What shenanigans be these: Ferguson, informational riot control, and the new mass media

While researching our article on Ferguson PD Darren Wilson’s shooting of Mike Brown, and the ensuing eruption of crackdown resistance, we came upon something odd.

In our notes, the fact that the Ferguson Police Department possessed but did not use dashboard cameras was sourced to an article called “Police shooting of black teen in Missouri focus of federal inquiry,” in the Los Angeles Times. A Google search for that title turns up another LATimes article, this one having no mention of boxed cameras (several unspecified changes have been made in the article since publication, according to the end notes). The search results also include multiple sites reposting the original article, which contains the mention of cameras still in boxes:


It doesn’t do so any more, but for a while, if you used the Los Angeles Times search bar, and entered that title, you’d get this results page:


Take a look at the URL – the search terms in the query are correct. Yet the reported results have removed the terms ‘black’ and ‘teen’ and inserted the term “black steel”, thus insisting that any search contain that phrase in particular. Other search terms seemed to work fine. Huh?

Out of curiosity, we applied #2 from this list of Wikipedia blackout workarounds, and appended ‘?banner=none’ to the end of the URL. This pulled up no results, but the reported results were at least correct. Wha?

We aren’t webdevs; we can’t be sure if this was just a sloppy glitch following the updating of an article or a deliberate memory-holing of certain facts. Anyone out there know?