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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Richard Jewell and Donald Trump: Both Victims of a Corrupt Media, Academia, and FBI

I still vividly recall watching the live announcement in September of 1990 by the International Olympic Committee awarding the Centennial Olympic Games (held in the summer of 1996) to the city of Atlanta. As the boisterous cheers after the initial announcement demonstrated, much of the whole state of Georgia was giddy with excitement. From Gainesville to Savannah, Olympic venues were built or otherwise prepared all over the state, and Georgia comedian Jeff Foxworthy promised the world that the Georgia Olympics would have its own distinct southern flavor.

I’m not much of a fan of the Olympics, so I didn’t get caught up in the hoopla. Instead of hosting the Olympics, I would’ve much preferred to see the 1990s Atlanta Braves win the World Series. I didn’t attend one Olympic event, and I did my best to avoid the Olympic crowds and traffic. Instead of the games, like many other Americans, what I most recall from that summer was the Olympic Park bombing and the ugly efforts of the media, law enforcement, et al that followed.

Just after 1 a.m., on July 27, 1996, an ALICE pack stuffed with three pipe bombs and numerous three-inch masonry nails—the total weight being more than 40 pounds—exploded. The blast killed one person and injured more than one hundred. The casualties would’ve been much worse if not for the efforts of AT&T security guard, Richard Jewell.

If you had forgotten about or were never very familiar with Jewell’s story, with the publicity surrounding Clint Eastwood’s film Richard Jewell, you probably now recall at least something about one of the ugliest events in modern American history. Eastwood’s film is based on the Vanity Fair piece published in February of 1997, American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.

As the Vanity Fair piece and Richard Jewell both reveal, while on duty just after midnight on July 27, 1996, Jewell noticed several raucous drunks littering the area he was guarding. While dealing with the drunks, Jewell noticed the ALICE pack and alerted the GBI in the area. At first, Jewell was nonchalant about the suspicious pack. Joking with GBI officer Tom Davis, Jewell asked, “Well, are you going to open it?”

Both thought the pack belonged to someone in the area. After Davis asked around and told Jewell that no one claimed it, Jewell told Vanity Fair, “[T]hat is when the little hairs on the back of my head began to stand up. I thought, Uh-oh. This is not good.” Davis, Jewell, and other security guards proceeded to clear the area near the backpack. About two to three minutes into the evacuation, the bomb exploded.

What followed was an FBI “investigative catastrophe.” According to American Nightmare, “it became common to characterize the F.B.I.'s investigation of Richard Jewell as the epitome of false accusation.” Jewell’s case led Lin Wood—one of Jewell’s attorneys (also now famous for representing Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic)—to describe the FBI as having gone from “masters of investigation to masters of deceit.”

For example,
According to Jack Martin, the F.B.I. spent weeks on one erroneous early theory—that Richard Jewell was an enraged homosexual cop-hater who had been aided in the bombing by his lover. Jewell had purportedly planted the bomb; the lover then made the 911 phone call warning that it would go off in Centennial Park. The rationale behind this idea was that Jewell was “mad at the cops and wanted to kill other cops,” Martin told me.
In concert with the FBI’s malicious bungling of Jewell’s investigation, a media firestorm ensued. The firestorm was ignited by the efforts of Georgia’s largest newspaper—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC)—which, according to American Nightmare, since the resignation of “distinguished editor” Bill Kovach in 1988, had suffered “a severe loss of reputation.”

While covering the Olympic Park bombing, perhaps in their zeal to prove they were the “definitive paper of the New South,” the AJC operated with a “frenzy to be first.” As Vanity Fair reported in 1997, “The American Journalism Review sharply criticized The A.J.C. for the scanty confirmation and lack of skepticism in its coverage of Jewell.”

Three days after the bombing, operating from a leak from the FBI, the AJC revealed that Jewell was a suspect. What followed was what Jewell would describe as “88 days of hell.” Other media outlets rampantly and viciously reported on Jewell, often referring to him in extremely unflattering terms. As reported in American Nightmare,
The New York Post had called Jewell “a Village Rambo” and “a fat, failed former sheriff's deputy.” Jay Leno had said that Jewell “had a scary resemblance to the guy who whacked Nancy Kerrigan,” and asked, “What is it about the Olympic Games that brings out big fat stupid guys?” The A.J. C.’s star columnist, Dave Kindred, had compared Jewell to serial murderer Wayne Williams.
Vanity Fair added that, with few exceptions, “The tone many of the journalists took was accusatory and pre-determined.”

Late AJC reporter Kathy Scruggs—featured prominently in Richard Jewell—went so far as to falsely report that Jewell had in his possession a “a sample of the blown-up bomb.” What she was told by Watson Bryant—one of Jewell’s lawyers—was that Jewell “had souvenirs of the bombing” (a piece of fencing). The day after Scruggs’ false report, the AJC attempted to correct the matter, but as Vanity Fair noted, such efforts had “little impact” to change the false narrative that Jewell was the bomber.

Scruggs’ fake news “had been picked up; gathering force, it was eventually related by Bill Press on Crossfire on the evening of October 28: ‘The guy was seen with a homemade bomb at his home a few days before.’ (The next day CNN would be forced to apologize for the mistake.)” Jewell was so slimed by the media and the FBI that two of the bomb blast victims sued him.

Bryant had become so disgusted with the media’s coverage that he told CNN President Tom Johnson and correspondent Art Harris,
Who the hell are you and the rest of the media to make fun of how Richard Jewell and his mother live? Who are you to make fun of working people who live in a $470-a-month apartment? Is there something wrong with that?
As Jewell himself would note, the media and the FBI’s attack on him was of “unparalleled proportion.” Unparalleled, that is, until the candidacy and subsequent election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States. With its spying and lying—involving fake dossiers, FISA abuse, unauthorized surveillance, etc.—the FBI’s “investigation” into the President of the United States, Donald Trump, set a new standard for “false accusation” and “investigative catastrophe.” Few phrases better characterize the anti-Trump elements within today’s FBI than “masters of deceit.”

Of course, as was the case with Richard Jewell, the FBI’s nefarious anti-Trump efforts have been aided and abetted by the Main Stream Media (MSM). Because of their evil efforts against Donald Trump, the American news media is the least trusted institution in America and is perhaps at its lowest point in American history. As Breitbart’s James Pinkerton noted after the Mueller Report dropped, the “enduring damage” suffered by the MSM was because “the MSM hates Donald Trump so much that it can’t see straight; in the MSM’s collective hive-mind, the image of the president’s being frogmarched out of the White House in handcuffs was so enticing that all reality was bent to serve that goal.”

Similarly, blinded by their hatred of Trump, colleges and universities across the U.S. have become masters of bending reality in order to serve their wicked efforts. Trump is so hated by ignorant “elites” on American campuses that conservative/Christian speech in those supposed “institutions of higher learning” is under unprecedented attack. Their “safe space society” has become a “totalitarian nightmare.”

Recently, the media was ecstatic that a few hundred law professors sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging them to impeach Trump. Likewise, Richard Jewell was, himself, a victim of biased “academics.” In the daylight hours after the bombing, Piedmont College—where Jewell had worked as a campus cop—President Ray Cleere called his campus chief of police Dick Martin.

American Nightmare reveals that Cleere asked Martin, “Shouldn't they call the F.B.I. and tell them about Richard Jewell?” Cleere called the FBI and painted a very ugly picture of Jewell, calling him a “badge wearing zealot.” According to American Nightmare, Cleere helped plant within the FBI the theory that Jewell was a “hero bomber.” Because of their foolish and misguided efforts, as would NBC, CNN, and the New York Post, Piedmont College would end up paying Jewell.

Richard Jewell’s life was turned upside down by a biased media, academia, and the FBI. Because they were on the wrong side of the truth, Richard Jewell received multiple apologies and monetary settlements and was able to continue his career in law enforcement. Encouraged and enabled by democrats at some of the highest levels in American politics, and because of a biased media, academia, and FBI, Donald Trump has become only the third U.S. President to be impeached.

However, because liberals across America have been, and remain, on the wrong side of the truth, President Trump is still our President, and because of their evil efforts, he likely will remain so for the next five years.

(See this column at American Thinker.)

Copyright 2019, Trevor Grant Thomas
At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.
Trevor is the author of The Miracle and Magnificence of America

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