On Friday, November 30, 2012 I returned home with my sons and my niece from the movies.
As I usually do, I checked my emails and online messages, and noticed that someone had sent me a link to a Youtube video.
As an activist, writer and blogger, I receive all kinds of links, tips and story ideas from people in the community.
But this one immediately caught my attention.
The title said it all.
'Greece, NY Racism, Bullying and Mocking of a Dead Child.'
It was an 8 minute, 35 second video made by Greece, NY teenagers Shawn Petrilli, Nick Robare and Amanda Farabella, targeting 16 year old Alex Hare, an African-American teen, as well as Noel Parcells, a beautiful 10 year old little girl who was murdered, along with her 3 year old sister Mia, by her father, in a murder suicide last year.
Throughout the video, the teens can be heard calling Alex a 'nigger', as well as making threats directed at him, all while burning a hoodie sweatshirt which Noel had given Alex.
At one point in the video, one of the teens says he is going to 'piss' on the burning hoodie.
As a father of three beautiful children, two who are African-American and Latino, I was more than disgusted by the video.
And, I was disgusted to see that unlike Greece, NY bus monitor Karen Klein, whose video of her being harassed by students on her school bus was devoured by news media, who were literally camped outside her home, NO NEWS MEDIA OUTLETS cared about this story of bullying and racism, which occurred in, of all places, Greece, NY.
I immediately went to work and wrote a piece right here on my blog, exposing this sick, disgusting, and cowardly act.
It didn't take long before readers from all over were reading about the incident in Greece, NY.
The next morning, I reached out to ALL of Rochester's news media outlets, in an attempt to get some coverage and exposure of this incident.
Whoever I spoke with, whether an intern, news reporter or assignment editor, the response was the same.
I was told that they were NOT interested.
So, I kept on.
I continued writing about the incident and kept pushing the story on the internet.
Then, on Monday, December 10th, the media finally decided to cover the story.
A couple of days later, it was a packed house, at a news conference held in my office, where reporters and camera persons filled my small space, to hear Alex Hare for the first time since I broke the story.
But, as some members of the media are known to do, some reporters came to the news conference with their own personal agenda.
Case in point, 13WHAM News reporter Patrice Walsh.
Almost immediately, it was clear that Walsh was not interested in fair, unbiased journalism, but instead, on attacking myself, and those in the community who are supporting not only Alex Hare and his family, but also Noel Parcell's mother, Rachel Coffey, who is still grieving the loss of not one, but two innocent little girls.
In an attempt to negatively influence public opinion, Patrice Walsh insinuated that 'your group', (there is no 'group', just community activists, such as myself, supporting two families), was in some way responsible for what she referred to as 'death threats' that Nick Robare, one of the teens in the video had received.
Robare was charged with aggravated harassment for posting the video on Alex's Facebook page, only after I put pressure on the Greece, NY Police department, who had, at first, refused to do anything.
Interestingly enough, NO other news media reporters, or outlets, EXCEPT Patrice Walsh and 13WHAM news, reported any 'death threats.'
Patrice Walsh pulled what is perhaps the dirtiest trick in the media business, she injected a baseless, untrue, unverifiable accusation with the intention of taking the focus off the REAL issue here.. three white, suburban teens who made a racist, bullying video.
When Patrice Walsh was called out on her unethical behavior, she began sending twitter messages during the press conference, continuing her agenda to divert attention from the real story at hand, and instead, in some strange, twisted way, seemed to want to make herself the story, or, the victim, as she sent out the following tweet:
"I am now being verbally attacked at an anti-bullying news conference for asking a question..."
I can't say that I was surprised by Patrice Walsh's unprofessional and unethical behavior.
In fact, it was her station,13WHAM News who, prior to the press conference, referred to Alex's mom, Michelle Hare on their website, as an 'Angry Mom' and station news anchorman Doug Emblidge, falsely reported that Michelle Hare was seeking financial compensation like Greece, NY bus monitor Karen Klein, who received over $700,000 after her video, which was just named by Time Magazine as the third most watched viral video on Youtube in 2012, went viral.
13WHAM news took a statement saying that Michelle Hare did not understand why the media was treating her son's case differently than they treated Karen Klein's incident, and completely twisted it--journalistic integrity be damned.
What is interesting is that a woman who received almost three quarters of a Million dollars, and who started an 'Anti-Bullying' foundation, refused to speak out, or in any way denounce a disgusting act which not only included bullying, but also racism, and which happened just a few miles from where Karen Klein lives.
Perhaps even more interesting is that NO ONE from the media, including Patrice Walsh ever treated Karen Klein like she was a culprit.
NO ONE from the media, including Patrice Walsh, ever made ANY insinuations, or baseless, unfounded accusations against Karen Klein, a woman who clearly, as you can hear in the video below, duped alot of folks who truly felt sorry for her, before as they say, she took the money and ran!
Click Play to hear Karen Klein's daughter Amanda Romig, the Foundation's 'Administrator' tell me they don't have time to get involved in Anti Bullying issues as they are planning a vacation.
Click Play to watch the video of Nick Robare appearing in court.
Patrice Walsh had said she thought the teens, including Robare, were remorseful... WATCH THIS!
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