Thursday, February 07, 2013

Greensboro media stricken with mass amnesia, blunderfest ensues

[Editor's note: The word "report" is used in this post. It is not always intended to mean researching, investigating and conveying facts or anything like the traditional meaning of the word "report." In some instances, it is used to describe a charade, the way one would describe children in pirate costumes as "sword fighting" at Halloween. They think that's what they are doing, it sort of looks like that's what they are doing, but that's not what they are doing. You know, "reporting."]

GREENSBORO, NC -- I can't stop laughing.

Apparently kicked off by a report in the News & Record, Greensboro's media jumped all over the newly-released transcripts of a recording of former city manager Mitchel Johnson firing former police chief David Wray in 2006.

One minor detail though: The transcripts were released six years ago.

Under the original headline "Transcript in Greensboro police scandal now public," (since changed), the News & Record reported (emphasis added):
"It was a meeting that had ripple effects across city government.

"It led to a police chief resigning, a city manager being fired and several new politicians being elected into office.

"And now, the details of that closed-door meeting are open for public review."
WGHP rushed in to report (emphasis added):
"Seventeen pages of newly-released transcripts read like a never-ending saga"
Cut to City Council representative Zack Matheny:
"It's finally, at this point, seven years later, coming out to what actually happened."
Cut to City Council representative Marikay Abuzuaiter:
"Once I review the information am I going to change any personal feelings I may have had in the past? That's going to be huge for me, that's going to be a huge informational overload that I am going to have to filter through."
Not to be left out, WFMY jumped on the goofwagon and reported:
"A transcript of that 'private' conversation is now public."
WFMY's accompanying video has been removed without comment is back online. In it, a reporter describes the transcripts as "new revelations."

Then, just when everyone was having so much fun, along comes Ben Holder to spoil the blunderfest by reminding us that this "new" information was released six years ago. He posts video of the City Council approving release of the information on September 17, 2007 and of WXII reporting on it two days later:

WFMY report of the release in 2007 too:

Council Releases Audio Conversation Between Johnson and Wray
WFMY News 2
Sep 19, 2007

Most sad though is that the progenitor of this week's mass amnesia, the News & Record, had also covered the original release of this information in 2007 but this somehow eluded them this week even though the original reporter still works at the News & Record:

Wray Lockout Transcript Released
News & Record, by Margaret Moffett Banks
September 19, 2007



Lex Alexander said...

And even if Margaret no longer worked there, or did but was not available, that's why you have electronic archives.

Hugh said...

Lex, archives like this google search? "truth and reconciliation"

Among other things returns this:

By Amanda Lehmert : : Greensboro & the Triad's ...
GREENSBORO — Three years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its report on the 1979 shootings at Morningside Homes, the city Human ...

Which yields a dead link: 502 - Bad Gateway

Or this for the myriad of other NR archives: Firefox can't find the server at

jhs said...

I thought this was an obvious attempt to dredge up that old story in the face of Yes Weekly dominating the news with Eric's surveillance story.

When I saw the headline in the paper I thought it was a sad cry for market relevance.

Lex Alexander said...

Hugh, the newspaper contracts with Newsbank to maintain its electronic text archives back to 1/1/90. If you have a Greensboro Public Library card, you can access them yourself at no charge through the library's website.


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