Lessons from the Ebony 4 Debacle: The End of Plausible Deniability for "Journalists" Who Cover Genarlow Wilson
It took five years, countless posts, and constant vigilance from What About Our Daughters readers, but finally a miracle happened, someone from a "mainstream" publication wrote about Genarlow Wilson and asked "What About the Victims?"
A writer for the Poynter Institute, a school that "exists to ensure that our communities have access to excellent journalism" wrote an analysis of Ebony.com's Genarlow Wilson Notorious to Glorious Debacle. The Ebony 4 (Kierna Mayo, Genese Cage, Jamilah-Asali I. Lemieux, and Geneva S. Thomas) will live on in history for their EPIC failure to fact-check, but they will go down as the iceberg which finally sank the Myth of Genarlow Wilson. Did you hear that? That's the sound of a hole being torn into the Genarlow Wilson Ship of LIES!
Poynter just published What Ebony story can teach journalists about covering sexual assault. The author did something that in an ordinary world would be routine, but for the Black Elite Establishment unthinkable- she asked a victim's rights expert to comment on the Genarlow Wilson case and the media coverage. Tracie Powell spoke with Wendy Murphy, a leading victim's rights advocate who runs the Judicial Language Project. You have to go read the entire thing, but here is the damning portion:
In both the long-form story and the Ebony update, Thomas Whitfield states that a 15-year-old victim willingly “performed oral sex” on Wilson and several other males at a New Year’s Eve party. Besides the fact that legally, in Georgia, a 15-year-old cannot consent to oral or any other kind of sex, the term, “performed oral sex” not only eroticizes a crime but it also eliminates the subject of the story, in this case Wilson, from the report, Murphy said.
“When you write about her being a receiver of past harm and he, as the subject, isn’t even in the sentence, it’s almost like he takes no role, no responsibility morally, legally or otherwise because he’s just not present in that style of writing,” she added. “That’s completely separate from what I saw to be the overarching concern of Ebony referring to him as glorious.”
“Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this was the only bad thing [Wilson’s] ever done in his life and he’s behaved perfectly ever sense. It’s still a part of who he is and part of his story because he was prosecuted in a public forum for committing a serious public offense,” Murphy continued. “And, is it ever appropriate to call a guy with that kind of background glorious? Reasonable people think he’s a nice guy but you’re telling a story about him because of where he’s been and what he’s done … If you call him glorious, maybe you’re not celebrating him for what he’s done but you’re clearly not condemning it.” Poynter.org
Mere contact with the criminal justice system does not automatically confer nobility-nor is every Black criminal that gets caught a political prisoner. Incarceration does not equal purification and does not require glorification.