Willing to ask, what is truth: We’re happy to say that the new Salon has done something journalistic!
To convince yourselves, click here. A bright young kid named Joanna Rothkopf is the virtuous party. (Middlebury, class of 2012!)
Working from a New York Times report, Rothkopf said there are conflicting accounts of the way Michael Brown came to be shot and killed. She said the grand jury which convenes today will have to figure out what actually happened.
Rothkopf didn’t do a perfect job of paraphrasing the Times. Still, it’s nice to see Salon step outside the realm of hard scripting for once.
Here’s what the New York Times said at the start of today’s report, Frances Robles reporting:
ROBLES (8/20/14): As a county grand jury prepared to hear evidence on Wednesday in the shooting death of a black teenager by a white police officer that touched off 10 days of unrest here, witnesses have given investigators sharply conflicting accounts of the killing.According to Robles, “the accounts of what witnesses have said come from some of those witnesses themselves, law enforcement authorities and others in Ferguson. Many spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.”
Some of the accounts seem to agree on how the fatal altercation initially unfolded: with a struggle between the officer, Darren Wilson, and the teenager, Michael Brown. Officer Wilson was inside his patrol car at the time, while Mr. Brown, who was unarmed, was leaning in through an open window.
Many witnesses also agreed on what happened next: Officer Wilson’s firearm went off inside the car, Mr. Brown ran away, the officer got out of his car and began firing toward Mr. Brown, and then Mr. Brown stopped, turned around and faced the officer.
But on the crucial moments that followed, the accounts differ sharply, officials say. Some witnesses say that Mr. Brown, 18, moved toward Officer Wilson, possibly in a threatening manner, when the officer shot him dead. But others say that Mr. Brown was not moving and may even have had his hands up when he was killed.
Who are these witnesses? We don’t know.
How sharp are the differences in their accounts? We don’t know that either. Nor do we have any way of knowing what actually happened when Brown was killed, beyond the obvious.
That said, this report from the New York Times is important. Here’s why:
If you watched cable news last night, you saw the world splitting in two. In our view, Our Own Liberal World was on the wrong side of the divide once again.
On Fox, you heard complaints about prejudgment. On MSNBC, prejudgment was being applauded. Many people spoke as if the purpose of our justice system is to reach the verdicts which will calm those who have prejudged.
What actually happened when Brown was killed? We can’t tell you that. But once again, we liberals have cast ourselves on the side of old-fashioned southern justice.
The claim that Brown was shot “in the back” has already turned out to be wrong. But then, many of our claims turned out to be wrong in the Trayvon Martin killing, including the early heinous claim that two shots were fired that night—a warning shot and a second “kill shot.”
That heinous claim appeared in the New York Times, courtesy of lawyers for the Martins. The claim that Brown was shot “in the back” was being repeated on the front page of the Washington Post last Sunday, long after it should have been clear that newspapers should be careful.
How does southern justice work, whether performed by red or blue cadres? Wesley Lowery’s report in today’s Washington Post describes the ugly two-step which has wreaked havoc all through our American history.
Let’s hear it for southern justice! Fresh from his recent imprisonment, Lowery describes the way the mob burned the QuikTrip down:
LOWREY (8/20/14): The red and white gas station at the corner of West Florissant Avenue and Northwinds Estates Drive was the victim of a rumor.There you see the ugly two-step, live and direct from American history:
On Sunday, there was a false report that employees of the gas station had called 911 to report that Michael Brown, whose fatal shooting by police 11 days ago precipitated the crisis in the city, had robbed the place. Enraged protesters burned the gas station to the ground.
Destroyed, it sat unattended for days, emerging as the depressing backdrop for cable news live reports—a sign of the chaos and destruction that engulfs the streets of Ferguson after each nightfall.
First step: Rumor starts; enraged mob believes it.Or kills bad person. Whatever!
Second step: Mob burns store to the ground.
This is a time-honored part of our American history. The embarrassment in recent years involves the way the liberal world has cast itself in the role of the mob.
Last night, The One True Channel was prejudging rather hard. Our stars discussed the way the grand jury has to please the angry people in the street.
Many people in the street have prejudged the facts. In part, this has happened because of the failure of our alleged journalists.
This morning, Salon is saying the facts aren’t settled yet. Such words have never pleased the mob. In comments, Rothkopf is getting pounded by advocates of Our Own Southern Justice.
Journalistic values have often been AWOL in the past week. This morning, Salon and Rothkopf clambered back on board the bus.
This just in from Postscript land: We understand. In this case, you know what happened.
Please understand one basic fact. The mob has always said that!