We all saw the stories about how a pack of teenage thugs brutally attacked a middle aged man in Pleasanton last September. This is how the local media billed it:
"vicious beating" - NBC Bay Area
"brutal beating" - KTVU
"attacked, beaten into coma" - KCBS
"brutal beating" - ABC-7
The local forums and message boards were filled with calls to "get" the teens, calling them "thugs", "demon spawn" and worse. The use of guns was suggested more than once. The teens were confidently assessed as being "drunk" or "high" when "politely" asked to quiet down by the victim. And when the prosecutor declined to file charges, accusations of political corruption, payoffs and incompetence were hurled.
So now the results of the police investigation have been disclosed, and it turns out that....
There was no "beating."
There was no brutal, vicious attack by the teens. Just a single blow thrown by an 18 year old boy defending himself from a 51 year old man who had attacked him and punched or head-butted him in the face. The man's most serious injuries were caused by his head hitting the ground after the teenager defended himself against his attack.
So where were the follow-up stories, retractions and corrections from the mainstream media?
(Kudos to the Weekly for following up and getting the real story, by the way.)