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Mainstream media burned by own bias again in Beloit College hate crime story

By   /   February 3, 2017  /   News  /   No Comments

MADISON, Wis. –The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and much of the mainstream media just got badly burned in their rush to report apparent hate crimes on the Beloit College campus.

Photo by the Associated Press

HATE CRIME HOAX: Beloit College student Michael Kee, 20, was arrested this week after police say he confessed to spray-painting racial slurs on a dorm wall. The incident, which turned out to be a hoax, originally was reported as a hate crime.

In many ways, once again, they burned themselves with their own biases.

There was plenty of overheated coverage this week of an apparent hate crime that turned out to be bogus – as has too often been the case in this era of knee-jerk journalism.

On Monday, news outlets across Wisconsin – and the nation – posted the story that “two Beloit students in residence halls were targets of hate crimes.”

Beloit College officials first reported that an anti-Semitic note was placed under a student’s door last Friday. Early Monday morning, an anti-Muslim threat was found spray-painted on another student’s residence hall door, and a swastika on a nearby wall.

Beloit security reportedly discovered the words, “Die,” “Sand nigger go home,” and #Muslimban in red paint on the student’s door on the second floor of the college’s Bushnell Hall.

Before police had identified any suspects, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seemed to have one in mind: President Donald Trump.

“The anti-Muslim threat comes as chaos continues to build around the country over President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries,” a staff reporter wrote.

The implication, essentially the same as the overt accusation from the left, is that Trump and his executive orders are stirring up mass racism and violence in America.

Once again, an alleged hate crime disappeared in the face of facts, and the mainstream media were left holding their bag of bias.

On Wednesday, another Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter was forced to report:

“A Beloit College student admitted fabricating an incident in which a swastika, anti-Muslim and ethnic and racial slurs were spray-painted on a dorm room door and a nearby wall,” the story stated.

Turns out 20-year-old Beloit College student Michael Kee confessed to spray-painting the racial slurs. Kee, who originally reported the incident to police, was arrested on charges of obstruction, disorderly conduct and criminal damage.  He allegedly told authorities he saw the way the campus community came together after the first reported hate crime incident and he wanted in on that action.

So did the mainstream media, chomping at the bit to report on an act of “racism and intolerance” in the Trump era.

Just like it did in the case of the 18-year-old Muslim woman who made up a story about being attacked in December by three white men screaming “Donald Trump!” on a Manhattan subway. Just like it did in covering the phony story of a University of Michigan female student who falsely claimed she was attacked by a white man who threatened he would set her on fire if she did not remove her hijab. And in the case of the openly bisexual senior at North Park University in Chicago who claimed she received a homophobic note and hateful emails following Trump’s presidential election victory. False, too.

As in the Beloit College story, each of the “hate crimes” were reported with the narrative of a “rising tide” of Islamophobia, homophobia, bigotry and intolerance ushered in by President Donald Trump.


M.D. Kittle is bureau chief of Wisconsin Watchdog and First Amendment Reporter for Watchdog.org. Kittle is a 25-year veteran of print, broadcast and online media. He is the recipient of several awards for journalism excellence from The Associated Press, Inland Press, the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, and others. He is also a member of Investigative Reporters & Editors. Kittle's extensive series on Wisconsin's unconstitutional John Doe investigations was the basis of a 2014 documentary on Glenn Beck's TheBlaze. His work has been featured in Town Hall, Fox News, NewsMax, and other national publications, and his reporting has been cited by news outlets nationwide. Kittle is a fill-in talk show host on the Jay Weber Show and the Vicki McKenna Show in Milwaukee and Madison.