Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh declared during his radio show on Friday that the “mainstream media” was unable to transform “gentle giant” black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson on August 9, into Rodney King -- the black man who became famous for a high-speed pursuit by the police and later asking “Can't we all get along?” 22 years ago -- because “alternative media,” including talk radio, has destroyed “the monopoly of the Drive-By Media.”
That claim was contradicted by Touré Neblett, a co-host of MSNBC's weekday The Cycle program, who charged in Sunday's edition of the Washington Post that black victims of crime become “thuggified” as negative incidents in their pasts are revealed to the public that diminish their standing in America’s “empathy gap.”
In a segment of his three-hour weekday program, Limbaugh said “the story of the alternative media” countered the press in its efforts to depict the 18-year-old African-American as a victim whom a white and racist police officer “executed” in cold blood while he was on his knees with his hands up and his back turned.
The difference between Brown's case and the race riots in Los Angeles that resulted from a video of Rodney King's treatment by the police in 1991 “is that there is an entire, very large media and otherwise apparatus that is aligned and empowered and in action, specifically aimed at denying the myth makers a free road, a free rein to write whatever story they want."
As a result, Limbaugh stated, the media "no longer get to dictate what is the news" and "no longer get to dictate what doesn't get reported or told."
He noted that the original story of “the gentle giant walking innocently down the street on the way to grandmother's house, eagerly thinking about the soon-to-commence college classes, shot in the back by a racist white St. Louis cop” is falling apart.
When the mainstream press tried to maintain the myth, surveillance video of Brown's strong-arm robbery was released, "and the gentle giant was no longer gentle,” Limbaugh stated.
The conservative icon further described the teenager's actions just before the shooting:
He was a thief. Forty-four-dollar box of Swisher Sweets, and furthermore, he was abusive to the clerk, shoving him away as the clerk attempted to keep him from walking out of the store with the stolen cigars.
Then we learn from an autopsy conducted by the myth makers that the gentle giant was not shot from behind. And then we learned that the gentle giant actually did reach into the car and may have attempted to get the cop's gun.
“And so. then a number of witnesses came forward, but many of them are beginning to lose credibility,” Limbaugh said.
As a result, he stated, "the myth is getting a little harder to hold onto because if there was ever any real media scrutiny involved, the myth could not survive."
"Leftists really don't know what to do when the media turns on 'em, even for the smallest things, even for the briefest of moments,” the conservative host stated. "They're not prepared to deal with people calling them on lies. They're not prepared. They haven't been toughened up."
Taking a different perspective, MSNBC's Touré Neblett declared on Sunday: “In an information war, the news media is deployed as a weapon, our collective mind becomes a battlefield, and biases are land mines waiting to explode."
The liberal anchor continued that “when there’s a black victim involved, the information takes a different and predictable turn: The victim becomes thuggified. This is an easy leap for many minds, given the widespread expectation of black criminality.”
Neblett asserted: “It’s as if a black person must be a perfect victim to escape being thuggified, an angel with an unblemished history in order to warrant justice.”
If you become nervous when you see a young black male approaching on the street, it is not hard to convince you that a kid who was shot was not one of the “good ones,” that he was scary, and maybe did something to deserve it.
Information wars thrive on America’s empathy gap -- the way some people struggle to see any kinship or shared humanity with strangers who don’t look like them.
Meanwhile, Limbaugh stated that new media outlets must always be alert and never underestimate the “myth makers” in the mainstream media who want the country to believe “white cops shoot innocent black kids all the time,” even though that's not the case.
“The myth makers have not given up by any stretch,” he added.