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Nowhere near Ferguson, MO: "Rosie," the Riviting Non-eyewitness

Immediately after police officer Wilson shot Brown, a number of eyewitnesses told a number of news and other sources what they’d seen.  Those accounts were aired within fifteen minutes of the shooting.  Some eyewitnesses knew Brown, some did not; none of the eyewitnesses knew each other.  These contemporaneous accounts differ here and there but basically tell the same story.  In the end, they may be inaccurate (re the shaky history of eyewitness identification), but at least these accounts come from persons who were at the scene.

                                   [More under the golden monogram.]

After almost a week, “Rosie” enters the picture. Turns out “Rosie,” “an apparent friend of Wilson’s,” was not present at the shooting.  But she speaks as if she were, sliding easily into a seemingly fact-based narrative.  Brooke Baldwin, Wolfe Blitzer, and other CNNers pick up “Rosie’s” report and refer to it as an eyewitness account supporting Wilson’s story.  Then CNN flicks on the CNN Kyron, which boldly and mindlessly announces that “this eyewitness account” closely agrees with Wilson’s.  Well duh: “Rosie’s” account IS Wilson’s account (not that I’ve yet to see his official report); he’s the source of her narrative!  "Rosie" is totally irrelevant here because she is totally irrelevant there: she was nowhere near the shooting.  But bam, C!N!N! has “the other side of the story,” hiding the fact that “the other side” comes directly from Wilson, the shooter himself.

Today (8/21/14) on Baldwin’s show—during which she again characterizes Josie as an on-the-spot witness—Anderson Cooper stops her cold and points out how derivative Josie’s report is, straight from the shooter himself, a fact that should be so noted.  Baldwin dismisses this distinction without a difference, then plows on about other “pro Wilson eyewitness accounts,” all of which come from the shooter’s family/friends, reported very late, and based solely on the shooter’s account.

Who knows how all this will turn out, though I have my suspicions (1997 Iowa City cop kills noted sculptor, then walks. http://www.nytimes.com/...).  But one thing is clear: we need to keep a very close eye on the sources of our information and call out those who create facts out of nothing, whatever their motives.

Fri Aug 22, 2014 at  9:24 PM PT: BREAKING NEWS!!! (yeah, right).  Tonight on NBC Nightly News, Lester Holt took a big swig of CNN's Eyewitness Koolaid.  During his broadcast, Holt refers to an eyewitness whose story supports Wilson's and contradicts all other eyewitness stories.  Alas and once again, Holt's "eyewitness" turns out to be, you guessed it, "Rosie," Wilson's ubiquitous water carrier.  If folks in the news business would start calling her "Rosie, the non-eyewitness," maybe her story from Wilson finally will be called out for what it is: an unofficial version of the killing of Mike Brown straight from the shooter himself.

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