NewsBusters, , By Tom Blumer:
It’s disconcerting, and occasionally infuriating, to watch facts originally reported in some national stories disappear or get sanitized in later versions.
What the Associated Press has been doing to its more recent reports on the September 25 beheading of Colleen Hufford in Moore, Oklahoma has moved firmly into the infuriating stage. Several examples after the jump will demonstrate this.
At ABC News’s web site, the caption at the AP’s photo of Kelli Hufford, Colleen’s daughter, reads as follows:
Kelli Hufford speaks about the Sept. 25 death of her mother, 54-year-old Colleen Hufford, during a news conference in Moore, Okla., Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014. Colleen Hufford was killed in a workplace violence incident.
Anyone who happens to look only at the photo and it caption in the many print pubblication AP dubiously serves will not know that Colleen Hufford was beheaded in what is believed to be “the first American beheading on American soil reportedly in the name of jihad.” Of course, even mentioning the fact that it was a beheading makes a completely mockery of the idea that Hufford’s murder was exclusively a “workplace violence incident.”
Two of the AP’s more recent articles relating to Hufford’s murder — the only two found in a search at the wire service’s national site on her last name — both downplay Islamic influences noted in earlier reports.
The caption at the photo accompanying Ken Miller’s coverage of Hufford’s funeral on October 3 again invoked “workplace violence” while avoiding any mention of beheading.
Miller’s report did acknowledge that Hufford was beheaded in his opening paragraph, but it went downhill from there:
Colleen Hufford, 54, died Sept. 25. Prosecutors said she was targeted by a co-worker who had been disciplined that morning for another woman’s complaint.
Initial reports indicated that accused murderer Alton Nolen went after Hufford randomly, and that the source of much of his anger, or perhaps what caused him to carry out his actions, was his recent conversion to Islam. As Trace Gallagher indicated on Megyn Kelly’s Fox News program on October 2, Nolen’s online presence at Facebook clearly showed him to be an admiration of violent Islamic jihad — an admiration likely stoked while he attended a mosque in Oklahoma City.
Additionally, Nolen wasn’t just “disciplined.” As a “what we know” piece in the Washington Post reported on September 30 reported, he was fired.
Continuing to something even more infuriating:
Police this week arrested one of Hufford’s co-workers, Alton Nolen, 30, after he was released from a hospital. Officers said the plant’s chief operating officer, Mark Vaughan, who is also a reserve sheriff’s deputy, shot Nolen with a rifle to stop him as he attacked Traci Johnson, 43, who had complained that Nolen had made racial remarks at work.
Initial reports made no mention of “racial remarks.” What they did mention was Nolen’s apparently futile efforts to convert coworkers to his Islamic faith. How does that turn into “racial remarks,” complete with the implication that “only” black-on-white racism might have been involved?
AP reporter Tim Talley’s coverage of Wednesday’s public comments by Kelli Hufford, also tried to narrow down the motivation for Hufford’s murder to workplace issues, and even downplayed those:
Prosecutors have charged Alton Nolen, a plant employee who had been disciplined the day of the attack, with first-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. They say they will seek the death penalty.
Nolen is accused of attacking the 54-year-old Colleen Hufford from behind, severing her head, and then stabbing another Vaughan Foods employee before being shot by the plant’s chief operating officer.
This time, the AP’s coverage contained absolutely no reference to Islam.