Was Our Article on the SSM Hospital Beat Down 'Fair and Unbiased'?
An inquiry from a reader inspires further investigation and the results are shocking.
The following email came in from a Yahoo.com email address; I am not going to reveal the person's name:
To the editor,
I work with internal communications at a company lauded for excellence in diversity and write about our ERGs and diversity practices. I rely on DiversityInc for news, best practices and webinars that support diversity in the work force and in the community.
I am shocked, however, at the increased amount of biased news articles I'm reading. Maybe I've not been combing through the articles carefully enough; maybe I have a misplaced expectation for DiversityInc to provide balanced and unbiased reporting.
Here is an example from excerpts of a story posted on your site written by Keka Araujo about a horrible altercation at a hospital.
Albert Watkins, Allen's attorney, had some choice words to say concerning the attack:
"This was 220 pounds of white daytime TV muscle on top of her …You have a security guard
with an IQ well below room temperature taking it upon himself to see that 'justice' is
done to a 90-pound patient in distress."
The last paragraph:
Basically, the hospital glossed over their responsibility of hiring
an incompetent good old boy who allegedly assaulted one of their patients
and then adding insult to injury by filing charges against her. Got it.
Two things strike me – the article did not sufficiently explore both sides of the story; though it appeared there was just a press release from the hospital, there were no witness statements and the video doesn't show the full progression of the altercation.
Secondly, if the security guard had been an African American, the quote by the attorney and the author's last paragraph would be considered grossly prejudicial. Both the attorney and the reporter would, by today's standards, be vilified for being alarmingly inappropriate in their comments.
Diversity means equality and opportunity for ALL people, not free reign to slam any particular minority nor (in this article) the white community.
I'd like to think that I can expect proper, balanced reporting with DiversityInc news. This type of reporting is unacceptable.
Dear Ms. (redacted),
Thank you for your email.
I am responsible for all content on my website. I watched the video before I approved the article being written, I stand by my editor, the journalist who reports to her and the finished product. In my opinion, Keka's last paragraph summed it up perfectly.
"Bias" is an interesting adjective to assert in this situation. My bias is different than that hospital's CEO; I would have fired that guard, apologized to the victim and the community, and carefully considered firing the rest of the security guards and whoever was responsible for supervising them.
I'd be biased to assume that this wasn't the first time this "security guard" beat up a woman one-third his size — and that the monster's coworkers knew about the sadist and did nothing.
My hunch is the hospital CEO got "advice" from the white lawyer on her 93 percent white leadership team that doesn't have a single Black person, despite St. Louis being 49.2 percent Black (the majority demographic). Let's see, majority Black city, 93 percent white/0 percent Black hospital leadership team (72 percent male, in an industry dominated by women). Some might call that "bias." I call it racism — and sexism.
As far as race and coverage, we endeavor to cover news "from a colorful perspective" and I think we do. I am quite sure SSM could use a lot of help in getting a better perspective and St. Louis would be better served if they did.
Luke Visconti, CEO
Or is a tyranny of old people and a lack of leadership skills, most importantly mentoring and sponsoring the next generation, open for criticism?
I received a comment from a reader on my last column.
Here's the gist of it:
"I did not tweet or post (your last column) because of the ageist comment/s made about Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. I have no problem with them being criticized as lackluster, but not because of their age."
Here's my response:
The suspects were arrested Thursday night and charged with a hate crime for the #ShoppingWhileBlack incident at Walmart.
At a Walmart in West Monroe, La., two white men, Dylan Reynolds, 22, and Michael Walters, 24, followed a Black female shopper to her car.
When she was approached, she quickly threw her groceries in her car, as the men shouted racial slurs, including the n-word. As she drove away, they ran after her, hurling more slurs and even a shopping cart at her car.
Walmart surveillance cameras caught the two men on tape in the store, and after a police call out for information about the suspects, social media quickly identified the men, including the getaway car, a gray Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck that was seen on Reynolds' Facebook page.
On Thursday night, the two men were apprehended after a two-week manhunt for them, and booked into Ouachita Correctional Center. Bond is set at $20,000 for each man. The hate crime charge, if deemed a felony, is punishable by up to five years in prison.
Because she slowed for "speed bumps" in the parking lot, one of the men was able to strike her car with the shopping cart, causing over $1,000 in damages.
Walmart has yet to comment on the safety issue at their store.
Crimes that fall under Louisiana's hate crime law include: battery; aggravated battery; second degree battery; simple or aggravated criminal damage to property.
The account of the incident by police was on the arrest warrant:
"On 11/29/2018 the West Monroe Police Department was dispatched to Walmart (1025 Glenwood Drive West Monroe, LA) in reference to a disturbance/property damage call for service. Upon arrival, it was learned a black female victim was terrorized while exiting the store in the parking lot area of the business for no apparent reason. While the victim was leaving the store and attempting to load her purchased items in her vehicle, she was confronted by two white males. While in the parking lot the victim was yelled at and called a "n- - - - -". The female rushed the items in her vehicle and tried to escape the two white males while they were yelling racial slurs at her. As the victim fled the scene in her vehicle, one of the two white males chased after her on foot while pushing an empty shopping cart. The male violently crashed the shopping cart into the rear end area of the victim's vehicle as she slowed for "speed bumps" in the parking lot near the front entrance area of the business. That aggravated damage to the victim's vehicle not only caused her over one thousand dollars in damages to her vehicle but put her safety at risk while driving away from the two aggressors as well. After the damages were performed, both males got into a dark gray Dodge Ram 2500 pickup truck and fled the area at a high rate of speed."
SHE is charged with endangering a child.
Jasmine Headley, age 23, was carrying her child into a city agency building in Brooklyn where SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is located, and sat on the floor to wait as there were no more chairs. A bystander, Nyashia Ferguson, who goes by the name Monae Sinclair on Facebook, reported she saw a security guard confront Headley and the two got into an argument. Security called the police, and when they arrived, Headley tried to explain, but they cut her off. That's when things got ugly.
Meanwhile, Parsham Rabiee, a Lyft driver, now can't work to save the life he took years to build.
Parsham Rabiee was attacked by two white Lyft passengers outside of Portland, Ore., who verbally and physically assaulted him, including repeated use of racial slurs and making fun of his music. But the Gresham police are claiming it wasn't a racially-biased attack.
"This will affect my son forever," said Brennan Walker's mother.
After a jury convicted Jeffrey Ziegler last month of assault with intent to do bodily harm and a felony firearm count for shooting at a Black teen in Rochester Hills, Mich., he was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Ziegler appeared in front of a judge at the Oakland County court, who sentenced him to a minimum of two years for each charge. The original charge, assault with intent to murder, would've carried a life sentence. Now he'll be eligible for parole after four years.
Meanwhile, Lisa Wright, mother of Brennan Walker, the victim, said her son is in therapy indefinitely.
"This will affect my son forever," she said.
"He almost took the life of another human being," assistant prosecutor Kelly Collins said. "That will forever stay with Brennan — forever. His perception of strangers, his perception of other people, his perception of the world."
Jeffrey Zeigler apologized before he was sentenced Tuesday in Oakland County court, and apologized to Wright, saying, "I have full remorse and regret and I wish I could change something, but we can't go back in time."
She doesn't believe him. She told the judge she thinks Ziegler is sad because of the media attention.
As he was escorted out of the courtroom, Zeigler smiled and waved at his wife, and friends and relatives shouted, "We love you, Jeff."
Ziegler and his wife clearly reacted to the teen's race in the April 12 shooting. Ziegler referred to Walker in an interview with a sheriff's deputy after the shooting as "that colored kid" at his front door; and his wife's report to the police was, "A Black male was trying to break into her house and her husband chased after him into the yard."
Ziegler lied and said he tripped and that's what caused his gun to fire, when his own home security system video showed him pausing, taking aim and firing at the fleeing teen.
Walker, then age 14, had missed his bus to school that morning and came to the Zeigler's door for help. After his wife screamed, Zeigler fired a shotgun at the teen, but missed him.
"I was scared," Walker had testified in October. "I was trying to tell them that I was trying to get to high school, but they weren't listening."
Walker had literally run for his life. "I turned back and I saw him aiming at me... I was trying to run away faster and I heard a gunshot," he said on the stand.
Zeigler's attorney Robert Morad, who said his client suffers from PTSD and injuries from being a Detroit firefighter for 23 years, said outside the courtroom,"We will be discussing a possible appeal."
Meanwhile, Walker and his family don't leave the house much anymore. "We moved to Rochester Hills to live in a better place, a safe place," Wright said. "But, when a safer place doesn't want you there, I don't know how to process that."
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"When you look at the clip, is that inappropriate touching? We know when someone is accused of assault, that's a very loaded word," said Whoopi Goldberg.
An intense debate on whether or not CNN reporter, Jim Acosta, "assaulted" a White House intern during a press conference with President Trump took place on ABC's morning talk show, "The View."