The Blaze reported Tuesday on the underreported story of a couple attacked by a mob of 30 to 100 youths at an intersection in Norfolk ,Virginia. What makes the lack of media coverage surrounding the incident even more suspicious is that the alleged attackers were African-American and the couple Caucasians, who are both reporters at the same newspaper which avoided the story until mentioning it in an opinion piece two weeks later. The attack was described in the opinion piece on The Virginia-Pilot Tuesday:
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.
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.
Neither suffered grave injuries, but both were out of work for a week. Forster's torso ached from blows to his ribs, and he retained a thumb-sized bump on his head. Rostami fears to be alone in her home. Forster wishes he'd stayed in the car.
The next day, Forster searched Twitter for mention of the attack.
One post chilled him.
"I feel for the white man who got beat up at the light," wrote one person.
"I don't," wrote another, indicating laughter. "(do it for trayvon martin)"
The editorial writer Michelle Washington goes on to explain that police coded the incident as a "simple assault," and reporters making routine checks of police reports would see "simple assault" and, if the names were unfamiliar, would be unlikely to write about it. Washington writes that in this case, editors hesitated to assign a story about their own employees.
"Would it seem like the paper treated its employees differently from other crime victims?"
After referencing the well-known Trayvon Martin case and questioning whether the Norfolk attack could have been racially motivated or a response to the killing in Florida, Washington explains why the incident is just in the paper now:
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?
The editorial attracted dozens of comments on the newspaper's website and WND has since reported that many in the area are disgusted that news on the attack was buried by the paper.
“It is unbelievable that the Virginian-Pilot would BURY this story for two weeks for politically correct reasons. That is sad and disgusting,” David Englert of Norfolk told WND. “Someone should be fired or resign over the decision not to report this attack. It is a sad enough commentary on our society and community to read about how the responding police viewed this crime, but for our only newspaper to decide that they will hide from the truth rather than report the truth is PATHETIC! Any attack by a mob of people on any innocent victim should be put under a bright spotlight for all involved to be judged and exposed as appropriate, and to make sure that the criminal justice system does its job to protect those who obey the law.”
"Real News" opened Wednesday discussing the Norfolk attack and controversy surrounding the local media reaction to it.
With the discussion on race-relations possibly the tensest it has been in over a decade with the Trayvon Martin death and subsequent media portrayal of the case, panelists discussed Wednesday how as members of the media, feelings of hesitation arise when reporting and commenting on a story like what happened in Norfolk for, as Will Cain explains, "we just don't know yet what really happened."
Amy Holmes questioned though, black-on-white or not, is a mob of youths attacking two people in a car at an intersection not a story as it is?
S.E. Cupp commented, coming from an editorial board, she would have assigned the story, but questions those alleging that there were motives for the story being not reported.
"It's a little irresponsible to project those concerns onto this story," Cupp said, adding "I think it's also a little naive to suggest that somehow crimes against white people in this country are underreported."