The media got most of the basics wrong in reporting the case of the Jena 6 in Louisiana, contends local reporter Craig Franklin in the Christian Science Monitor. Franklin contends that reporters “were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.” Franklin, assistant editor of the Jena Times, says he may be the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.
Many in the media did stories based only on the Jena 6 side of the story, Franklin says. He describes what he calls 12 myths widely circulated about the case. Example: nooses hung on a tree were not aimed at black students but were a prankby white students aimed at other whites. Franklin also disputes the idea that the Jena 6 are “model youth.” He says that while some were simply caught up in the moment, others had criminal records. He says the U.S. Justice Department found that there is no racially biased system of justice in Jena, and that the percentage of blacks and whites prosecuted matches the parish’s population statistics.