The vilification of Michael Brown really got rolling the day Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson held a press conference, allegedly to identify Brown's killer, but in actuality to tell the world that Brown shoplifted some cigars on the day he was killed—never mind that it had nothing to do with the shooting—and the media cheerfully jumped on it. And since that day, every story, no matter how irrelevant, no matter how thinly sourced, and the media is all over it.
In fact, these days the favorite sources for the media seem to be "unnamed," "close to the investigation," or "Josie," the anonymous, alleged friend of Officer Darren Wilson, who told her unsubstantiated, secondhand story to a right-wing radio station and—again—the media was all over it. In fact, on Thursday, CNN spent several news segments discussing the "different accounts of the shooting," comparing named eyewitness accounts to that of "Josie." And it wasn't until the third or fourth segment of the day that a CNN legal analyst made this jaw-dropping admission:
Well, yeah, first let's throw out 'Josie,' the radio caller in this ... We all had Josie fever for about a day and we took a step back and realized wait, she wasn't even an actual witness, even though her story was compelling.The new standard: Compelling. Great. And about that orbital bone fracture? That was the latest story making the rounds, as told by an anonymous, alleged friend of Officer Darren Wilson (Josie, is that you?): That Michael Brown beat Wilson so severely that Wilson "suffered severe facial injuries and was nearly beaten unconscious," and "suffered a fracture to his eye bone" in the moments before he shot and killed Brown. Except he didn't.
So to the media, stop it. Just stop it. Demand answers, report the facts. That's your job.