On Thursday, Jonathan Barbee, spokesman for “Save Our South,” a group that sponsored a pro-Confederate rally in Birmingham, Alabama, told atombash.com in an exclusive interview that local media outlets gave short shrift to news that Anthony Hervey, a black supporter of the Confederate flag, was killed in a suspicious accident after the rally. Several outlets were invited to a press conference after the incident took place, but very few attended, and, he added, those that were there chose to remain mostly silent about Hervey’s death.
Fox affiliate WBRC sent a crew to the conference, he said, but never ran the story. WVTM, a local NBC affiliate, sent a crew with a reporter who asked numerous questions, but only aired about 15 seconds of background. According to Barbee, the station never mentioned the fatal crash or the chase that preceded it. CBS station WIAT sent a crew but never aired the story and a local ABC station never sent a crew to cover the conference. The Associated Press and AL.com were also no-shows, he added.
“Save Our South, along with Alabama Constitutional Conservatives, an African-American minister, an African-American civil rights leader, and an Attorney, hosted a press conference on the evening of July 19th,” Barbee told Examiner. “We had permission from a family attorney to officially release the name of Anthony Hervey as the deceased.”
Media outlets were also informed about Arlene Barnum, the Army veteran who survived the crash, he added, along with her eye witness account of the incident. Barbee told Examiner that the media outlets present were told of the chase that precipitated the fatal crash. As we reported, Barnum updated her Facebook status in real time as events unfolded.
“We then proceeded to explain that both individuals were guest speakers at our Confederate Unity Rally to save a Birmingham Monument,” Barbee said. “We explained how the event was peaceful, multicultural, and successful. There were dozens of African-Americans in attendance as well as Confederate Heritage organizations. Then we allowed the African-American minister to speak and he reiterated everything we said. Same for the older Civil Rights leader. He even added how impressed he was to attend the event and how wonderfully nice everyone was.”
But, he said, local network affiliates did not replay the press conference and only one mentioned the death. “Where was the press?” he asked. “Why didn’t they cover this story? They were at the press conference.”
Barbee said those at the conference heard the story and heard the statement from their attorney. They also read the Facebook posts. “Why did they choose to remain silent about the death of Anthony Hervey?” he asked.
“I’ve been working in news and public relations for 20 years now,” he added. “This is the most bizarre thing I have ever experienced. All of the media remained silent.” Worse yet, he told Examiner, at least one person expressed doubt the incident even happened.
We reached out to the news departments of the stations at the conference. As of this writing, none of those stations have responded to our inquiries.
A search of their websites would appear to corroborate Barbee’s statement. A search of WIAT’s site for “Hervey” and “Anthony Hervey” revealed no results. The same results were revealed in a search at WTVM, although links to reports at other sites were returned. A search at the local Fox station uncovered a few Associated Press articles mentioning Hervey, including one that called him “an anomaly.”
“We had a peaceful rally in Birmingham,” Barbee said, that received very little coverage. “Our African-American guest speaker was allegedly murdered in Mississippi for his Southern Heritage beliefs. NO coverage. 10 Redneck Klans people say racist things in South Carolina. It’s on every major station and news outlet in America. What is wrong with this picture?” he asked in an email to Examiner. According to the Associated Press, investigators have asked for the public’s help in finding the car Barnum saw chase them, but said another witness couldn’t confirm her report that another vehicle was involved.