Baltimore ‘Riot’ Tweets: What Kind of Fakery is This?

City Paper reporter attempts to hold back drunken woman but is captioned as protecting her.  (Google Images)

City Paper reporter Brandon Soderberg attempts to hold back drunken woman from going after protesters but is reported as protecting her from protesters.
(Google Images)

Caitlin Dewey of the Washington Post is reporting that there was a proliferation of false information initiated and spread on the Internet about the Baltimore uprisings. The misinformation or what we at the BW like to call outright lies can be traced to a number of “partisan-baiting,” groups. Last week’s events in Baltimore were complicated enough without having to add faux facts to the mix. We’ve got City Paper writers with superhuman strength, devilish ladies masquerading as damsels in distress and enough contrived lawlessness to make Blade Runner look like a romantic comedy. Just what kind of f**kery is this? (Cue Amy Winehouse) We all know that technology is great when it is used for good, but when used for evil, that’s another story (see The Avengers, Superman and Spider-Man since fiction is outweighing fact when it comes to the coverage of the protests in Baltimore). We won’t even mention that the vast majority of protesters were peaceful. Check out some of Dewey’s report below:

  • Freddie Gray did not have a “pre-existing spinal injury” at the time of his arrest. This stunning exclusive comes from our friends at The Fourth Estate, a right-wing blog. According to that blog’s “anonymous sources,” Gray had spinal surgery a week before his arrest, and his death was a “freak accident that occurred when Gray should have been home resting, not selling drugs.” For starters, there’s no evidence Gray was selling drugs: His charging documents indicate officers pursued him because he ran “unprovoked” and because he had a switchblade in his pocket. Meanwhile, attorneys for Gray’s family have denied that he had surgery, an allegation for which there’s also no evidence. It’s nonetheless been shared nearly 90,000 times on Facebook.
  • An armed shop-owner with a shotgun did not save a Baltimore Sun reporter from a mob. Breitbart and the National Rifle Association were among two of the organizations to claim that a heroic shop-owner, armed with a shotgun, protected crime reporter Justin Fenton against rioters on Monday. Fenton himself has said, however, that a group of gang members protected him during the flare-up, and that the “guy with the shotgun” was locked inside his store. Breitbart has since clarified its story, but — as we know — corrections are rarely as viral as the original material.
  • A viral photo does not show a guy protecting a white woman from rioters. The guy in said photo — Baltimore City Paper music editor Brandon Soderberg — has taken to social media and the pages of City Paper to explain that the picture actually shows him trying to restrain a drunk, out-of-control woman from going after protesters. It’s still been used, predictably, as both evidence of protester violence and as proof that the riots are (lol) a “false flag.”

Read more at the Washington Post.

This BW post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of the award-winning news blog the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.

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