CBS news has blown the lid off the hate crime of the century: a crew of firefighters making the upside-down “okay” hand gesture in a group photo. Yet again, a reputable media outlet fell for a well-worn 4chan prank.
According to CBS affiliate WUSA-TV, a group of recruits with the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services posed for a team photo back in March 2019. The network sounded the alarm on Wednesday when it noticed several of them were making the thumb-and-index finger “okay” hand gesture – a gesture CBS pointed out is “a possible ‘white power’” symbol.
Accroding to WUSA, the “gesture in the photo might be seen as ‘WP,’ for ‘white power,’ since extending three fingers is a possible ‘W’ and the ‘circle’ coming off an arm is a possible ‘P’ — ‘WP.’” Seemingly, the news site was unaware that the “WP” meaning was conjured up by 4chan trolls several years ago to see just how ridiculous a hoax they could make mainstream media outlets fall for.
And it’s worked like a charm again, just like it did at last month’s Army-Navy football game. And the time before that. And the time before that.
“Do these hack journalists just trawl military, police and firefighter group photos on Facebook to find things to be offended by?” tweeted pundit Ian Miles Cheong.
As more media outlets picked up the story, DC Fire and EMS released a statement saying that “The Department has immediately initiated an internal review of the photograph, which may include interviews with everyone pictured in the photograph.”
These interviews will likely find that the smiling group of recruits, some of whom are black, are not a secret chapter of the Ku Klux Klan, or a white supremacist terrorist cell. A similar review by military brass found that the Army and Navy cadets accused of flashing white power gestures during the Army-Navy football game were “an innocent game and not linked to extremism.”
Of course, this would be obvious to anyone who has ever played the ‘circle game’ in a schoolyard, in which the player caught looking at the circle loses, and is punished with a punch in the arm. Yet in Donald Trump’s America — or so the media would have you believe — there’s a Klansman on every corner, and every prankster is a potential Hitler waiting to be caught.
By Graham Dockery, RT
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