michael Brown shooting, a troubling trend has emerged. Several news outlets, including the "paper of record" the New York Times, have produced some rather shoddy and lazy work reporting the facts of the Michael Brown case. Much of it started with this tweet on Monday night, from the Twitter account of Christine Byers, crime reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Police sources tell me more than a dozen witnesses have corroborated cop's version of events in shooting #Ferguson
@ChristineDByers
So, anonymous police sources are backing up the account of an anonymous caller to a radio show? And calling it the Ferguson PD's version of events? Here's the problem: there is no official police version of events. Despite lawsuits and widespread calls from Missouri politicians and activists, the official police report has yet to be released.

This also contradicts the eyewitness accounts and video from Tiffany Mitchell, Piaget Crenshaw, Dorian Johnson and several others who've come forward with nearly identical accounts of what happened.

Now, it should be noted that Christine Byers was forced to walk back that tweet:

On FMLA from paper. Earlier tweets did not meet standards for publication.
@ChristineDByers
And the St. Louis Post-Dispatch clarified they were not reporting this version.

But, it was too little, too late. The Kansas City Star retweeted it. When pressed, they did their own vague, half-assed walk back. Conservative outlets started spreading it far and wide.

And this anonymous source "close to the police department" has been a busy little bee.

Please read below the fold for more developments on this story.

He or she has been making the media rounds, talking to Fox News, who now claim Officer Darren Wilson was severely beaten:

Darren Wilson, the Ferguson, Mo., police officer whose fatal shooting of Michael Brown touched off more than a week of demonstrations, suffered severe facial injuries, including an orbital (eye socket) fracture, and was nearly beaten unconscious by Brown moments before firing his gun, a source close to the department's top brass told FoxNews.com.

“The Assistant (Police) Chief took him to the hospital, his face all swollen on one side,” said the insider. “He was beaten very severely.”

Never mind that actual video from the crime scene appears to contradict that narrative.

All these leaks are designed to do is to put a narrative out there that unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown had it coming. And to taint a potential jury pool, putting doubts in the minds of citizens before it even goes to trial. If it ever does go to trial.

Lawrence O'Donnell, from MSNBC's Last Word took notice of the incredibly poor reporting, taking the New York Times to task last night, calling their report a "a profound and uncharacteristic flash of irresponsibility."

It's critical to call these news outlets for this irresponsible reporting. This is a narrative the Ferguson and St. Louis Police Departments obviously want to emerge without providing any official account of what happened. No police report, no Darren Wilson, just rumor and innuendo.

As Lawrence O'Donnell said in the segment below:

The New York Times normally uses the best reporting standards of any news organization in the country. I have never seen the New York Times used by police this way. The New York Times is definitely going to have better days covering this story. I'm sure they will do more great work on this story, but they didn't do that today.
Watch this important video segment.

Originally posted to Scout Finch on Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 09:47 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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