Some of the media in Knoxville has lost it. While people in Knox and surrounding counties have become accustomed to the biased, slanted, and sensational reporting that can occur around here, this week a local Television station and an alt weekly newspaper out did themselves. This is wrong on so many levels it takes a little time to lay out. Some of the more idiotic parts, some second amendment issues and common sense, will warrant another post.
A sensational story from WATE Television news and a rush to judgment with a completely erroneous and slanted editorial in this weeks Metro Pulse has brought a new level of shame to Knoxville media, if that is possible.
Here is what happened. WATE asked Knox County Commissioner Greg "Lumpy" Lambert to demonstrate what happened when 19 year old Kane Stackhouse tried to rob him at gunpoint last Saturday afternoon. What WATE showed on Television shocked many people as it appeared that Commissioner Lambert drew a loaded handgun and pointed it at a WATE cameraman. WATE had nothing in the news report that suggested otherwise.
But that is not what happened.
Even though that is exactly what a scathing editorial from the Metro Pulse conveyed. The unsigned editorial starts off plainly enough stating that Lambert “has shown himself to be a danger to himself and others.”
Why would the editorial staff of the Metro Pulse write that?
Because the news report from WATE completely faked them out that’s why.
Even though Lumpy Lambert had a post on KnoxViews that explained that he had cleared the chamber and removed the magazine from the handgun, a Kel-Tec .380, and that he had carefully explained how to make sure a handgun was unloaded; WATE never showed that on air.
The response in the Metro pulse Editorial? This quote, “But in the midst of the ensuing excitement, Lambert did the unconscionable. He pointed his pistol directly at a TV camera recording his description of the event. A firearms instructor’s take on Lambert’s gesture, done for the dramatic media effect, was that it was the height of irresponsibility for a supposedly trained and permitted firearms user. Pointing a gun at something you don’t intend to fire on is the ultimate no-no.”
It is such unprofessional journalism that it may not meet the standard for libel. One would think a simple phone call would be required to confirm such dramatic writing. It is a shame there is not another comparison to illustrate how sloppy this reporting was.
But there is. On Wednesday Tennessee State Senator Tim Burchett held three juveniles and one adult at gunpoint at his motorcycle warehouse until Knox County deputies took them into custody. It is not reported if any of the four suspects were armed. But according to an error riddled special report on, “Laws for protecting yourself with a gun” by Kristin Farley of WATE, Senator Burchett had no right to draw a handgun unless the one of the four suspects drew one first.
Requests from both myself and Say Uncle to correct the errors in the Kristin Farley piece have gone unanswered. Which is a shame because there is obviously some confusion by not just the media but also private citizens. It sure would be nice to get this cleared up. Confused people can make mistakes.
So at what point does possibly libelous, biased, inaccurate, slanted, and sensational reporting become a problem? I guess that might be academic because it seems we passed that point quite some time ago.
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