How to Avoid Reporting That a University Is Lying About Police Violence

By David Swanson, World BEYOND War, May 16, 2024

I’m old enough to remember a video of a New York Times reporter who let slip that she’d been instructed never to say the president of the United States had lied, even if he (George W. Bush) was just blatantly lying. Not that she objected to the policy. It made perfect sense to her. Now I can’t find that video because the internet is so weighted down with accounts of Trump and Biden lying.

But I was quite pleasantly surprised when the only local daily here in Charlottesville, the Daily Progress, printed a straightforward report on the president of the University of Virginia recently lying about police violence against students protesting genocide. I was less excited about the following chart from the local weekly, the Cville Weekly.


But three of the eight disagreements are actually between what “UVA” said and the evidence on video recordings. Two are disagreements between what “UVA” said and the evidence of every eyewitness, photograph, and video in existence.

The headings should have been “UVA SAID” and “EVIDENCE SHOWS.”

Of the remaining three items in the list, one involves “UVA” claiming that students didn’t want to talk. This is supposedly in contrast to a students’ claim that there was no point in talking when no substantive actions result. And yet, in one of the other two items we see the documentable claim that students attempted multiple times to contact those in charge of UVA throughout the morning and afternoon of May 4.

This information is provided opposite the central absurdity at the top of the “UVA SAID” column, namely: “The decision to end the encampment was made for the safety of the community.” Nothing has ever been found or shown or even alleged that endangered the safety of the community. Many of us in the community feel less safe knowing that armed thugs can attack nonviolent protesters, tell nonsensical lies about it, and achieve this sort of he-said/she-said “news” reporting.

The final item in the list is about the tents and whether UVA had a policy against them. It did. But there was an exception. But it changed the rules at the last minute to undo the exception. But students knew they were being threatened because they had tents and chose to keep the tents. But faculty didn’t just mention that other students had other tents in another part of campus who weren’t protesting genocide, and nobody cared about those tents — this was also TRUE. You can look at photos of the tents on that day. And why the hell are “public servants” attacking and arresting students for having TENTS? The claim, not mentioned here, has been that having tents might make it harder to attack the students.

But you can’t just attack people because they have something that might make it harder to attack them!

That would be like producing horrible journalism because a trend toward truth-telling might make it harder to produce horrible journalism.

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