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Fake-news assertions on shooting diminishes tatters of journalism’s nobility

Written By | Jun 29, 2018
Capital Gazette Shooting, Annapolis Shooting, Stephen Nemo

WASHINGTON:  When a shotgun-bearing madman entered the offices of the Capital Gazette shooting a long gun and chaos ensued.  The Capital Gazette newspaper was under assault, killing five and wounding two.

Some journalists were quick to assess blame for the carnage. Here’s a hint – it wasn’t the shooter.

Capital Gazette Shooting, Annapolis Shooting, Stephen Nemo

Scene outside Annapolis Capital Gazette newspaper. CBS News screen capture.

Shooting at the Capital Gazette: Trump did it!

Andrew Feinberg of Breakfast Media tweeted:

Maggie Haberman of the New York Times added her two cents:

Capital Gazette Shooting, Annapolis Shooting, Stephen Nemo

Suspect Jarrod Ramos. CBS News screen capture.

Mental Illness, not political ideology, led to Capital Gazette shooting

The alleged shooter is Jarrod Ramos, a 38-year-old man from Laurel, Maryland. In 2011, Ramos was charged with harassing a woman, for which he later pled guilty.


Active Shooting Incident at Capital Gazette, Annapolis, Maryland 

And that’s when the Gazette reported on the Ramos’s case for its readers.

In 2012, Ramos attempted to sue the Gazette for defamation. But a judge dismissed the case, telling Ramos there was…

“… absolutely not one piece of evidence, or an assertion by you that the statement [news article] was false,” CBS News reported.



No “assault weapon” to blame

What’s unique about this latest mass shooting is that it did not involve an “assault rifle.” The weapon whose scary military aspect, coupled with its ammunition clips bearing copious bullets, the media finds so frighteningly ban-worthy.

Instead, the murder weapon was the ubiquitous shotgun.

The eerily familiar shooter

However, the one consistency to this story is that the alleged shooter was similar in character and age to the most recent merchants of death. He is a malevolent millennial.

It appears Ramos believed his “safe space” had been violated when the Gazette accurately reported on his creepy treatment of a female victim. And what made this violation so egregious, in the mind of Ramos, is that the facts in the story were all true.

The price of real journalism
Capital Gazette Shooting, Annapolis Shooting, Stephen Nemo

Murdered Arizona Republic reporter Don Bolles. Newseum screen capture.

You see, reporting the news fairly and accurately can be deadly. That was certainly the case for the Arizona Republic’s organized-crime reporter, Don Bolles. He had written a series of articles on a New York-based horse and dog-racing company with operations in Phoenix.

He suspected the company, Emprise, was corrupt and had criminal associations.

It was while working on a follow-up story that Bolles went to meet a source at a local hotel. The source never showed. When he returned to his vehicle and turned the key in the car’s ignition, a bomb under his seat exploded. The semi-conscious Bolles said three words to a witness: “John Adamson… Emprise… Mafia.”

Bolles died 11 days later.

Capital Gazette Shooting, Annapolis Shooting, Stephen Nemo

Murdered journalist Don Bolles’ car at the Newseum. Newseum screen capture.

His killers were eventually caught and sent to prison. And his damaged white, 1976 Datsun 710 is on exhibit at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

According to an Axios.com POLL, a vast majority of Americans – 72 percent to be exact – believe “news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposely misleading.”

You will know them by their fruits

We see fake news at play regarding the Trump/Russia collusion story, the phony controversy over the Trump administration’s enforcement of existing immigration laws enacted by Congress, and the over-the-top hysteria displayed by news hosts over the announced retirement of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Trump, therefore, is 100 percent accurate in describing the unhinged biases of the Washington-New York Axis of information “fake news.”

Real journalism, like that practiced by Don Bolles and the staff of the Annapolis Capital Gazette, sometimes comes at a price. That price is blood.

Fake-news reporting, on the other hand, presents its own, less noble manifestations. High-pitched whining.

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Top Image: Annapolis Capital Gazette newspaper. ABC News screen capture.

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Steven M. Lopez

Originally from Los Angeles, Steven M. Lopez has been in the news business for more than thirty years. He made his way around the country: Arizona, the Bay Area and now resides in South Florida.