Thursday, September 25, 2008

Supremacists Quoted Janell Ross Verbatim and at Length; Tennessean Unresponsive to Salemtown Outrage

Protest letters have been written to the Tennessean, including one from the Salemtown association president, contesting reporter Janell Ross's myopic and loose interpretation about crime prevention in the North End, and yet, there have been no replies. Instead, the editors are publishing letters on profound subjects like justifications for "booing" football players.

I do want to get back to the point that a white supremacist website picked up the Tennessean piece. The local media shill blog naturally did not see any indictment of Janell Ross's "journalistic product" in the simple link of it by white supremacist website. If it had been just a simple link twisted by ulterior motive, then the shiller would have been justified in refusing to see a problem.

But the white supremacist poster did more than just link Janell Ross. He quoted her extensively with only a sentence of commentary on her subject. Here is what he wrote:

I hope other neighborhoods across the country are doing the same.

Quote [of Janell Ross]:
She was walking her dog, that white lady that lives right up there on the next block," said Glen, who is African-American. "She passed by. I spoke. She spoke. The next thing I know, here comes the police asking what I'm doing here."

Situated on the border of the gentrifying Salemtown and Germantown neighborhoods in North Nashville, Seventh Avenue North is home to both a convenience store some residents call "Murder Mart" and a $400,000 home. Metro Police Chief Ronal Serpas says in these kinds of neighborhoods, where redevelopment brings strangers together at a speedy rate, calls to police about "suspicious" people have been frequent. And all too often, "suspicious" seems to mean young, black and male.
Serpas pointed to Edgehill and sections of East Nashville as other communities posting large numbers of "suspicious person" calls. But Serpas says the problem seems to have grown less intense as gentrification slows. Precise numbers of calls from specific communities weren't available.

The Historic Germantown Neighborhood Association's president concedes it's possible some of the 911 calls from her neighborhood could be prompted by unfounded fears about race. Stacy Mosley, who is white, has lived in the neighborhood 11 years. During her first week, someone shot into the air from a passing car as she pushed her 5-month-old in a stroller. She couldn't see the shoote

"When you've lived here, when you know your community, you know when something isn't right," she said
James Jenkins, president of his neighborhood association in the Greenwood area of East Nashville, said he worked with newcomers to the area when they began arriving in the late 1990s. Often, these were wealthier whites restoring some of the neighborhood's grand old homes. Jenkins, who is African-American, said those newcomers and longtime residents made demands on police about addressing crime
One woman described herself as so frightened when she gets out of her car she may pepper-spray someone who turns out not to have criminal intent. She wanted to know if she could face criminal charges. The answer was yes.
The poster didn't have to provide any commentary beyond his hope that others are doing what Janell Ross says that Salemtown whites are doing. All he did was cut and paste verbatim almost 50% (392/885 words) of what Janell Ross wrote and the Tennessean published on Monday.

He did not spin a paraphrase of what she wrote.

He did not tear a single sentence out of context and white wash a meaning she did not intend.

He literally just posted her own words in their context to support the preconceived notion that white residents are calling the police against African Americans for no other reason than their race.

There is no doubt that anyone can link journalists and read their own interpretations into the reports, but this guy didn't have to do any of that. Whether he used it for his own twisted purposes is irrelevant to the truth that Janell Ross's writing in and of itself generates a stigma on Salemtown without reference to facts. Supremacists don't have to add anything else to Ross's narrative to assume that Salemtown (where there are 6 or 7 times more African Americans than whites) is some kind of hotbed of white racism.

In so far as Janell Ross's writing promotes those kinds of false and toxic ideas, the Tennessean is obligated to issue a correction and an apology. This truly is bordering on slanderous.

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