The Washington Post writes a puff piece for the alleged UVA shooter

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This image provided by the University of Virginia Police Department shows Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. Authorities say three people have been killed and two others were wounded in a shooting at the University of Virginia and a student is being sought as a suspect. President Jim Ryan identified the suspect as Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. (University of Virginia via AP) AP

The Washington Post writes a puff piece for the alleged UVA shooter

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You would think that the most important fact about Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. is that he allegedly killed three University of Virginia football players and injured two more students in a shooting.

But the Washington Post also wants you to know that Jones “flourished” despite a “tumultuous childhood,” up until the part where he tried to kill five people.

SHOOTING SUSPECT CHRISTOPHER DARNELL JONES JR. IS A FORMER UVA FOOTBALL PLAYER: POLICE

They needed four different journalists to team up and write a puff piece about Jones, headlined “Suspected U-Va. gunman had troubled childhood, but then flourished.” Evidently, the social media honchos at the Post recognized that this didn’t play well and deleted the tweet promoting the story, but the headline remained.

The content of the piece wasn’t much better. The four journalists focused on a 2018 profile of Jones in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which detailed how Jones had been “celebrated for overcoming” his rough childhood. Jones’s mother told the Washington Post that “Chris was a good kid” before hanging up, and the outlet parroted a line from the story about how Jones’s mentors had “helped him let go of his anger.” According to the piece, “Jones appeared to flourish in the years that followed.”

Again, three people are dead and two are in the hospital, one of whom is in critical condition.

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This is not some attempt to determine what went wrong in Jones’s path from a “tumultuous childhood” to “flourishing.” The Washington Post attempted to reach out to people close to him, but they didn’t want to provide any information about Jones during the manhunt. Instead, the outlet was left with simply retelling the 2018 Richmond Times-Dispatch story celebrating Jones for overcoming hardship in a piece that is about a man who allegedly killed three people.

It is a gross piece reminiscent of the whitewashing outlets like the Washington Post give to terrorists and dictators in obituaries. It paints Jones in a favorable light while three victims lie dead and two others are lying in a hospital. It is entirely inappropriate and unnecessary. You could say it also isn’t journalism but, given the sorry state of the profession at legacy media outlets, that wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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