Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021

But also, Cooper and Borger: Have questions of basic honesty ever been so near at hand?

How about questions concerning basic intellectual competence? How about questions of possible or apparent mental illness?

Dishonesty leads to bogus claims—but so do various forms of mental illness, and so does intellectual incompetence. That said, our world is awash in bogus claims, coming from many directions.

The western world has long tended to claim that "man [sic] is the rational animal." Has there ever been a time when this traditional claim was being undermined by human behavior coming from so many different directions?

We cite a few recent examples:

For starters, consider Tucker Carlson's recent assessment of Alex Jones. At the Washington Post, Aaron Blake's report starts like this:

BLAKE (12/2/21): Two weeks ago, Infowars founder Alex Jones lost yet another defamation suit brought by the families of victims massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School—a shooting rampage that Jones spuriously claimed was a “hoax” and a “false flag” exercise, allegations that the families said compounded their personal tragedies.

On Wednesday night, the most prominent conservative pundit in the country hailed Jones as “one of the most popular journalists on the right” and often a more reputable journalist than mainstream media figures who reported on the Russia investigation.

“Yes, journalist,” Tucker Carlson said after using that term to describe Jones. “Jones is often mocked for his flamboyance, but the truth is, he has been a far better guide to reality in recent years—in other words a far better journalist—than, say, NBC News national security correspondent Ken Dilanian or Margaret Brennan of CBS.”

It’s difficult to imagine a more ridiculous statement. It’s also difficult to imagine a better microcosm of the American right’s descent into its current post-truth era than this.

Earlier this week, Carlson did offer that assessment of Jones. You can see his fuller remarks in the transcript of Wednesday night's Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Does Carlson really believe what he said? Forced to guess, we would guess that he possibly does, or possibly something like that. We would guess that he possibly does, despite such downsides as these:

BLAKE: To be clear, one can take issue with how media outlets covered a given story...But that’s different from elevating a guy who has done the following:

Claimed the federal government has turned “weather weapons” on its citizens.

Claimed the government has used chemicals to turn people gay — and that “the majority of frogs in most areas of the United States are now gay” because of the experiments.

Said people would “let [Robert] Mueller rape kids in front of people, which he did,” before walking back the assertion.

Promoted the “Pizzagate” conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and top aides were running a satanic sex-trafficking ring out of a D.C. pizza restaurant, then backtracked and apologized.

Suggested the following were inside jobs and/or false flag operations: 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, Charlottesville, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), the Brussels terrorist attack and the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Falsely connected the Chobani yogurt company and its employment of refugees to child sexual assault and a rise in tuberculosis. (Jones later settled a defamation suit brought by Chobani.)

Was sued after Infowars falsely identified the shooter in the Parkland massacre.

Is Alex Jones mentally competent? What does it mean if we suggest the possibility that he possibly isn't?

How about Tucker Carlson? Does he believe what he said about Jones? What would he say if hewas challenged concerning the various points Blake cited?

Regarding that last question, we will never learn what Carlson would say if challenged. The reason for that is obvious:

Our "news channels" have moved from the old left/right "Crossfire" warfare model to a model based on complete tribal segregation. To wit:

You will never see any competent person challenge Carlson on his own show (or anywhere else). On MSNBC, you will essentially never see anyone who disagrees, in whatever way, with the prevailing tribal line on any prevailing issue.

We've gone from the old "Crossfire" model to the current "segregation" model. At present, it's all about selling the Storyline, no matter which channel you watch.

There's one last point to mention:

Our major "cable news" journalists seem to have almost no intellectual or analytical skills—essentially none at all. Routinely, their apparent lack of sophistication is simply astounding. 

Carlson's comments on Jones seem to be insane. That said, we keep seeing pseudo-discussions on CNN and MSNBC which strike us as barely sane, though in a different way.

Tomorrow, we're going to look at last night's discussion on CNN concerning Trump and Covid. Our question would be this:

At this point in time, do Anderson Cooper and Gloria Borger have any intellectual competence at all? Their discussion last night was stunningly bogus, as was the earlier discussion of the same topic on yesterday's Morning Joe.

Simply put, our corporate elites are in shambles. Whichever tribe you happen to be in, you can probably see this about The Others—but about Your Own, not so much.

(Your lizard is shouting, Moral equivalence. We'll suggest that you fire your lizard.)

STORYLINE CONQUERS KENOSHA: Kicking lessers to the curb!

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2021

Who cares about people like these?: Did Donald J. Trump believe he had Covid when he debated Joe Biden? 

(Full disclosure: At the present time, we can't answer that question.)

Did Trump think he had Covid? We opened yesterday morning's report with that very question. We had just watched a pseudo-discussion on Morning Joe in which Joe and Mika and Willie—but also Jonathan and Elise—engaged in the practice now widely described as Pathological Storyline.

(Alternate technical descriptor: Pathological Novelization.)

Remarkably, the Morning Joe staff has posted the videotape of that pseudo-discussion. We can't link you to the tape at this point, but you can find it here. It runs a bit more than eight minutes.

Last night, we watched another such pseudo-discussion—a pseudo-discussion of that same question—on CNN's Anderson Cooper show. That second pseudo-discussion was staged by Anderson and Gloria, with Lena apparently agreeing to withhold what she presumably knew.

We plan to discuss that second pseudo-discussion, in detail, in tomorrow's award-winning post. For now, you can review the transcript of that "managed discussion" simply by clicking here.

According to experts, Pathological Storyline—AKA, Pathological Novelization—has become a widely-observed psychiatric disability among this failing nation's failing and failed corporate "journalists."  

The syndrome is characterized by the pathological need to create Perfect Novelized Renditions—highly selective accounts of complex sets of facts, accounts which advance the Vastly Preferred Prior Storyline of some particular group (or "tribe").

These pseudo-discussions of Trump and Covid are prime examples of this syndrome at work. So too with much press treatment of the events in Kenosha in August 2020, and of the subsequent Kyle Rittenhouse trial.

In the past few days, we've called attention to Nellie Bowles' account of the looting and arson which occurred in Kenosha in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The shooting occurred on August 23, 2020. A large amount of destruction ensued. As we've noted in the past few days, Bowles' nugget account of the matter included this:

BOWLES (11/16/20): In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.

“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.

As we noted yesterday, Bowles described the losses, financial and otherwise, experienced by various people in Kenosha as their businesses, and sometimes their residences, were summarily burned to the ground.

Money was lost; pets were killed, children's winter clothing went up in flames. Apartment dwellers lost their homes—and, according to Bowles, the losses were greater among lower-income business owners, especially among those who weren't "white."

Are looting and arson valid components of "protest?" Opinions differ on that. At the very start of her lengthy report, Bowles described the attitudes which sometimes prevail on the bluer side of the nation's current tribal divide:

BOWLES: It’s a prominent refrain these days from activists in the aftermath of arson and looting—businesses have insurance. Buildings can be repaired. Broken glass is a small price to pay in a movement for justice.

One new book, “In Defense of Looting,” for example, argued that looting was an essential tactic against a racist capitalist society, and a largely victimless crime—again, because stores will be made whole through insurance. The top editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer resigned amid an outcry for publishing the headline, “Buildings Matter, Too.”

Do mere buildings matter too? At this point, are people even allowed to make such ridiculous statements?

At any rate, so began Bowles' lengthy report—a report which was, for whatever reason, buried inside the Business section of that day's New York Times. 

In print editions, her report appeared on page 5 of the newspaper's Business section. Later in the lengthy piece, Bowles returned to the question about the propriety of looting and "property destruction:"

BOWLES: Many on the left decry anyone who criticizes looting, arguing that it is a justifiable expression of rage, widely quoting (out of context) the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that “a riot is the language of the unheard.”

At a recent antifa gathering in Portland, Ore., protesters shared literature arguing for the righteousness of property destruction with titles like “Why Break Windows.”

In a media critique earlier this year published on the website Refinery29, Britni de la Cretaz wrote: “Putting the focus on stealing objects from a store (during a pandemic, no less!) rather than on the injustice behind the looting, the horrific loss of life and racial violence that Black folks live with every day, is sending the message that property matters more than people. It just demonstrates the way that white supremacy sees more value in a TV set than in the life of a Black man.”

And Preston Mitchum, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center, said in an interview: “Businesses will be OK. You can revive a business. You can’t bring back people who are killed by the cops.”

These adjunct professors today! Businesses will be OK, this particular scholar said.

As she continued, Bowles alleged that, in many instances, businesses owned by lower- or middle-income people will not be OK. 

Large corporate entities would generally be OK, Bowles said, but it works out differently for many Others. She even offered this:

BOWLES: The Rev. Jonathan Barker, who is a pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, said the riots hit Kenosha’s most vulnerable population. And he added that they tapped into an existing racial tension in the neighborhood.

Although there are many Black residents, most of the shops are owned by Middle Eastern, Asian and Latino families.

Some businesses will never bounce back, said Mr. Tagliapietra, who has been involved in citywide discussions on redevelopment.

There the Rev. Barker went, wantonly playing the race card!

According to the Rev. Barker, the looting and the arson "hit Kenosha’s most vulnerable population." As for Bowles, she let one of the malcontents make the following claims about the people who allegedly engaged in these forms of protest:

BOWLES: At the local used tire shop, the owner, Linda Tolliver, who is white, is waiting for new windows to replace those broken in the riots (her landlord’s insurance is covering it)...

The night after her shop was broken into, she stayed inside to guard it and watch what was happening. She was shocked, she said, to see so many white protesters destroying property in the name of Black lives. And they seemed to be well-off young people, with little sense of what a storefront means to a family like hers.

“It’s some blue-haired, latte-drinking hippie in Seattle coming here to raise hell while they go home to their nice beds,” said Ms. Tolliver, who is in her late 50s. “They don’t care about any of us.”

Stating the obvious, Tolliver's claims were highly anecdotal. Crazily, she seemed to be saying that highly-principled "white" protesters don't care about lesser beings such as herself.

Who burned down all those buildings in Kenosha? We can't tell you that. We can't cite the "race" or the family incomes of these people. We can't give you percentages about how many people of which demographic were involved in doing what.

That said, is arson a valid component of protest? Opinions differ on that question, often in complex ways. In the end, there is no ultimate answer on which everyone can be made to agree.

Having said that, we'll also say this—almost surely, Tolliver was right on one basic point. 

Frequently, members of the blue elite actually don't seem to care about people like her. To cite one high-profile example, the Washington Post's Robin Givhan philosophized rather broadly after the Rittenhouse verdicts. 

Along the way, the Post's senior critic-at-large dismissed the lessers in the manner shown:

GIVHAN (11/16/21): But all too often, White men with guns do not see themselves as a danger. They cannot fathom that their actions are suspect. They cannot envision themselves as anything but patriotic and godly. Their moral certitude has been so deeply embedded into the collective mind-set that what they choose to protect, whether a nondescript auto center or a vulnerable human being, is quickly presumed to be valuable and worthy of protection. 

On August 25, 2020, a group of "White men with guns" (including at least one "white" teenager) had been guarding a used car lot at which 140 cars had already been set ablaze. 

To the exquisite and lordly Givhan, the family-owned business in question was just "a nondescript auto center." Who but a bunch of vigilantes could have "presumed" such a nondescript place "to be valuable and worthy of protection?"

When we read words like those from the likes of the Princeton-credentialed Givhan, we think of Woody Guthrie. 

The Givhans have always regarded the lessers in the way she so clearly conveyed. Back in the Dust Bowl days, Guthrie's protagonist said it this way in one of his greatest songs:

I've mined in your mines and I've gathered in your corn
I've been working, Mister, since the day I was born
Now I worry all the time like I never did before
'Cause I ain't got no home in this world any more.

Now as I look around, it's mighty plain to see
This world is such a great and a funny place to be.
The gamblin' man is rich and the workin' man is poor,
And I ain't got no home in this world any more.

Guthrie's (former) working man pretty much had it right. 

Today, the gamblin' man is still rich, but so are the lordly beings who may inhabit Givhan's guild. All across the fruited plain, "from California to the New York island," The Others are able to see our tribe as we behave in these ways.

As is true with most human tribes, we're generally unable to see ourselves. More and more, and more and more, our corporate journalists may be inclined to keep us in the dark.

We'll continue this study next week. We'll continue to discuss the information presented on Fox News concerning Kenosha, as opposed to the reams of information which got disappeared Over Here.

As our tribunes disappeared those reams of information, Storyline conquered Kenosha. The Others were told about what we were doing. We ourselves remained in the dark, barefoot and largely clueless and feeding on Storyline

Next week: The things our tribe never heard

Two performances: Ain't Got No Home In This World Any More is one of Guthrie's greatest songs. For the classic Guthrie recording, you can just click here.

Back in 1988, Bruce Springsteen recorded the song for a Folkways tribute album. In our view, it was an inspired performance.

STORYLINE CONQUERS KENOSHA: Someone calls Kyle a different name!

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2021

"Samaritan" now suggested: Did Donald J. Trump think he had Covid when he debated Joe Biden? What did his aides believe?

Based on current reporting, we can't answer your questions. We can tell you this:

This very morning, on Morning Joe, we watched a thoroughly bogus "discussion" concerning this very topic. Long story short: 

The story works better for tribal purposes if we assume that Donald J. Trump did believe—indeed, if we assert that he actually knew—that he did have Covid. 

Presumably for that reason, Joe and Mika and Willie—but also Jonathan and Elise—conducted a long pseudo-discussion at the start of today's TV show. During their pseudo-discussion, they kept failing to mention the second Covis test which Trump allegedly took.

According to the current (slender) state of the reporting, that second test had said that Trump didn't have Covid. Presumably for purposes of tribal pleasure, the Morning Joe gang disappeared all mention of that second (alleged) test as they conducted their remarkably selective and thoroughly bogus chat.

For the record, we don't know what Trump knew or believed at the time of that debate. We don't even know if that second (alleged) test actually happened. 

We would assume that there were several other tests at that time. At present, the (slender) state of the reporting doesn't address that apparent likelihood.

At any rate, Joe and Mika and Willie and them staged a long pseudo-discussion. The pleasure came from their willingness to disappear a key bit of information—the claim that Trump took a second, more reliable test, and that it came back negative.

The conversation they conducted today was phony as a three-dollar bill. That said, much of American "mews" culture is now built around such performances.

Our failing nation's pseudo-discourse is built around such tribal novelizations. Consider the information which got disappeared concerning the looting and arson in Kenosha.

For this, we return to Nellie Bowles' lengthy, detailed report in the New York Times. 

As we noted yesterday, the report was published on November 16, 2020—November of last year. In print editions, the lengthy report was buried deep inside the paper. In print, it appeared on page 5 of Section B, and it carried this slightly odd headline:

After the Protests: Gaps in Small-Business Insurance

Given the nature of Bowles' report, that headline is perhaps a tiny bit comical, but also perhaps instructive. We refer to its use of the phrase, "After the protests."  

Bowles wasn't exactly describing the effects of Kenosha's "protests." In reality, she was describing the effects of the looting and arson which had occurred in Kenosha, but mainly the widespread arson.

The pair of headlines which appear online are much more representative of the article's actual content. They don't include the word "protests." They refer to unrest, looting and arson.

Ladies and gentlemen, what's in a word?  At any rate, as we noted yesterday, Bowles' nugget went like this:

BOWLES (11/16/20): On the burned-out blocks hit by unrest since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis in late spring, the reality is complicated. Mr. Floyd’s death was the start of months of protests for racial justice led by the Black Lives Matter movement that have left long-term economic damage, especially in lower-income business districts.

While large chains like Walmart and Best Buy have excellent insurance, many small businesses that have been burned down in the riots lack similar coverage. And for them, there is no easy way to replace all that they lost.

In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.

“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.

Bowles referred to "protests" in that passage, but she also referred to "riots." Her report focused on the losses incurred in Kenosha, largely as a result of the arson which took place during the "unrest."

According to Bowles, the big corporate stores tend to be well insured. The little guys often are not. 

She described an array of losses in Kenosha. One story went like this:

BOWLES: When people started burning down buildings in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, Tony Farhan prayed that his electronics shop would be left alone.

The Farhans have struggled economically in recent years. Mr. Farhan, his wife and their four sons moved in with his parents while their savings went to one son’s health care. Mr. Farhan’s ambition for a better life was tied up in the shop. So were many of his family’s belongings. They couldn’t fit all the clothes and toys for their boys in the crowded house they shared with his parents, so they tucked things away into the shop storage room. “Half my house was in there,” said Mr. Farhan, 36, who grew up in Kenosha.

The shop, which sells cellphones, charging cords, headphones and speakers, was looted on the night Mr. Blake was shot and burned the next. So was his brother’s shoe and clothing shop next door. The apartment units upstairs burned with them, as did many other buildings in the working-class neighborhood of Uptown Kenosha, a historic and bustling multicultural neighborhood. Weeks later it remained a scene of char and rubble.

They have insurance, though they say it is not enough, and now they are tangling to get the money. But personal items they stored in the shops were not insured, they said. Mr. Farhan does not know how he will pay to replace his children’s winter clothes that were in a storage room.

[...]

In the units above the Farhans’ shops, all the tenants made it out alive, but several family pets died in the fires, the brothers said. One upstairs resident started an online fund-raiser the brothers highlighted: “My mom and I lost everything and our 2 cats and now my mom is homeless and I would like to try to raise money to help her with getting a place,” the tenant’s daughter, Ashley Powell, wrote on the GoFundMe page.

According to experts, the lizard brain is capable of explaining all that away. Bowles also tried to milk this transparent sob story:

BOWLES: [T]he pain was broadly felt. At the local used tire shop, the owner, Linda Tolliver, who is white, is waiting for new windows to replace those broken in the riots (her landlord’s insurance is covering it). In the meantime, she estimated she was paying $800 extra each month to heat the shop, which now lacks proper windows, and she is working all day behind plywood without natural light. So Ms. Tolliver said she was making do with less—cutting back on employee hours and forgoing the new winter uniforms her workers need.

The night after her shop was broken into, she stayed inside to guard it and watch what was happening. She was shocked, she said, to see so many white protesters destroying property in the name of Black lives. And they seemed to be well-off young people, with little sense of what a storefront means to a family like hers.

According to experts, the lizard brain is going to say that Tolliver is "a hater." Along the way, many lizards will say, Bowles was willing to play the race and class cards:

BOWLES: One pattern that emerged in the aftermath of the riots in Kenosha: Many white-owned businesses like Mr. Carpenter’s had better, more comprehensive insurance and records than those owned by people of color, according to several leaders in the business community.

[...]

The city’s lower- and middle-class business owners were ultimately hit harder than the more affluent. When the riots started on a Sunday night, Kenosha’s wealthier and whiter Downtown organized quickly to board up the storefronts, thanks to a longstanding tight-knit business association. By the next morning at 7, hundreds of volunteers were gathering with hammers and nails. Those who couldn’t hammer came with water and sandwiches. Several shops had already been looted and damaged. But mostly, the area was protected.

Uptown Kenosha, a less affluent area, did not have a well-resourced tight-knit business association. Many shop owners could not afford to buy the plywood boards to protect their businesses in time, though Downtown quickly came to help both financially and physically with volunteers. Still, block after block burned over the course of the week. Protests continued long after the nights of fire and looting, but they became more quiet and peaceful. Now, old exterior walls of stores still stand uptown, but inside many shops are just piles of bricks, melted plastic and twisted chairs.

Lower-income people, and people of color, were harder hit by the arson, the demonic Bowles alleged. 

"Still, the pain was broadly felt," her editors made her admit. Eventually, she described this case:

BOWLES: One company that became an iconic local scene of the destruction is Car Source, which sells used cars. Some 140 vehicles in its lot were destroyed by arson. The family that owns the lot, of Indian descent, estimates the damage at $2.5 million. They have been fighting with their insurer, which initially attempted to classify the damage as the result of a domestic terrorism incident—an event not covered by their plan, said Anmol Khindri, whose family owns the business. Most of their business records were destroyed in the fire, and many of the car VIN numbers were burned off, making it hard to prove how much was lost. The family hired a lawyer to help (the lawyer takes a percentage of whatever is paid out).

“I’m keeping my expectations low,” Mr. Khindri said. “I’m already broke. I’ve got no money. It’s been total loss.”

According to Bowles, some 140 vehicles in Car Source's lot were destroyed by arson. On the third night of the "protests," men with rifles—and at least one teenager—stood in front of one of the Car Source lots to try to keep the number right there. 

Khindri has said that he didn't ask them to do that. Others have testified, under oath, that he actually did.

Questions arise at this point. Under the circumstances, were the men who guarded the Car Source lot behaving as "vigilantes?" 

Posing our question in a less dramatic way, should they have been there at all that night? If so, should they have been there with guns?

Let's return to Linda Tolliver, who stayed inside her used tire shop to guard it during the rioting. Was she behaving as a vigilante when she did that? At times of such breakdowns in normal order, is it OK for owners to guard their shops, but wrong for anyone else?

We ask one final question:

If a person attempted to guard one of those threatened businesses, had that person gone to the scene of "a protest?" Woulf that be the most accurate way to describe where that person had gone?

Bowles described some of what happened in the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake. Her lengthy report contained a great deal of real information. 

Right through the end of the Rittenhouse trial, you were much more likely to be exposed to such information if you were watching the Fox News Channel. On our own gruesome tribe's Cuomo-infested corporate channels, such information was almost wholly avoided, withheld, disappeared.

Tomorrow, we'll return to Bowles' report to describe some of the attitudes behind such selective presentation of information. For today, we'll tell you this:

Our tribe has widely name-called Rittenhouse as a "vigilante"—insanely adding, as if by law, that he even "crossed state lines!" By way of contrast, some experts are calling him a local teenager—and some are even calling him a totally different name.

If you were eager to call him a name, what type of name-calling would you select? Today, we won't mention the new name we've heard, but we will type it tomorrow.

Tomorrow: Who cares what happens to Them?

Those achievement gaps in Minneapolis!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2021

At the New York Times, no one cares: Let's return to Sunday's report about the Minneapolis public schools. 

(For our prior discussion click here.)

The report appeared on the front page of Sunday's New York Times. Inevitably, this means that the report focused on the school district's plan to "integrate / desegregate" its high schools.

In theory—if not always in practice—it's a good idea when districts attempt to improve racial balance in their various schools. But as we've noted again and again, there's no other aspect of public schooling the Times seems to care about, or even to have heard of. 

"Desegregation" just sounds so good, if only for performative purposes! Along the way, the Times routinely pays zero attention to throw-away statements like this:

MERVOSH (11/28/21): “There is not a single school district in the U.S. that is even moderately segregated that does not have a large achievement gap,” said Sean Reardon, the lead author on the paper and the director of the Educational Opportunity Project at Stanford University.

The situation is especially stark in Minneapolis, a deeply segregated city. The district of 30,500 students is diverse: about 41 percent white, 35 percent Black, 14 percent Hispanic, 5 percent Asian American and 4 percent Native American.

But white students test four to five grade levels ahead of Black, Hispanic and Native students, and two and a half grade levels ahead of Asian students, making the district’s disparities one of the worst in the country, according to the Educational Opportunity Project. A large gap also exists between poor and nonpoor students.

At the Times, performance is all! Consider:

Its newly assigned education reporter made no attempt to explain the claim that Minneapolis is "a deeply segregated city." 

Earlier in her report, she made no attempt to support the even more aggressive claim that Minneapolis ranks "among the most segregated school districts in the country."  

Who knows? Each of those statements could even be true in some sense! But when it comes to performative fare, simply making the high-minded claims is the source of the larger joy. 

At this point, we come to the part of the deal on which the Times rarely wastes its breath. We refer to this stunning though remarkably fuzzy assertion:

"But white students test four to five grade levels ahead of Black, Hispanic and Native students...making the district’s disparities one of the worst in the country."

In Minneapolis, white students test four to five grade levels ahead of black students? That's what the passage says.

Meanwhile, alas! Editors at the Times were too incompetent—or too uncaring—to ask Mervosh to say at what grade level this claim could be true.

Incredibly, the statement is based upon data including kids from Grade 3 through Grade 8! This seems to mean that this yawning disparity is already in place by, let's say, the end of sixth grade. 

We agree! That doesn't exactly seem to make sense, but it's good enough for public school work at the New York Times. It's good enough when the Times is discussing the only public school topic it actually seems to care about—the topic of "desegregation." 

In Sunday's report, the editors let Mervosh hurry on from that remarkable statement about achievement gaps without further explication. Nor will this newspaper ever attempt to clarify, or further explore, this puzzling bit of work.

What do data actually show about black and white kids in Minneapolis?  "Achievement gaps" are harder to measure than height or weight, but how much do we actually know about the size of such gaps?

Education reporters at the Times tend to avoid such questions. It's to Mervosh's credit that those unexplained data appeared in her lengthy report at all, before she hurried along to talk about "desegregation."

What's the actual state of play in this city's schools? What kinds of gaps appear in the early grades, and what can be done about them?

Questions like these will rarely or never be discussed in a newspaper like the Times. An irony lurks at this heart of this matter:

The Times is almost completely illiterate (and innumerate) when it comes to such topics as this.

The New York Times likes to thrill the crowd with vastly underfed work on questions of "desegregation." As it does, it walks away from the serious questions involving the good and decent kids, of all types and all descriptions, who attend our nation's public schools.

Mervosh is new to the public school beat. Her inexperience isn't her doing or her fault.

The problem lies with the clownlike newspaper for which she currently works. What's happening in this nation's schools?

You'll never find out at the New York Times. Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves:

At the New York Times, Homey don't care!

STORYLINE CONQUERS KENOSHA: The information which gets withheld!

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2021

For example, those several reports: We were planning to focus today on what Nellie Bowles saw.

Until recently, Bowles was a reporter for the New York Times. On November 16, 2020, the Times published this lengthy report by Bowles—a lengthy report from Kenosha.

In her lengthy and detailed news report, Bowles focused on some of the people whose livelihoods were destroyed in the looting—but especially, in the arson—which took place in Kenosha in late August 2020.

Her report was lengthy and detailed. After some spiky early observations, she offered this overview:

BOWLES (11/16/20): On the burned-out blocks hit by unrest since the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, in Minneapolis in late spring, the reality is complicated. Mr. Floyd’s death was the start of months of protests for racial justice led by the Black Lives Matter movement that have left long-term economic damage, especially in lower-income business districts.

While large chains like Walmart and Best Buy have excellent insurance, many small businesses that have been burned down in the riots lack similar coverage. And for them, there is no easy way to replace all that they lost.

In Kenosha, more than 35 small businesses were destroyed, and around 80 were damaged, according to the city’s business association. Almost all are locally owned and many are underinsured or struggling to manage.

“It’s a common problem, businesses being underinsured, and the consequences can be devastating,” said Peter Kochenburger, executive director of the Insurance Law LL.M. Program and a University of Connecticut law professor.

“We can’t call corporate,” said Ricardo Tagliapietra, who owns three restaurants in Kenosha. “There’s no backup.”

Bowles' text referred to "protests for racial justice"—but it also referred to "riots." Some cable channels played the one card, while disappearing the other.

Tagliapietra was the first in a substantial set of small business owners whose losses, financial and personal, were explored by Bowles. Along the way, she mentioned the way losses were often borne by those with the fewest resources:

BOWLES: One pattern that emerged in the aftermath of the riots in Kenosha: Many white-owned businesses like Mr. Carpenter’s had better, more comprehensive insurance and records than those owned by people of color, according to several leaders in the business community.

[...]

The city’s lower- and middle-class business owners were ultimately hit harder than the more affluent. When the riots started on a Sunday night, Kenosha’s wealthier and whiter Downtown organized quickly to board up the storefronts, thanks to a longstanding tight-knit business association. By the next morning at 7, hundreds of volunteers were gathering with hammers and nails. Those who couldn’t hammer came with water and sandwiches. Several shops had already been looted and damaged. But mostly, the area was protected.

Uptown Kenosha, a less affluent area, did not have a well-resourced tight-knit business association. Many shop owners could not afford to buy the plywood boards to protect their businesses in time, though Downtown quickly came to help both financially and physically with volunteers. Still, block after block burned over the course of the week. 

According to Bowles' report, the biggest losses were experienced by non-white and lower-income business owners. Such trivialities were rarely explored by the news orgs which service our own liberal tribe.

In her report, Bowles went into substantial detail about the losses, financial and personal, suffered by small business owners in Kenosha (though not by Walmart or Best Buy).  She also described the somewhat peculiar attitudes toward arson and arson-related losses voiced by some within the progressive world.

These matters are all worth reviewing. The chances are good that you never heard such topics discussed on the (corporate) "cable news" channels which mainly exist to reinforce the feelings, and promote the Storylines, which prevail within our own tribe. 

"Liberal" news orgs tended to skip the topics explored in the Bowles report. When it came to matters like this, people who watched the Fox News Channel were offered much more information than we more advanced people were.

This is the type of information which our own tribe's corporate tribunes tended to disappear. This may help explain why liberals say that Kyle Rittenhouse decided to take a gun "to a protest," while The Others may be more likely to say that, for better or worse, the teenager decided to take his gun to a used car lot.

For now, a minor postponement! We'll plan to review the contents of Bowles' report in more detail tomorrow. This postponement allows us to mention something we ourselves had never heard about until yesterday afternoon.

We refer to the recent report from the Biden Administration about the shooting of Jacob Blake—the incident which touched off the subsequent events in Kenosha. 

We'll start with what passes for the good news. Jacob Blake wasn't shot and killed in that incident, as at least two major journalists (and one major Democratic official) reported in the immediate aftermath of the verdicts in the Rittenhouse trial.

The cluelessness of such people may suggest how much they actually care about these instantly novelized matters. But yesterday, we came across a recent report for Politico magazine, in which Charlie Sykes mentioned this:

SYKES (11/22/21): Just last month, the Biden Department of Justice found that there was insufficient evidence that the police officer who shot Blake “willfully used excessive force.” That finding mirrored the decisions by the local district attorney, the state’s own Justice Department, and an independent review by the African American former police chief of the state’s most progressive city.

Today, we're prepared to admit it! We're not sure we ever heard that the Biden Justice Department had issued any such report.

Beyond that, we don't exactly recall hearing about those other reports. We certainly didn't hear much about the contents of those other reports. Our tribe has been disappearing the contents of reports like these for roughly the past dozen years: 

SYKES: In January, when he announced his decision not to file charges against Officer Rusten Sheskey, District Attorney Michael Gravely—an elected Democrat—explained that officers were responding to a domestic disturbance call and were attempting to arrest Blake “because he had a felony arrest warrant for domestic violence offenses and a sexual assault.”

His 87 page report—which is largely based on an in-depth investigation by the state Justice Department’s Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI)—painstakingly dismantled the narrative that Blake was an innocent victim.

[...]

In reaching his conclusion not to charge the officer, the district attorney relied on an independent report from former Madison, Wisconsin police chief Noble Wray, one of the state’s most prominent African American law enforcement officers.

We've often been struck, in the past year, by the way our tribe's news orgs were picking and choosing what to report about the unfortunate events of the day on which Blake was shot. We don't recall ever hearing about the several reports Sykes described.

Meanwhile, Sykes' account of the contents of those reports goes beyond anything we've previously heard about that unfortunate failed arrest. If it's information you seek, we'll suggest that you click to Sykes' report and see what he presents. 

Stating the obvious, none of that tells us what to think about what Rittenhouse did two days later. It does point to a startling fact about our current "news" culture, in which warring tribes present highly selective, competing accounts of widely discussed events.

Did Rittenhouse go to a protest on August 25, or to a used car lot? Also, why did he go wherever he went? Why was he there at all?

Depending on the tribe to which you belong at this time, you've heard vastly different accounts of all these surrounding events. Your judgments concerning what Rittenhouse did may turn on which facts you've been allowed to know, and on which facts got disappeared.

Tomorrow, we'll return to Bowles' report about the aftermath of the arson in Kenosha. Almost surely, the contents of her report will be more familiar to The Others—to those who watch Fox News—than to those in our liberal tribe. 

Within our tribe, such material was largely disappeared as Storyline conquered Kenosha. As we tried to send a local teenager—or perhaps a "vigilante" who had "crossed state lines"—to jail for the rest of his life.

Tomorrow: Who cares about what Bowles saw?