sharpton-on-knockout-544x305*According to Richard Prince’s Journal-isms, caution is needed when it comes to some of the information coming out about the disturbing ‘Knockout’ game.

First, Fox News hosts and contributors demanded the Rev. Al Sharpton step in and condemn the series of ‘knockout’ attacks that happened in several cities; he did, then they didn’t report on it, according to Media Matters for America.

Now, something equally disturbing has come to light. Yes, it has to do with the knockout game that teens in several cities have taken on over the past weeks; yet in name only. A recent EURweb  article showed journalist Marc Lamont Hill speaking with two right-wing advocates about the Knockout game. It didn’t take long for the talk to take on racial tones; with the advocates calling the game “a trend of black violence on whites.” Now opportunists have taken that idea and run with it; using footage from other crimes and attributing it to ‘knockout’ as seen in the news item below.

The woman is defenseless, strolling down the street with a pocketbook over her shoulder,” Jesse Singal wrote last week for Columbia Journalism Review. “She has no idea that she’s about to be brutally attacked. The man, who is black, runs up behind her, rears his right arm back and to the side, and strikes her viciously in the head. She falls to the ground, apparently out cold, while he runs away.

It’s a scary, eminently media-friendly story, based as it is in gruesome footage of innocent victims being attacked by out-of-control teens. But there are signs that this story is not being reported carefully and risks sparking unnecessary panic, some of it race-driven. Foremost among them is the fact that the footage of the man running up behind the woman, which is appearing just about everywhere, has nothing to do with Knockout.

“Rather, as one Reddit commenter pointed out, it’s footage of a 35-year-old man attacking a woman in East London [England]. It was a random attack, yes, but quotes from the man suggest some combination of substance abuse and mental illness may have been to blame. He was not a teenager partaking in some viral trend in the US. Given the number of stations that have replayed this unrelated footage, it’s worth asking whether those covering Knockout need to be engaging in a bit more discretion, especially to avoid contributing to an ongoing media narrative of young black men as dangerous.

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