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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

  


 

DOES THE MEDIA REPORT THE NEWS OR CREATE THE NEWS?

http://www.cinemaniastigma.com/pages/1/index.htm

 

On November 16th, 1999, in mid-Manhattan, an innocent young woman was savagely struck on the head with a brick by an unknown assailant. Although no one knew who the assailant was, and no suspects had yet been arrested, assumptions were made, based upon pre-conceived notions, and all of the local papers alleged that the perpetrator had to be a "mentally-ill", homeless person. In fact, the New York Daily News front-page headline read: "Get the Violent Crazies off Our Streets", including a two-page editorial entitled "Hospitalize the Deranged" which issued this ominous warning that echoed with a foreboding sense of impending doom:

"In our newfound complacency, we have forgotten a particular kind of violence to which we are still prey. The violence of the mentally-ill. The dangerous ones pursued by personal demons and likely to strike out in viciousness or fear. Anytime. Anywhere. It's time to end the madness. It's time to get the dangerously deranged off the streets for their sake and ours... There are crazies among us. Some of them are dangerous. A few of them are murderous. Get them off the street. Now!" (11/19/99)

 

  


 

Not only did this hysteria-inducing front-page headline bluntly imply that "the mentally-ill" are violent and crazy, but more disturbingly, it boldly implied that New York City's streets are reserved for a select few ("OUR streets", versus, "the streets"). As a result New York City's mayor subsequently ordered a full-scale round-up of the city's homeless and arrested all those who refused to enter the city's shelters. Even homeless people who had never had a history of "mental illness" became victims of this media-driven frenzy. When the assailant was eventually captured (and convicted), and it was discovered that he had never been diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness, and wasn't even homeless, none of the papers retracted their allegations nor offered an apology. In fact, the exact opposite took place. More media headlines began to appear demanding forced hospitalizations and forced treatment of "the mentally-ill". Eight months later a similar attack took place in Manhattan involving another young woman named Tiffany Goldberg which prompted a similar response from the media. And once again "the mentally-ill" were criminalized. Only this time when the alleged perpetrator, Bently Grant (who WAS homeless and DID have a diagnosis of "mental illness") was arrested, the front page headline screamed "We Got Him!" (7/21/00). Not only was there a so-called confession, but there were even so-called eyewitnesses who placed Bently at the scene of the crime even though he insisted that he was inside a record store at the time of the assault. And in typical fashion a New York Post editorial (reminiscent of the Daily News editorial "Hospitalize the Deranged"), had these inciteful words to share about people labeled mentally-ill:

"Of all the billions that liberalistas have lovingly lavished on healthy men and women in the form of welfare checks, the same smug folks have been particularly stingy when it comes to the mentally-ill. You may call them wackos, crazies, nut cases, weirdos, but what we are really talking about are people who are in seriously emotional mayhem. For more than thirty years, the liberal agenda was to give bums a free ride rather than to pay for the care of people who are in a pathetic state of near or absolute insanity. So now these poor craven souls pick up pieces of concrete and bash in the skulls of innocents. Don't walk around the street minding your own business, because some sad nut might think that you're Satan and a brick will be part of your cranium."

  


 

But sure enough charges against Bently Grant had to be dropped when the security camera of Virgin Records store placed him inside the store at the exact same time that the assault took place. Is truth in reporting no longer a marketable standard? And is sensationalism at any cost the new standard on which conventional media prides itself?

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"Today, a single bizarre incident triggers an avalanche of news bulletins, special reports, live coverage and round-the-clock talk shows. "Experts" are paraded before anxious viewers to proclaim that the incident is not merely an isolated act, but the beginning of a terrifying new wave of crime." (Alternative Press, Volume 6, No. 2)