The Virginian-Pilot ran the story today. Editorial writer Michelle Washington's column included this:
Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim.
The victim's friend, a young woman, tried to pull him back into his car. Attackers came after her, pulling her hair, punching her head and causing a bloody scratch to the surface of her eye. She called 911. A recording told her all lines were busy. She called again. Busy. On her third try, she got through and, hysterical, could scream only their location.Washington noted that neither reporter was seriously injured. She noted, almost in passing, that the story had been ignored by her own paper for half a month:
Two weeks have passed since reporters Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami - friends to me and many others at the newspaper - were attacked on a Saturday night as they drove home from a show at the Attucks Theatre. They had stopped at a red light, in a crowd of at least 100 young people walking on the sidewalk. Rostami locked her car door. Someone threw a rock at her window. Forster got out to confront the rock-thrower, and that's when the beating began.Washington went on to give some details about the encounter that Forster and Rostami had with the police after the attack, and noted the frustration that local police have in dealing with such savagery.
Then, however, Washington veered back to the two-week delay in acknowledging the attack on two of its own. What she wrote sounds, at first, reasonable, but in fact it amounts to a lame avoidance of fully accepting journalistic responsibility:
Here's why their story is in the paper today. We cannot allow such callousness to continue unremarked, from the irrational, senseless teenagers who attacked two people just trying to go home, from the police officer whose conduct may have been typical but certainly seems cold, from the tweeting nitwits who think beating a man in Norfolk will change the death of Trayvon Martin. How can we change it if we don't know about it? How can we make it better if we look away? Are we really no better than this?
While all of those are certainly factors, Washington neglected to mention another factor: She and her fellow writers and editors at The Virginian-Pilot are a bunch of gutless politically correct cowards. To their credit, they did finally publish the story, but only after it became clear to them that they could not keep it hidden forever. But the vast majority of other mainstream media outlets are in the habit of avoiding and ignoring stories like this one because it does not fit their politically correct agenda or paradigm.
As Washington herself asked, "How can we change it if we don't know about it? How can we make it better if we look away? Are we really no better than this?" While Washington deserves some small credit for even asking the question, the rest of the media is, sadly, no better than that.
Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of this whole story is the omission of any direct quotes from either Forster or Rostami. Both are capable writers and reporters. It is odd that they, rather than Washington, did not write about the attack.