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Saturday, September 22, 2007
NewsBusters Still Obsessed With Mildly Hurt Jena Six Victim

A Sept. 21 NewsBusters post by Noel Sheppard continues NewsBusters' growing obsession with the white victim in the Jena Six case, insisting that "the name of the white boy who was beaten by the 'Jena 6,' Justin Barker, is rarely mentioned, and the assault which precipitated the arrest of the '6' is either ignored, or downplayed."

But Sheppard fails to highlight that Barker spent only a very brief time in the hospital being treated for his injuries in the assault, and he doesn't mention at all the fact that the evening of the assault, Barker felt well enough to attend a high school ring ceremony.

Nor does Sheppard address one of the sailient issues in the case: that the Jena Six originally faced attempted murder charges for an attack in which the victim was essentially treated and released.

While Sheppard invokes the Duke rape case to show how the media likes to focus on the victim, he fails to mention a more appropriate comparison: prosecutorial misconduct. In addition to the attempted-murder charge, the conviction of one of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell, was overturned because the judge ruled Bell not have been charged in adult court.

In another Sept. 21 post, Sheppard praised a column by Kansas City Star sportswriter Jason Whitlock -- whom Sheppard proudly noted had "called Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton terrorists during April's Don Imus controversy" -- for writing that that Barker "was cold-cocked from behind, knocked unconscious and stomped by six black athletes." Sheppard put the statment in boldface and harrumphed, "As NewsBusters noted, media have almost universally ignored or downplayed this." But immediately after that statement -- which Sheppard copied-and-pasted but did not boldface -- Whitlock also noted that Barker "sustained no life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital three hours after the attack." That, presumably, is not something Sheppard wants highlighted.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:04 AM EDT

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