When prosecutor Robert McCulloch began his announcement of the grand jury's decision in Officer Darren Wilson's shooting of an unarmed Ferguson resident, he expressed his displeasure with a very familiar scapegoat
On August 9th Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson. Within minutes, various accounts of the incident began appearing on social media, accounts filled with speculation and little, if any, solid, accurate information...
The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything, to talk about, following closely behind with the nonstop rumors on social media.
One would have thought the most significant challenge would have been the investgation itself, rather than the words of multiple uninvolved parties. Government officials blaming outside entities
for their own struggles and failures is nothing new. The normal, non-social media has taken numerous turns as the scapegoat du jour. But now it's more fashionable to blame the general public and their social outlets. When not blaming the public for talking about stuff, government officials blame the services themselves, villainizing them
for providing platforms that criminals, terrorists and other malcontents might use.
Not included in the blame-shifting was the Ferguson police department's severe mismanagement
of the "investigation," the decision
to turn Ferguson into a lower-Midwest Afghanistan, the combativeness
of the city's FOIA departments or the no-fly zone
erected solely for the purpose of keeping the media out. No. As McCulloch saw it, the Twitter, Facebook, et al (but mostly Twitter) obstructed justice.
It's little surprise McCulloch has no affection for social media, especially when it's being used to highlight his inaccuracies
If you're going to open up your discussion of a heated issue by pointing fingers at everyone else, you can expect to be ridiculed mercilessly. The Hollywood Reporter has collected some great responses to McCullough's opening gambit
. Here are a few of the better ones I spotted while hanging out on The Twit last night.
Wil Wheaton referenced a classic board game.
It was social media, on the internet, with the smart phone.
Lowering the Bar's
Kevin Underhill stopped presses, shouted "Here's your headline, boys!"
FERGUSON PROSECUTOR ANNOUNCES GRAND JURY HAS INDICTED SOCIAL MEDIA
Apparently Mike Brown was shot and killed by social media
McCulloch's "extended whine"
(according to CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin) has to be seen to be
greeted with slow, disbelieving shakes of the head. In addition to blaming social media, McCulloch discussed the unreliability of eyewitness accounts, something cops and prosecutors tend to consider perfectly reliable when seeking to obtain warrants or indictments.
McCulloch didn't discuss his decision to take a (wholly fake) "impartial" stance during the grand jury deliberations
rather than act as a prosecutor and drive for an indictment. His disingenuous nod towards "jury independence" was just a weak cover for his unwillingness to prosecute Darren Wilson. He also didn't discuss his family ties to law enforcement or his previous reluctance to pursue prosecution of police officers
By the end of the press conference (which has been described as "bizarre" and "rambling"
), McCulloch had made his views perfectly clear: the only person blameless in this incident is the officer who shot an unarmed man.