This past week, liberal outlets like Salon.com and MSNBC.com demonstrated just how opposed they are to balanced reporting that includes diverse points of view as they tried to make their readers believe FNC host Megyn Kelly had taken the side of police officer Eric Casebolt in response to video of him roughly handling a 14-year-old African-American girl in McKinney, Texas.
After The Kelly File began its Monday show with two segments -- the first featuring a local resident as a guest who defended police actions at the pool party and the second segment featuring two guests who both condemned the officer's behavior -- Salon.com's Scott Kaufman harped on a short quote from Kelly in which she brought up the perspective that the girl was partially culpable because she had refused police orders to leave.
After displaying the headline "Megyn Kelly: McKinney Teen Wrestled to the Ground by Cop 'Was No Saint Either,'" the very first sentence of the Salon article falsely claimed that Kelly "spent almost half the program trying to justify the decisions made by the police," even though the FNC host repeatedly commented disapprovingly on how bad the officer's handling of the girl looked.
Kelly even explicitly asserted that "I'm not defending his actions. Let me make that clear," right after the edited quote used by Salon, words which writer Kaufman conveniently chopped off in his write-up. Kelly had repeatedly used such language as "shocking piece of videotape," "brutal to watch," and "hard to watch," before recounting: "And it is brutal. I mean, Richard (Fowler), it was the head of the NAACP came out and said he treated her like chattel."
The Salon writer concluded by asserting that the FNC host "leapt to Corporal Casebolt's defense, saying that Becton 'was no saint either,'" without noting any of Kelly's more disapproving words.
After Kelly called out Salon on Wednesday's show and demonstrated the selective quoting employed in the article, Kaufman published a second article whining that the FNC host had "slimed" and "declared war" on him as he tried to rationalize his behavior by misleadingly claiming that the first article had included embedded video of the entire segment, as if readers would automatically take the time to watch such a long video and discover that the overall message of the article was bogus.
But, in reality, his claim about including the entire video was not accurate as the original article only embedded the first 14 minutes 38 seconds of the FNC show -- which does not even include Kelly's "no saint" comment highlighted in the article title -- requiring readers to click on a link to get to the last five minutes which contain the central quote in question.
For its part, MSNBC.com posted a 45-second video from the segment and highlighted the "girl was no saint either" quote in the headline. The clip does at least include the FNC host's declaration that "I'm not defending his actions," but her previous words of discomfort over the girl's treatment were not included.
Below is a transcript which includes all of Megyn Kelly's comments about the McKinney, Texas, controversy from the Monday, June 8, The Kelly File on FNC:
MEGYN KELLY: Breaking tonight, angry protesters hitting the streets over what they call the latest incident of racist policing in America. But the folks in the middle of this mess say the video today seen by millions only tells part of the story.
Welcome to The Kelly File, everyone. I'm Megyn Kelly. The Black Lives Matter protest group has tonight organized what they call a march for justice in McKinney, Texas, just getting under way there. It started with a Friday evening party in McKinney that quickly went bad. Residents say a rowdy group of teens first started trespassing, then began harassing the neighbors. Then the confrontation turned really ugly, with alleged racial slurs, fights and one police officer caught on camera, now being held up as the latest in a media narrative about cops out of control Here are parts of the video.
That video is hard to watch. Trace Gallagher live in our West Coast news room with a report. Trace?
[FNC correspondent Trace Gallagher relays accounts by residents of why the police were called and notes that some of the girls refused to leave when ordered to by the police officer. The girl who was seen being pushed to the ground was shown in a soundbite complaining about the police action against her.]
KELLY: Trace, thank you. Well, now some locals who were there on Friday evening are speaking out, saying this video doesn't tell the whole story. As some cable news broadcasts looped it almost nonstop today with questions about whether this is just the latest in a pattern of police misconduct. Here's just once example.
[CLIP OF NAACP PRESIDENT CORNELL BROOKS ON CNN]
Earlier tonight, I spoke with Sean, a resident of Craig Ranch who was at the pool with his wife and his two young children, including a seven-year-old as well as another friend from the neighborhood when the chaos started.
So how did you know things were out of hand? I mean, what made you call the cops?
[Sean recalls the playing of music inappropriate for children who were present, residents being called racists by party goers, and the security guard having trouble keeping people from climbing over the fence to enter the party.]
So the residents were called racists for pushing back on the kids who were jumping the fence. Did you hear any of the residents use any racist terms? [SEAN]
Well, there was an allegation that somebody there, that a security guard there had said to those jumping the fence, something like, "Go back to public housing." [SEAN]
When did it escalate to violence? [SEAN]
What was it that scared your son? [SEAN]
The real pushback has been on this one police officer, this Corporal Eric Casebolt who's a 10-year veteran of the force for, in particular, taking down this 14-year-old girl, African-American girl, taking her down and putting a knee in her back in what is a shocking piece of videotape. In addition to the way he handled the other teenagers who were running around. People are saying he's a racist, explicitly saying he is a racist. Others saying he used excessive force, he was too aggressive and he mishandled the situation. What say you?
[SEAN defends Officer Casebolt, arguing that he did what he had to do to respond to the chaos.]
Let me ask you about that because one of the allegations is he only went after the black kids. Was it just the one white person who you saw him place in cuffs? Or did you see him go after anybody else who was white? [SEAN]
Did you see any white people running away? Did he chase any whites other than -- or was it all blacks? [SEAN]
What about the 14-year-old girl? Because, you know, you see that tape, and it is brutal to watch. How can you, you know, justify it? Because people will be at home saying, "How is he defending that?" [SEAN]
This is a seven-minute videotape. How long did the incident last? [SEAN]
Describe the scene that that officer walked into because, you know, we see it, and kids are running, and he starts running, and he seems pretty amped up. [SEAN]
Were there any physical altercations other than the one that we saw between him and the 14-year-old girl? [SEAN]
Security officers? Were they security guards? The women? The older women? [SEAN]
And was that before or after the police arrived? [SEAN]
Okay, was it one of the reason-? [SEAN]
What do you make -- what is the status of the area now? Because we've spoken with some residents who say they're scared, anybody who defends the cops. One guy says he's had death threats and he's had armed security posted outside of his house. What has your experience been? [SEAN]
And what about you, Sean? I know you didn't want to give your last name. Are you scared? I mean, are you concerned for your own safety? [SEAN]
Thank you for sharing your story with us. We appreciate it, Sean. [SEAN]
KELLY: So was the officer in this case justified? And why are some media outlets treating this case already like it's Ferguson or Baltimore? Mark Fuhrman and Richard Fowler are here next on where the focus on police may take us next.
KELLY: We are continuing to watch the protest march, the Black Lives Matter protest march down in McKinney, Texas, tonight where police are under fire tonight after video surfaced of one officer's response to an out of control party Friday night. In a tape that has now been seen by millions, a McKinney police officer can be seen drawing his weapon before tackling a 14-year-old girl and pinning her down. That officer is now suspended while an investigation unfolds.
Mark Fuhrman is a Fox News contributor and a former LAPD homicide detective. Richard Fowler is a nationally syndicated radio host.
Mark, let me ask you, because you've defended a lot of cops on this show when videotapes come out that don't necessarily look that good for them. What do you say about this guy?
[MARK FUHRMAN, FNC CONTRIBUTOR, complains about Officer Casebolt drawing his gun on two teenage boys as seen in the video]
KELLY: What about the takedown of the 14-year-old girl, Mark? Because that's the most brutal part of this. And you see him, you know, bending her limbs.
FUHRMAN: You know, I'm trying to figure out, why arrest anybody at that point? You have 130 people at the pool party. You have seven agitators that jumped in. You're focusing on control. But arrest of one person ties your hands and now you're completely useless to the rest of the crowd or the other officers. I don't even understand that. And he certainly did not have control of her. It looked kind of bad, the way he was attempting to get her on the ground.
KELLY: Uh-huh. And I'm sure he didn't know she was 14 at the time. Maybe he did. We can't assume it. But now we know and she looked like a young woman. And it is brutal. I mean, Richard, it was the head of the NAACP came out and said he treated her like chattel. And now people have made this into a race thing. Are we there yet? What is the evidence it is a race thing as opposed to excessive force thing?
[RICHARD FOWLER, RADIO HOST, says watching the video makes him "sick to my stomach" and starts to say that the officer's treatment of the girl would not be any better whether the neighborhood was a "hotbed of crime" or not.]
KELLY: And it isn't, according to the residents. It isn't (a hotbed of crime).
[FOWLER cites a poll finding whites trust the police more than blacks nationally as evidence of why black teens would be more likely to run from the police than white teens would.]
FOWLER: ...They think they're going to be the next Eric Garner or the next Michael Brown or the next Walter Scott. So we don't want to have anything to do with this. And you'll hear the girl in the video saying, "Call my mother, please. Call my mother." Because she understands what could easily happen to her.
KELLY: The girl was no saint either. He had told her to leave and she continued to linger.
FOWLER: That's true, Megyn.
KELLY: And, you know, when a cop tells you to leave, get out. I'm not defending his actions. Let me make that clear.
FOWLER: No, but if you look very clearly, the videos, there are also white guys, and there are some, you know, with some jeans and a khaki shirt.
KELLY: Just standing there and you didn't bother, I got it. Let me get Mark to weigh in on the point about how we've gone to the race place on this. [FUHRMAN]
We'll hear more. I mean, there's a guest on Hannity tonight, an African-American resident who says this is not about race and people are jumping to conclusions on this and they shouldn't. So you can stay tuned for that. Guys, thank you both.