Thu
Nov 16 2006
02:43 am

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.

130
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cafkia's picture

This or, That?

Oddly enough, I haven't perused the MP issue in question.  You on the other hand, claim at various times that it is an editorial that raises your ire then, you accuse it of being sloppy reporting.  Those two things are not the same.  The words are not interchangeable.  While the editorial may have been slanted a little differently had more facts been known, given what they apparently did not know, for instance, what was in the footage not shown, it probably isn't unreasonable.

I would support the idea of an additional few column lines online or in the next issue if the additional information changes the writers viewpoint(or not).

CAFKIA

own and experienced with hand guns, rifles, shotguns, (variety of calibers and guages) multiple knives (including switchblades, butterfly, hawk billed, machete, boot, etc) and an assortment of Asian martial arts weaponry so, forget attacking me on that score. 

----------------------------------------------------------- 

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

Number9's picture

Oddly enough, I haven't

Oddly enough, I haven't perused the MP issue in question. You on the other hand, claim at various times that it is an editorial that raises your ire then, you accuse it of being sloppy reporting. Those two things are not the same. The words are not interchangeable. While the editorial may have been slanted a little differently had more facts been known, given what they apparently did not know, for instance, what was in the footage not shown, it probably isn't unreasonable.

I would support the idea of an additional few column lines online or in the next issue if the additional information changes the writers viewpoint(or not).

CAFKIA

You have got to be kidding me. Are you defending that editorial? Reporting can be done in an editorial and it is not uncommon.

Please tell me what your understanding of this passage is, "First he put himself at risk by drawing his weapon when he says he saw a gun come out of the young man’s pocket. Then, lured by the prospect of enhancing his moment of fame and creating what he must have thought would be positive attention, he points his gun at a TV camera, manned by a journalist who should have ordered him to put that gun down."

That passage gives the impression that the gun was loaded when it was pointed at the camera.

There are blatant errors in the editorial. There are possibly libelous comments in the editorial like for example, "In the process, he has shown himself to be a danger to himself and others."

Should there be a correction and retraction Cafkia? I am curious since you write for the Metro Pulse.

cafkia's picture

no change

I had not read the editorial in question when I wrote that comment (I mentioned that) and still haven't.  My comment was based on what you wrote in your post.  However, I agree with Betty Bean that the mere fact that it is an editorial doesn't mean that the facts are irrelevant or pliable.  It does mean that it is the writer's opinion and should be taken as such.

Perhaps upon reflection they might have considered changing the camera angle so as to not have the weapon pointing in the general direction of the camera/camera operator.  In any case safety rules were severely bent if not broken.  Still, if in fact there are factual errors and apparent charactor assasination, assuming the 'Pulse doesn't have access to sources and information that justifies what they wrote, then a correction, retraction, or clarification would certainly not be out of line.

To  be honest, until I have read/reviewed all the associated materials (and I probably will not) all I can make are these non-committal statements which I make as a regular citizen with some weapons familiarity and the ability to read.  If you need a professional journalist's opinion, you should look to Ms Bean.

CAFKIA

----------------------------------------------------------- 

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

Number9's picture

Perhaps upon reflection they

Perhaps upon reflection they might have considered changing the camera angle so as to not have the weapon pointing in the general direction of the camera/camera operator. In any case safety rules were severely bent if not broken. Still, if in fact there are factual errors and apparent charactor assasination, assuming the 'Pulse doesn't have access to sources and information that justifies what they wrote, then a correction, retraction, or clarification would certainly not be out of line.

To be honest, until I have read/reviewed all the associated materials (and I probably will not) all I can make are these non-committal statements which I make as a regular citizen with some weapons familiarity and the ability to read. If you need a professional journalist's opinion, you should look to Ms Bean.

You have got to be kidding me. Tony Snow doesn't "rope-a-dope" as much as you just did.

What do you expect people to think when you write "until I have read/reviewed all the associated materials (and I probably will not)"?

You have weapons training and I am sure you have seen training tapes that look just like the demonstration done by Commissioner Lambert. Please explain to me what safety rules were broken by using an unloaded unchambered gun. If your logic were true it would be impossible to train people to use firearms.

In my memory I have never seen you dodge a question the way you just did.

cafkia's picture

Its worse than you think

For me to avoid doing what you accuse the editorial writer of doing, forming an opinion with out all the facts, I would have to have all the facts.  That means I would have to interview the editorial writer, the editorial board, a certified(and objective) firearms instructor and, Lumpy.  I would have to review all of the footage the news crew shot and view what was actually broadcast.  And, of course, I would have to read the editiorial.  That seems like an awful lot of work I would have to do so as to be able to comment to your satisfaction on this blog.  Lets give it a low probability, I simply do not believe that this issue is important enough to warrant that level of effort on my part.

All of my formal firearms training has been range work wherein we never pointed the things at each other (since to do so would likely get you shot.).  Most of my weapons training that involved facing another person was within the framework of martial arts training. (Ok, a lot of it was just me and my buddies playing with guns and knives and sticks and stuff but out where we couldn't hurt anyone.)

Tony Snow bullshits about the lies that cause deaths.  He bullshits about the overt corruption and perversion of the Constitution that this (mis)administration insists on doing.  He bullshits about the steady decline in the revelance of our nation on the world stage due to the antics of the Chimperor.

Yea, I'm just like him.

CAFKIA 

----------------------------------------------------------- 

It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.
  - William G. McAdoo

CL's picture

I was livid after reading

I was livid after reading that editorial in the Metro Pulse last night.

First, there was this.

"Though the car lot is in the city of Knoxville, Lambert says he called for sheriff’s deputies because he wanted “my own people” to respond.

Let’s get this down straight for Commissioner Lambert. Just because he is a county commissioner does not mean that sheriff’s officers are Lambert’s “own people.” He does not own or control the sheriff’s office. Nor should he expect special favors from that office. Besides the arrogance of the position he took on who should perform the investigation, Lambert’s explanation shows unwarranted contempt for the Knoxville Police Department."

Now, I checked kgis.org last night and, if his car lot is still beside the airplane building, it ISN'T in the City of Knoxville. It's about 500 to 1,000 ft outside the city limits.

Second, there's this whole he's a danger to Ragsdale and his people statement.

"Advice to Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and members of his administration, toward whom Lambert has shown animosity: Steer clear of Lumpy Lambert unless you have armed security handy and have plenty of witnesses around."

Give me a break.

CBT's picture

Slightly off topic, but the

Slightly off topic, but the MP made a statement about me in it's editorial a few weeks back which was plainly false (based on reading any number of published news stories). They made this statement without ever speaking to me. I called and left a voice message for "editor" Leslie Wylie. I did not receive a return call.

The editorial page of the MP is terrible. This week's is just another example. Surely State Senator Tim Burchett will be the subject of next week's ramblings. MP wouldn't just single out Lumpy, now would they?

Bbeanster's picture

Writing on the opinion page

Writing on the opinion page doesn't relieve the author of the duty to have some regard for fact. The perp had been jailed and the police reports were available long before the Metro Pulse deadline, and there wasn't any evidence beyond the writer's own biases to support the contention that Lumpy is dangerous. There certainly isn't any evidence that the writer did any research.
I've been the recipient of thunderous bellyaching on the part of the Metro Pulse publisher when he contended that I'd written something in my column of opinion that he thought was inaccurate.
I suspect that if Lumpy's office were on Market Square and if he were a regular drinking buddy of the MP staffers, this editorial would have had a different slant. Hell, then he could have sold the perp a bag of pot and come out a hero!
I just can't see Lumpy in a ponytail, though.

Anonymous's picture

The fact that the weapon may

The fact that the weapon may have been unloaded actually doesn't change things that much. According to the NRA's own saftey rules, you don't point a weapon at yourself or anyone else if you don't intend to shoot. Period. Unloading it before you show it off is also a great safety precaution, but that doesn't mean you can skip the first rule. There are far too many instances of people accidentally shot with "unloaded" guns. Lumpy's bravado simply got the better of him, and he failed to follow proper saftey procedures.

Tiny Tim's picture

Lumpy Is In the Bull Ring Now, He Didn't Get The Investigation

I'm a lumpy fan, he brings a common sense approach to local gubmint.

However, he paraded around as if the investigation of Tyler Harber was a done deal and he had to back off. He's scrambled out of the county commission meeting (there are only 12 a year, so they have to maximize what they are doing) and said he was going to deliver Tyler Harber to a county commission meeting. Well Christmas is coming and we are not aware of any subpoenas being served or writs being returned for an appearance of young Harber.

As such Lumpster, if he can't deliver, is going to be routinely fluffed and pummeled by the local media as a cause celebret' such that nobody is going to take him seriously until he begins to take his job seriously as a county commissioner.

No grandstanding.

rikki's picture

That is an opportunistic

That is an opportunistic editorial. The robber didn't steal anything from Lumpy, but MP did, like a gull steals from an osprey. The editorial is clearly a reaction to Lumpy's efforts to investigate Tyler Harber's county employment and not to him successfully defusing a dangerous situation and expressing mercy for the man who pulled a gun on him.

Stacey's picture

Lumpy and MP

I like Lumpy, he was more entitled to pull a gun than Burchett I think. For the most part I like Market Square and the MP's reporting and even the pariahs the Wests( I wrote Scott in for state senator 7th dist), but I have DISDAIN for the MP's Market Square elitism that has seeped through their writing for around a decade. Stacey

RedDog's picture

Care less

Come on people - it was a posed picture for sensationalism. That's all. Have you ever watched a violent movie?

Anonymous's picture

Come on people - it was a

Come on people - it was a posed picture for sensationalism."

The truth shall set you on fire. No thats not right? Anyway, consider the way WBIR and WVLT reported the story and then look at the style of 6. They are the hard news station and they do move the meter toward red to get you to watch.

As for the pulse, they missed way too many facts to be believed. Often they pander to everyone and miss the mark. This time they tried to couch the young man with the .25 as a misunderstood youth facing a big gunman. Check his personal profile out and you will see Lumpy was across from a troubled dude. The kid should thank the Lumpster that he is still above ground.

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