Remember Bethany Storro, the Washington woman who reported that a Black woman threw acid on her? Well, she lied. The truth just came out this afternoon. Apparently she threw acid on herself.... and I guess creating a mythical Black suspect made the case more believable. It must have, because the national media jumped all over her story. Basic and obvious questions weren't asked. The suspect information seemed to lend more credibility to her phony story.
This story highlights two issues for me. Number one...would be the issue of Race - particularly the continued use of Blacks and Black images by non-Blacks to, in a way, authenticate reports of crime. The way that this continues to go on is troubling... in fact, this kind of nonsense seems to have picked up since the infamous Charles Stuart case in Boston which nearly tore that city apart. (look it up... I get a headache thinking about that one). And of course there was also the Susan Smith case several years later...which was almost just as bad. There have been a number of lesser known examples over the years. Like the bride who lied about being kidnapped a few years ago.... saying that she was taken by Hispanics. When the truth was revealed, it turned out that she simply ran away because she couldn't handle getting married. Just recently there was the story of a Philly cop who reported that he had been shot by a mythical Black suspect. The truth later revealed that the officer, Robert Ralston, shot himself. There are other smaller examples of this that happen all the time that no one hears about.
The other issue that this story highlights is the sloppy work of today's news media. Good old fashioned journalism and caution have been thrown out of the window. Professional journalism is basically dead today (although there are a few exceptions). Everyone is in a rush to get the story out, and they are forgetting to ask important and basic questions. But this wasn't even a breaking news type of event per se, where there was a mad dash to get something out. At least that's not necessarily how the story was presented. It was one of those... "feel sorry for this poor lady" stories that the big networks seemed to have gotten themselves caught up in. But there still should have been a basic attempt to do a little digging. Skepticism is an important & basic part of good reporting. There were plenty of red flags in this case. With just a little follow-up reporters may have noticed the doubt on the part of the investigators sooner, and held off for a few days before running with the story. That requires good journalism and good intuition on the part of reporters... something lacking in today's media culture where everything is happening so fast...and the news has become so profit driven.
Also see report from ABC national news.
The story made no sense to me from the start... for one, there was no logical motive. The media seemed to gloss over this fact. Also... where were the witnesses in and around all of the businesses in downtown Vancouver Washington? Apparently no one saw a suspect fleeing the scene. No witnesses at all? Typically in a situation like this, where would be surveillance, or a number of witnesses. Often, an attacker in this situation doesn't actually get very far from the scene. Everyone has a cell phone today and they take pictures of everything. But no one seemed to be able to verify this woman's story. No suspects anywhere...and there was nothing out of the ordinary before the incident.
But the report of a mythical Black suspect was just too hard for the media to ignore. That was all the verification that the world needed. This kind of nonsense is getting old.
And i'm still at a loss when it comes to a motive. Why would an attractive woman pour acid on herself? Was she this desperate for attention? (Now that I think about it... she did seem to enjoy all the attention that the media was giving her). Clearly there are some mental issues involved. Tragic!
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