ABC, NBC Arrive on Chicago Torture Video; CBS Censors Race of Attackers

On Thursday, ABC and NBC aired their first reports on the beyond disturbing Facebook video of a racially-tinged attack by African American young adults on a mentally-disabled white man in Chicago. Good Morning America and Today, along with CBS This Morning, aired full reports on the heinous kidnapping and torture. All of the morning newscasts featured the "anti-Trump rhetoric," as Today put it, of the suspects. The CBS show stood out, however, for failing to explicitly mention the race of the assailants.

The previous evening, Wednesday's CBS Evening News was the sole Big Three evening newscast to cover the "horrifying attack." Substitute anchor Josh Elliott gave a 27-second news brief on the story. Hours later, anchor Norah O'Donnell introduced correspondent Dean Reynolds's report on CBS This Morning by noting how "Chicago police detained four people who might be involved in a disturbing assault that was live-streamed on Facebook." Reynolds wasted little time before pointing out that "during their alleged attack, they repeatedly shouted profanities not only at their victim, but also at President-Elect Donald Trump."

The CBS journalist disclosed that "the victim is mentally disabled, and had been missing from his suburban home for days. In the video, he is choked and repeatedly called the 'N' word; and his clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife." He included a clip of one of the attacker directing the "F" word at the President Elect, and that the victim's "alleged captors repeatedly referenced Donald Trump." Reynolds was more than halfway through his report before mentioning that "hate crime charges are possible."

On Good Morning America, ABC's Alex Perez underlined that "the video showing what appears to be a violent assault — a group of 18-year-old African-American teenagers holding hostage a white man — who authorities say suffers from mental health challenges — kicking and hitting the victim, who appears to be restrained, with duct tape covering his mouth." Like Reynolds, Perez reported that "at one point, his attackers even making a reference to the President-Elect." He included a video clip of one of the kidnappers forcing their captive to curse out Trump.

The ABC correspondent also followed his CBS counterpart's example in not mentioning the possible hate crime aspect to the attack until nearly the end of the segment: "Police now questioning the suspects and investigating whether the incident is a possible hate crime." Anchors George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts echoed the Chicago police superintendent's condemnation of the extended assault: "Boy, that officer said it: just sickening."

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Blake McCoy led his report on NBC's Today by highlighting that "a young, white man — that police say has special needs — bound, gagged, and beaten by a group of African-Americans — one attacker slashing his clothes and hair with a knife, while spouting anti-white, anti-Trump rhetoric." McCoy did mention that possible hate crime component to the crime, but cited that "despite the anti-white, anti-Trump rhetoric heard in the video, this morning, Chicago's police superintendent is stopping short of calling this a hate crime."

Later, the correspondent pointed out that "community activists condemne(d) the message" of the attackers. To her credit, substitute NBC anchor Katie Couric concluded the segment that the story was "a horrifying story about the intersection of violence and technology, right? And hate, I think."

The transcripts of Dean Reynolds's report from CBS This Morning; Alex Perez's report from ABC's Good Morning America; and Blake McCoy's report from NBC's Today — all of which aired on January 5, 2017:

01/05/2017
07:12 am EST
CBS This Morning

NORAH O'DONNELL: Chicago police detained four people who might be involved in a disturbing assault that was live-streamed on Facebook. We want to warn viewers that what you're about to see is tough to watch. Video show a man gagged, bound, and beaten by his attackers as he cowered in the corner of an apartment. Officers took the victim to a hospital, where he was treated and released.

Dean Reynolds is outside Chicago police headquarters with details of the alleged kidnapping. Dean, good morning.

DEAN REYNOLDS: Good morning. The Cook County state's attorney is expected to file charges against the two men and two women now in police custody. During their alleged attack, they repeatedly shouted profanities not only at their victim, but also at President-Elect Donald Trump.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (off-camera, from Facebook Live video): Make (expletive deleted) kiss the floor, bro! Kiss the floor!

REYNOLDS (voice-over): The assault was streamed live on Facebook for half an hour Tuesday afternoon. Police did not identify any of the people involved, but they believe the four in custody are the ones see in the video holding a man captive and beating him.  (clip of attack video from Facebook Live)

Investigators say the victim is mentally disabled, and had been missing from his suburban home for days. In the video, he is choked and repeatedly called the 'N' word; and his clothes are slashed and he is terrorized with a knife.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN (off-camera, from Facebook Live video): (expletive deleted) Donald Trump!

REYNOLDS: His alleged captors repeatedly referenced Donald Trump. They also laughed and mugged for the camera while reading viewers' comments. (clip of attack video from Facebook Live) The victim was eventually released. Officers later spotted him on the street appearing disoriented. He apparently knew one of his attackers. (clip of attack video from Facebook Live) A disturbance call from a neighbor led police to the four individuals arrested. Investigators say hate crime charges are possible.

EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: It's sickening. It's sickening. You know, it makes you wonder, what would make individuals treat somebody like that? You know, so I've been a cop for 28 years; but it still amazes me how you still see things that you just shouldn't.

REYNOLDS (on-camera): The video was taken down on Wednesday by Facebook, which says it has a team on call 24/7 to respond to inappropriate live broadcasts. A company spokesman told 'CBS This Morning,' 'We do not allow people to celebrate or glorify crimes on Facebook and have removed the original video for this reason.' Gayle?

KING: That was very despicable, and very tough to watch. Thank you very much, Dean.


01/05/2017
07:15 am EST
ABC — Good Morning America

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We got another shocking case. This one is out of Chicago, where a video streamed on Facebook Live shows a young man held captive and tortured — police now questioning four people in custody.

ABC's Alex Perez has the latest. We should warn all of you watching: this video is tough to see.

ALEX PEREZ (voice-over): This morning, four suspects in custody for their alleged involvement in this disturbing video, streamed via Facebook Live, for the world to see. (clip of attack video from Facebook Live) The video showing what appears to be a violent assault — a group of 18-year-old African-American teenagers holding hostage a white man — who authorities say suffers from mental health challenges — kicking and hitting the victim, who appears to be restrained, with duct tape covering his mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (off-camera, from Facebook Live video): (expletive deleted) white people!

PEREZ: At one point, his attackers even making a reference to the President-Elect.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2 (off-camera, from Facebook Live video): Say (expletive deleted) Donald Trump!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE VICTIM: (expletive deleted) Donald Trump!

PEREZ: According to police, the victim, who was reported missing from a Chicago suburb, was held between 24 to 48 hours, before being unbound and let go. That's when police spotted him disoriented — wandering the west side of Chicago.

CAPTAIN STEVEN SESSO, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: They saw that clearly, this individual was in distress, and he was in crisis.

PEREZ: Police have yet to release the names of the suspects or file charges, but describe the offenders as two men and two women — one of whom attended school with the victim.

EDDIE JOHNSON, SUPERINTENDENT, CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT: It's sickening. It's sickening. You know, it makes you wonder, what would make individuals treat somebody like that? You know, so I've been a cop for 28 years; but it still amazes me how you still see things that you just shouldn't.

PEREZ: Police now questioning the suspects and investigating whether the incident is a possible hate crime.

JOHNSON: If the facts guide us to that — in that direction, then we'll certainly charge them appropriately.

PEREZ (on-camera): And authorities say the victim was treated at the hospital and released to his family. George?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Okay, Alex. Boy, that officer said it: just sickening.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Sickening, indeed.


01/05/2017
07:17 am EST
NBC — Today

KATIE COURIC: And now to a really disturbing story out of Chicago: a young man kidnapped and tortured — his entire ordeal streamed on Facebook Live. And this morning, it has led to the arrests of four teenagers.

NBC's Blake McCoy has more on this story. Blake, good morning.

BLAKE MCCOY: Katie, good morning to you. Not only was the torture of this vulnerable teenager posted live to Facebook for the world to see; but this morning, we're also learning from police that the alleged attackers were texting the victim's parents during the attack.

MCCOY (voice-over): The video is difficult to watch — some of it too graphic to show. A young, white man — that police say has special needs — bound, gagged, and beaten by a group of African-Americans — one attacker slashing his clothes and hair with a knife, while spouting anti-white, anti-Trump rhetoric.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1 (off-camera, from Facebook Live video): (expletive deleted), boy. (expletive deleted) Donald Trump! (expletive deleted) white people, boy.

EDDIE JOHNSON, CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: It's sickening. It's sickening. You know, it makes you wonder, what would make individuals treat somebody like that?

MCCOY: Investigators say patrol officers found the 18-year-old disoriented, wandering the streets of a west Chicago neighborhood Tuesday afternoon; and were quickly alerted to a nearby home, where the attack is believed to have occurred. Two men and two women, also 18 years old, have been arrested, but not charged. According to authorities, the victim went to school with one of the attackers, and may have gone with them willingly.

KEVIN DUFFIN, CHICAGO POLICE COMMANDER: He is an acquaintance of one of the suspects. And apparently, they met out in the suburbs. These subjects then stole a van out in the suburbs, and brought him into Chicago.

MCCOY: Despite the anti-white, anti-Trump rhetoric heard in the video, this morning, Chicago's police superintendent is stopping short of calling this a hate crime.

JOHNSON: I think some of it is just stupidity — you know, people just ranting about something that they think might make a headline.

MCCOY: While community activists condemn the message.

ANDREW HOLMES, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: No matter what race, creed, or color you are, we're all human. Nobody needs to go through this.

MCCOY (on-camera): Two other videos have surfaced overnight with even more disturbing images. Police expect those four individuals to be charged today. Meantime, that victim has been reunited with his parents, and is said to be quite traumatized this morning. Matt, Katie, and Al?

COURIC: Understandably. Boy, a horrifying story about the intersection of violence and technology, right? And hate, I think.

MATT LAUER: Blake, thank you very much.

CyberAlerts Crime Bias by Omission Trump transition Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats Race Issues Racism ABC Good Morning America CBS CBS This Morning NBC Today Video Chicago Katie Couric Dean Reynolds Alex Perez George Stephanopoulos Robin Roberts Donald Trump
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