There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.
Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.
“Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.
The columnist admits the story has not, until today, appeared in the Virginian-Pilot.
The newspaper is coming under heavy criticism today from residents in the greater Norfolk area, known as Hampton Roads.
“It is unbelievable that the Virginian-Pilot would BURY this story for two weeks for politically correct reasons. That is sad and disgusting,” said David Englert of Norfolk. “Someone should be fired or resign over the decision not to report this attack. It is a sad enough commentary on our society and community to read about how the responding police viewed this crime, but for our only newspaper to decide that they will hide from the truth rather than report the truth is PATHETIC! Any attack by a mob of people on any innocent victim should be put under a bright spotlight for all involved to be judged and exposed as appropriate, and to make sure that the criminal justice system does its job to protect those who obey the law.”
William Tabor of Chesapeake, Va., complained: “Surely the Pilot knew about it. A racially motivated attack is certainly news. Was it not politically correct enough to be reported? Is civilization suspended in Norfolk after dark? If we can’t rely on the police for protection, and our [news] media fails to warn us of such hazards, we can only rely on ourselves.”
Charles Chandler of Norfolk indicated: “I am not sure what I am angrier about. This story, or the crowd of black teens who needlessly and thoughtlessly beat two white victims. Or am I just angry that this still occurs in the year 2012. Nearly fifty years after the marches and the speeches and the declaration of civil liberties for all people. Clearly we are nowhere near the dream Dr. King envisioned. I am angry. I am angry at the calloused cop who stated ‘this is what they do.’ I am angry at the Pilot for hiding it under a bushel.”