Lawrence O'Donnell shredded a lazy, prosecutor-driven New York Times account of 'conflicting witness statements' in the Michael Brown case.
August 21, 2014

One of the things you know whenever there's a high profile case: Prosecutors will leak whatever they can to reporters in order to shift public perception onto their side. Reporters who are not lazy know this, and don't just report the leak without either countering it or verifying it.

Yet, that's exactly what New York Times reporters Frances Robles and Michael S. Schmidt did in their report about "conflicting witness reports" in Ferguson. Unfortunately for them, Lawrence O'Donnell shredded them on national television for being lazy and writing a story where the prosecutors' leaks were featured with little skepticism.

In a nutshell:

1) They ignored the witness with the strongest account of the killing: Piaget Crenshaw, who gave her account to Lawrence last week.

2) They let the prosecutors roll over them with this:

Mr. Brady said he could see Mr. Johnson at the front passenger side of the car when he and Mr. Brown suddenly started running. Mr. Brady did not hear a gunshot or know what caused them to run. But he said he did see a police officer get out of the patrol car and start walking briskly while firing on Mr. Brown as he fled.

What happened next could be what the case turns on.

Several witnesses have told investigators that Mr. Brown stopped and turned around with his arms up.

The first paragraph is a crime. Shooting a fleeing suspect is a crime, but the reporters were successfully distracted by the prosecutors' leaker to actually write the following sentence that suggests the events after he shot Brown while running would be the key to the case. We see what they did there.

3) Even though they claim the witnesses are contradicting one another, they offer no contradictions, save one: the policeman's hearsay account as related by a "friend" who called into talk radio to share it.

I expect this level of laziness from Breitbart News or Fox News. But the New York Times?

Props to Lawrence for shredding it.

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