Today marks the 60th anniversary of Rosa Parks’ bravery against segregation. The moment was memorialized all over Twitter with one tweet from the RNC receiving hundreds of retweets. It reads, ‘Today we remember Rosa Parks’ bold stand and her role in ending racism.’ Yeah, that ‘ending racism’ part didn’t go over to well and made the comment the butt of more that a few jokes. I was sure it was fake, so I checked it out and it turns out, it’s real…and two years old. That’s right. One of today’s most tweeted is a goodie, but definitely an oldie. When a sharp eyed reader pointed it out, AJ Plus (a digital media provider from Al Jazeera) made no comment; very slick (and questionable) move for a content provider tied to a news organization, but that’s the power and danger of Twitter: the word gets out faster than anyone can bother to say ‘retract’ and even if there’s a correction, who cares?! Hundreds have already spread the word on their own feeds, in the process, giving the fledgling channel a much needed boost, and a easy target, one more kick.
Watched a story today on Right This Minute and I was blown away by how quickly a black man can get snowballed by the media and by snowballed I mean how a white person can use their position and/or access to devour the reputation of a person of color who gets in their cross-hairs. The initial story was about a video of a six-year old named Grant. The video was posted back in November on his mother, Amy Stone’s Youtube account. The video, however, didn’t start to go viral until being posted on the Facebook page of another person (DeLorean) where, according to Stone, the video racked up five million views. Amy (along with husband, Nate) believes DeLorean to be a scammer who was exploiting their son for personal gain pointing to the fact that his site talks about making money online. She also claims that despite their requests DeLorean refused to take the video down and ultimately Facebook removed the video. So, what’s the problem? It’s not completely true. I found the story quite odd because part of what people do on Facebook is share videos. So what made this guy any different? He didn’t link the video to the original source, which means he diverted attention (read income) from her original Youtube video. Ok, that sucks, but there’s more.
I searched for it and found a cached result (see below) which means at some point he added her info to the post. And then I kept digging. On his page, via video post, he talks about (and shows) a message exchange between him and Mrs. Stone where he asks her if she wants the video down, she doesn’t say no, but instead asks that he change the description and post a direct link to her Youtube video. So not only did she lie about communication with him, but she also expected him to use his Facebook page to drive users to her account, which he is not obligated to do. And when he didn’t act according to her wishes, she got lawyer-ed up (very apparent from her final response to him) and threatened to continue to involve the press (which she had already done). The story was reported on a local TV station (KUTV) without ANY efforts to reach out to DeLorean and hear his side of the story which wouldn’t have been difficult since his page is public and I was able to get all this info within an hour.
Now, I get that he posted copyrighted material to his page without crediting the owner, but he didn’t make money off of it and based on his direct messages, he was willing to work to appease the family. What doesn’t work is the maligning of his character in such a swift way without investigation. I read on his Facebook page that he has an interview with CNN today and I’m looking forward to hearing his side of the story. Hopefully, others will listen.