Protest 20/20 attack on MUMIA

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Protest 20/20 attack on MUMIA



ABC's Sam Donaldson's report on his "4 month investigation" into the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal reeked of sleaze as he labeled Mumia alternately as "vicious, cold-blooded cop killer", "America's last political prisoner," and ""Hollywood's unlikeliest hero."

The 20/20 "newsman" took special aim at the worldwide Mumia movement and all of the participants in it, including those with celebrity status (ex., Ed Asner and Mike Farrell were summarily dismissed by Donaldson as simple anti-death penalty activists who knew nothing about the case).

From the outset it was clear that this program was geared to prevent Mumia Abu-Jamal from getting a new trial and to cement public opinion against him. For example, while interviewing Mumia's attorney, Leonard Weinglass, Donaldson depicted Mumia as "vicious" for "disrupting court". Weinglass' rebuttal that Mumia was fighting for his right to his choice of legal representation and that he was forced out of the court during jury selection were met with looks of stunned disbelief from Donaldson.

Donaldson repeatedly smirked at Weinglass in an infuriating way. Donaldson smugly questioned him using the very words of the D.A.'s office and Judge Sabo's rulings. 20/20 never mentioned the gross misconduct of Judge Sabo during the trial and 1995 summer hearings. 20/20 never mentioned the charges of witness intimidation in the case of Billy Cook, the bribery and subsequent recanting of testimony of Veronica Jones, and the myriad of errors in the 1981 trial. Donaldson never interviewed Mumia Abu-Jamal, even via telephone.

When Donaldson interviewed Joe McGill, Mumia persecutor in the 1981 sham of a trial, however, the tone of the interview was dramatically different. McGill was taken to be *the* authority and Donaldson openly supported all that McGill described. Gary Bell (Faulkner's former partner) told of what Donaldson described as the "final nail in the coffin", the phony confession, and lamented with Bell that "the shock of the shooting suppressed his memory" for two full months before coming forward with that information (conveniently timed when Mumia filed a lawsuit against the police).

Philly Mayor Ed Rendell (D.A. during Mumia's trial) proclaimed that Mumia supporters were "duped" and that this movement was the saddest thing he had ever seen. Rendell couldn't explain the worldwide support Mumia has gotten and stated that S.F. mayor Willie Brown (who refused to be interviewed, according to Donaldson) made a terrible mistake in proclaiming a "Mumia Abu-Jamal Day". Obviously, no one outside of Philadelphia knew the facts of the case, he and Donaldson concluded.

Donaldson proclaimed that this was a "critical stage" for activists for Mumia in light of the PA Supreme Court denial, describing these activists as "believing the establishment is warped" (he teased that Joe McGill felt that it was Mumia's supporters who were warped). Donaldson said these supporters were "taken by the charisma" of Mumia. Tens of thousands of people *internationally*, including freedom fighters, students, Nobel Prize winners, parents, historians, the president of South Africa, researchers, scholars and people from all walks of life, were trashed by Donaldson as simply not knowing anything about the case (which is a recurring FOP theme that 20/20 fully capitalized on). Only Donaldson himself was privileged to know the truth, along with the Philly police, DA, mayor, and Maureen Faulkner.

Donaldson ended each snippet with whatever would demonize Mumia to the American public the most effectively. They aired a photo of Mumia as a young Panther (which they emphasized by showing footage of a George Wallace gathering and stating that Mumia "claimed" he suffered a police beating at a George Wallace Philly rally and thus joined the BPP). Whenever a snippet of Mumia himself was shown, though, it was only with quotes such as "revolution is my religion." Later they played Bob Marley's classic Redemption Song while showing footage of Mumia supporters in slow motion, portraying them as simpletons, flower children, and fanatics. Donaldson claimed that this case is a "lesson in the power of propaganda."

20/20 got to the "heart of the evidence" by doing Joe McGill's version of a re-enactment of the scene where the attempted murder of Mumia occurred and the frame-up of the murder of Faulkner began, including where the witnesses were, according to the D.A.'s office. Later ABC showed footage of Faulkner's funeral.

Maureen Faulkner told of how she was shocked to hear Mumia Abu-Jamal doing a commentary over the radio one day and was physically shaking. Since then she has been fighting back against the growing movement for Mumia to insure the execution taskes place. Her web site was featured and she was very forceful in her hatred for Mumia and his supporters. She later claimed that she was harrassed by Mumia supporters and fears for her life, which is why she moved so far from Philadelphia.

During a portion of the interview Maureen Faulkner stated that you "keep telling a lie and it becomes the truth." But in the case of the story viewers were fed by 20/20 tonight, the fabrications retold in this imitation "investigation" will continue to be squashed by those who believe in freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Donaldson told how he had heard from hundreds of supporters as soon as word got out that the story would be aired. Let's make sure that he hears from THOUSANDS now that it has.

Sis. Marpessa
Afrikan Frontline Network

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