Supplemental: This is what a “source” looks like!


Burnett interviews Craig Carton:
Last Thursday evening, Erin Burnett conducted a highly instructive interview.

She spoke with a man named Craig Carton. He was introduced as “a friend of Ray Rice.”

Eventually, Carton seemed to say that Rice was honest and forthright with Roger Goodell in the now-famous June 16 meeting. You can see the relevant transcript below.

Just for fun, we’re including one comical part of the error-strewn CNN transcript—the description of Carton as a “childhood friend of Ray Rice.” (Carton is eighteen years older than Rice.)

We’ve also corrected massive errors in CNN’s official transcript of what was said in the interview. For details, see our next post.

(We made the corrections by watching the interview through our cable system’s On Demand feature.)

CNN’s official transcript is an astonishing error-strewn mess. As usual, Burnett’s interview techniques were extremely weak.

But Burnett’s interview with Carton was highly instructive in one key respect. In the wake of that ESPN report, it gives us a clearer idea of what a “source” may look like:
BURNETT (9/11/14): And we want bring in Craig Carton. He is a friend of Ray Rice. Just spoke to Rice on Tuesday, one day after the surveillance tape from the elevator was made public. You spoke to him today, is that right?

CRAIG CARTON, CHILDHOOD FRIEND OF RAY RICE: Yes, we texted back and forth today.

BURNETT: So what did he say?

CARTON: Well listen, he committed a horrendous crime against his wife, the mother of his child. He knows it. He takes ownership of it. He's not proud of that moment. He has to do a lot of work to repair his image. He has let a lot of people down, namely his wife and daughter and himself.

And he is committed to do that. And there is the Ray Rice who needs to go to counseling and figure it out. And then separately, over here, is Ray Rice the football player.

BURNETT: So what is his reaction to the suspension? This key [ESPN] report— you are saying you knew that he told Roger Goodell months ago what happened. That he told him that he hit his wife months ago.

CARTON: Listen, he told everyone that asked, that was in a position of authority, from the NFL to his bosses with the Ravens, what he did. He took ownership of the despicable act and tried to make it right.

Ray Rice did something horrendously wrong. But the NFL's reaction to it and how they have vacillated back and forth of what the punishment should be and what they did and don't know is wrong.


BURNETT: What do you think will happen to Roger Goodell?

CARTON: I think if they can prove that Roger Goodell also saw that video, the second video—

BURNETT: But you think he needs to see the video? That Ray Rice directly telling him wasn’t enough?

CARTON: No, I don’t. They’re two separate issues. What should happen to Roger? Roger will be the commissioner unless they can prove that he saw that video and told that lie.

No one needs to see it and here is why. It doesn't change the fundamental facts of the case. You had the police report—he hit her, rendered her unconscious. He admitted it to everybody in the room.

BURNETT: He told Roger Goodell.
For background on the ESPN report, see Saturday’s post.

Plainly, Carton said that Rice was forthright with Roger Goodell in the June 16 meeting. “He hit her, rendered her unconscious. He admitted it to everybody in the room.”

That may be accurate, of course. We aren’t in a position to know.

(Warning! In this context, the word “hit” is a bit problematic. It could mean “punched” and it could mean “slapped.” All too plainly, Rice punched Janay Palmer.)

We aren’t in a position to know what Rice told Roger Goodell in that meeting. Having said that, let us also say this:

Craig Carton isn’t in a position to know what Rice said either!

Carton didn’t attend the June 16 meeting. When he spoke with Burnett, he seemed to be repeating what he’d been told by Rice.

Last Thursday, we watched this interview as it aired. We were struck by Burnett’s failure to make a basic fact explicit—Carton has no first-hand knowledge of what Rice told Goodell.

Earlier in the show, Burnett had been pimping the claims in that “key [ESPN] report,” claims which make Goodell a liar. She failed to note an important fact—the ESPN report never claims that its “sources” have first-hand knowledge of what Rice said in that meeting.

Carton lacks first-hand knowledge too! In that sense, he shows us what a journalistic “source” may sometimes look like.

Who is Craig Carton? Despite the clownish CNN transcript, he isn’t a “childhood friend” of Rice.

At age 45, Carton is eighteen years older than Rice, a fact which seemed rather obvious as we watched the interview in real time. He hails from the world of “sports talk” radio, a fact which Burnett should have included in her introduction.

According to the leading authority, Carton is “an American radio personality who currently co-hosts the Boomer and Carton in the Morning radio program” on WFAN, the New York City AM sports radio giant. Obviously, Burnett should have included this basic fact when she introduced Carton.

(Carton is also a bit of a loudmouth. We use that term because that’s the title of the book he wrote about himself.)

Everything Carton said to Burnett may be perfectly accurate. But Carton has no first-hand knowledge of what Rice said to Goodell.

Burnett should have noted this fact. That said, this interview gives us a picture of what a “source” will sometimes be like.

In that “key ESPN report,” Don Van Natta cites four (anonymous) sources who say that Rice was forthright with Goodell in the June 16 meeting. Unfortunately, Van Natta never claims that any of his sources were actually present at the meeting.

By 8 PM last Thursday night, CNN was reporting that all four sources attended the meeting, a claim which is almost surely untrue.

CNN also claimed that the four sources said that Rice told Goodell that he had punched his then-fiancée. None of the sources are actually quoted using that word in the ESPN report.

Was Craig Carton one of Van Natta’s sources? We have no idea. Incredibly, Burnett didn’t ask.

But Carton showed you what a journalist’s “sources” may sometimes look like. He made a very convincing case in favor of Rice, but he was simply repeating things he had been told.

He had no first-hand information. CNN’s telegenic TV star failed to note this fact.

Carton doesn’t actually know what Rice said to Goodell. Do Van Natta’s “sources” know?

That basic question remains unanswered. When our “journalism” comes from Salem Village, does anyone actually care?

Next: A look at that hideous, error-strewn CNN transcript


  1. Forget the carton. Bob has done found where they hid the whole damn strawberry patch, transcript an all!

    1. Here is the point, since you obviously missed it. You need to be critical (skeptical) when today's journalists refer to sources because their idea of a source is someone who said something, not someone who was in a position to know or who had first-hand knowledge. Anyone can be a source by today's criteria, so listeners must be very cautious about accepting what they hear as news on today's cable shows.

      I know you think it is more fun making semi-coherent jabs at Somerby, but this is an important point that was worth making about how journalism is being conducted these days.

    2. @11:23 -- are you suggesting it doesn't matter whether the transcripts posted by cable news shows are accurate or not?

    3. No. I suggested nothing of the sort.

      I would suggest having this NFL story as the most prominent thing covered on a show that buried the fact that the CIA just tripled its troop estimate for ISIS at the end of the broadcast is a more serious error of journalistic judgement than the use of an incorrect identifier of a sports radio talk show host.

      But since Bob was critical of Burnett for not mentioning Carton's real job, lets be critical of Bob for not mentioning that this is at the top of the CNN transcript he keeps calling "official" and you seem to think is important:


    4. Yes, just stamp something preliminary and it no longer matters how good it is.

  2. Maybe Carton is a childhood friend of Rice's because Rice is still in his childhood and they are currently friends?

    1. Which one of them beat up the Unreliable Wildstein and took his lunch money for the Christie Gang?

  3. Hey, is Deadrat around? I want to talk to that person. I'd like to finish up some business.

    1. Right here. Just don't hurt me.

    2. When you told me that Rice had to be the "adult" while fighting with his fiancee you were also indicating that the she was to be treated like a child. Because that's the way feminism works: Only men are held responsible for their actions. It's like having sex on campus. If a man is drunk and a woman is drunk and they both have sex and, if the woman regrets the sex in the morning the man is a rapist and the woman is his victim because they were both drunk. She gets off free and he is held responsible.

      And that's the difference between MRAs and feminists. We want to treat woman as adults. As equals. You want women treated like privileged children. The feminist approach strikes me as hilariously misogynistic.

      And so it is with domestic violence. If both are willing, enthusiastic participants and a brawl, then the woman should also be held responsible. Because she is no longer a child.

      BTW, did you know that according to polls show that less than 25% of all women consider themselves to be feminists? That means 75% of women are rejecting you. 75% of all woman are effectively saying that they think you're jerks. If you can't even reach the people who are supposed to be your core constituency may I suggest that you are, maybe doing something wrong and that maybe you need to listen to your critics for a change instead of dismissing them as stupid?

      And regarding George Zimmerman. We've already been over this but given that 1) Martin had all the time he needed to safely get back to where he was staying, 2) only made it 100 to 150 feet, 3) the state's closest witness to the fight had Martin on top of Zimmerman beating down on him, 4) Zimmerman had a broken nose and multiple injuries to the back of his head not to mention grass stains on his back, 5) Martin had grass stains on his knees and whose only injuries were on his hand consistent with punching Zimmerman, 6) Jeantel testified in court that Martin told her not to worry because he was near his father's fiancee's place and a host of other facts that we haven't already been over such as texts from Martin boasting about being in fights, what possible plausible scenario is there that makes Zimmerman the aggressor and not Martin that fits withing the known facts? I'm not saying you have to show that it's true, only show that it's plausible. As I recall the last time we went over this all I got was silence. I suppose you could just insult me and/or deny that you need to do this or in some other way try to change or ignore the subject. But, if you do, I'm going to be like the 75% of all women who refuse to self-identify as feminists and not think very much of you.

      Have fun.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. PS: There was also the time I pointed out to you that while woman have the option of getting an abortion or keeping the child whereas while men not only did not have any say in her decision but would be liable for 18 years of child support for a child they did not want if she decided to give birth, your response was to bemoan what a horrible person I was for even thinking that men should be able to opt out of fatherhood. He had to assume responsibility whether he liked it or not.

      Once again, the man has to be the adult whether he likes it or not. The woman, on the other hand, gets to blow off responsibility.

    5. News reports say that Palmer spit at Rice and yelled obscenities at him. So she was acting like a child and thus deserved to be treated like one. She didn't deserve to be knocked unconscious. Her actions may have put her in the wrong, but that doesn't mean that Rice no longer held a responsibility to act like an adult. Let me repeat what I wrote on another entry: The person who can inflict injury but sustain only insult bears the larger responsibility. Sometimes that person is a woman. In the case of a couple, one of whom is an NFL player, that person is a man.

      Please point me to a news story in which two drunk college students have sex, the woman regrets the encounter, and the man is charged with rape.

      Somehow you think I'm a feminist activist. I'm not. I don't care about your polls and I don't have "critics" I need to listen to. I'm not dismissing anyone as stupid, even DAinCA. Ignorant, sure, but that's different. Clear?

      Here's the difference between us. Although neither of us knows what transpired in the moments after Martin and Zimmerman confronted each other in the dark, you think you do because you've convinced yourself of the plausibility of your prejudices. I, on the other hand, simply don't know. I think Zimmerman is a jerk with anger issues, and I think every word of his introduced at trial was self-serving. But at least I realize that what I think isn't evidence.

      My interest is in the how the law operates. In Florida, the law permits Martin to confront Zimmerman in a public place, as foolish as that turned out to be. In Florida, the law permits Martin to use physical force to defend himself even unto striking first if he reasonably feels threatened. In Florida, the law permits Martin to act without a duty to retreat in the face of a threat and to use deadly force if the threat is serious enough. And naturally, the law accords exactly the same rights to Zimmerman. So before we can make a legal determination, we have to know who was reasonably afraid of whom. And in Florida, each man could have been reasonably afraid of the other. As I've said before, if Martin had also been armed, he and Zimmerman could have shot each other, and if both men gave the same dying declaration -- "I thought he was going to kill me." -- to an EMT before they expired, then nobody could have sued for wrongful death because they both would have been justified in shooting. (And a dying declaration is admissible hearsay unlike almost all of Jeantel's testimony.)

      The law requires us to make our determination based neither on Jeantel's hearsay nor on Martin's prior bad acts.

      Martin: You're following me. You got a problem?
      Zimmerman: I don't have a problem; you do. I'm packing.
      Zimmerman then reaches for his cell phone, and Martin knocks him down.

      Martin: You're following me. You got a problem?
      Zimmerman: No, I don't have a problem.
      Zimmerman then backs up, and Martin knocks him down.

      Again, let me point out the difference between us. I don't know which of those scenarios happened, if either. You think you do.

      And let me tell ya, Sparky, I don't think much of people who insist that they know what they can't. And I don't care much about what those kind of people think of me.

    6. First fo all, you have no way of knowing whether he intended to knock her out. I said both bear responsibility in part because she was coming after him. In fact, further review of the video shows that, when he hit her she was coming at him with her right hand up in a closed fist. If you don't want a man to hit you, don't physically assail him.

      Here's an article about the double standard regarding sex, rape and alcohol on campus:

      As regard to Martin/Zimmerman. Zimmerman describes Martin on the police recording as running up the walkway. We can hear Zimmerman getting out of the car and then his voice and some noise presumably from moving that sounds nothing like running. And Zimmerman immediately agreed with told that he didn't have to follow Martin. And we know that it was at least three-and-a-half minutes before Zimmerman told police that he saw Martin running away and the onset of their fatal confrontation. Unless Martin is laying in wait or doubling back how is it possible that the confrontation took place such a short distance away from Martin's departure point? from the street? You have utterly failed address this screamingly obvious problem. Your scenario flagrantly ignores basic facts of the case. You have failed.

      And I have repeatedly said not that Martin was definitely the aggressor but that the evidence "overwhelmingly" points to Martin's guilt. You haven't done a thing to knock my case apart.

      Jeantel's "hearsay" was considered good enough to be admitted in court. It's good enough for me. And Martin's prior bad behavior shows that he liked getting into fights. You can't logically dismiss that.

      As far as your claims that your not a feminist or left-winger or whatever, I sincerely doubt you're being truthful. You seem to have a huge bug up your ass whenever I call into question the left-wing party line but I don't see you getting equally worked up the other way around. People lie and actions speak louder than words. And you have demonstrated yourself to be a most unreliable narrator.

      I dismiss thee as an asshole.

    7. Certainly I have no way of knowing whether Rice intended to knock out his fiance. You'll find that I rarely declare I know things that I don't know. That's your game. In fact, I'd guess the blow was done reflexively in anger, but that's just a guess. I also agree that attacking your partner is out of bounds. I've said so repeatedly, but you seem not to want to hear it. I've also said repeatedly that Palmer was no threat to Rice, so he bears some responsibility for using disproportionate force. For some reason, you don't want to hear that either.

      Your link is paywalled. Please give me an example of a college couple who have sex when they're both drunk, the woman regrets the encounter, and the man is later charged with rape.

      The only screamingly obvious problem is your inability to stop your prejudices from overwhelming your judgment. All the evidence points to Martin taking steps to confront Zimmerman. This turns out to have been a colossal misjudgment, but it doesn't make Martin the aggressor under the law; it makes him a dumb kid. You seem to think you have a case to knock apart, but all you've got is absolute conviction in the reliability of your prejudices. The law requires knowing what happened immediately after the two came face to face, and that's something only two people ever knew. One of them killed the other, and the survivor didn't take the stand.

      Jeantel's testimony with regard to anything but Martin's words to her is hearsay. No need for scare quotes. Hearsay of this kind is unreliable because it's not first-hand. Jeantel's was admitted because the defense made no objection, likely because she was such a train wreck for the prosecution. As I recall, Martin liked to boast about his fighting ability. More hearsay. I think teenage posturing is poor evidence. Evidently you disagree. Even if Martin got into trouble in school (and spray-painting a locker seems to be the extent of his transgressions), the law for good reason recognizes that isn't evidence for what happened the night he was killed. You apparently disagree.

      Is it possible or even plausible that Martin was the aggressor? Of course. Overwhelmingly so? That's in your head. Just a few days ago, Zimmerman was involved in a road-rage incident, in which he threatened to kill another driver. Does that mean that he was the aggressor in his fight with Martin? No. Will it even give you pause as you continue to insist that you know what you can't? That I predict will be another no.

      An unreliable narrator is someone who gives a faulty account of the events in which he is or claims to be a participant. When it comes to the crucial part of the fight, I've told you I don't know what happened. The only narrative here is yours. And it's characteristic of your commentary. You read my words and you think you can tell I've got a bug up my ass or that I hew to some imaginary "left-wing party line." But that's all just stories in your head, much like the story you tell yourself about Martin and Zimmerman.

      With the exception of my claim not to be a feminist activist, you can check everything else I've told you. If your posting history is any indication, it's not likely you'll do any checking. But I recommend it to you.

      The irony is that you comment on a blog whose owner's theme is that all (and especially journalists) should question their favorite narratives as they make sure to stick to facts. Apparently you've learned nothing from the time you've spent here.

    8. "She didn't deserve to be knocked unconscious."

      To say that she didn't "deserve" to be knocked unconscious clearly implies that that was Rice's aim. Otherwise, it's just an accident.

      I agree that Rice hit her too hard. But, if you'll recall, my original point was that he was getting virtually all of the blame even though she was equally responsible for escalating the violence. She did not have to come up to Rice with a clenched fist. You presume that he should have been the "adult" because he was bigger. That's great for feminist ideology, since men are almost always at least somewhat bigger than their partners, but what does that have to do with what's located between the ears? How does physical largeness equal maturity? If bigness equals maturity and control then Chris Farley could have been one of nation's greatest presidents and Taft would be at the top of the list.

      My link is not paywalled. I do not have a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and can access it just fine. I think you're just being difficult.

      Again, Jeantel's testimony was accepted as valid in court by both sides. Claiming that Jeantel was put on the stand even though, according to you she was a "train wreck" goes to show desperation on the part of the prosecution. Attempting to disqualifying her court testimony as hearsay, in this case testifying as to her end of a phone conversation, is ridiculous. You just don't want to accept what she said.

      Consider what you're asking me to do. You're asking me to dismiss testimony that sounds valid to me, that was accepted as valid by the prosecution, the defense and the judge as invalid because you keep throwing temper tantrums insisting that I can't accept it because it's "hearsay." Gee, who am I going to believe? Decisions decisions.

      "All the evidence points to Martin taking steps to confront Zimmerman."

      Exactly. And that makes him the aggressor. He could have easily gone home unmolested but chose not to do so. The obvious answer is that he wanted to have a fight with Zimmerman. Could Zimmerman have started the battle? Sure. Except, of course, he appears to have been headed back to his vehicle and not tracking Martin. The evidence we do have, however, points straight at Martin. Sorry but it's true. And that's what I've said and keep saying: The evidence overwhelmingly points to Martin's guilt.

      I cannot help but observed that in the past you've mocked me for suggesting that Martin either laid in wait or double backed. Now you're finally admitting that he did immediately after leaving that detail out of your attempt to devise a plausible scenario showing Zimmerman's guilt. (You have still failed to do that, BTW.) Thank you for doing that and calling me prejudiced. You're quite the piece of work, Deadrat.

      As for Zimmerman's road rage, that's totally irrelevant, oh corrector of other people's prejudice. Since killing Martin, Zimmerman's life has become one unending nightmare. He's just about the most hated man in America and is in debt to millions of dollars. Sure, let's make someone's life about as emotionally desperate as a life can be and use his going ape shit as proof that he's always had mental issues predating his problems. That is just so perfectly logical. And so totally lacking in prejudice you incredibly open and fair-minded bastard.

      For evidence of unreliability see your work above.

      Again, you act exactly like a feminist ideologue. Your claims of trying to be objective and everything are a scream.

      I'm perfectly willing to question my ideas. I'm not willing to change my mind just because some belligerent little ass clown keeps throwing tantrums at me.

    9. A mistake: That should have been "left-wing" ideologue, not "feminist" (although, really, they're pretty much the same thing).

    10. How ironic. The cheerleader for appropriately-divided responsibility thinks Palmer had an accident that knocked her unconscious. I'm sorry, but that's not how our society apportions responsibility.

      That's right. I presume that the person who can do injury but can sustain only insult bears the larger part of the adult responsibility for defusing domestic violence. Sometimes that person is woman, but most of the time that person is a man.

      Chris Farley and William Howard Taft? Are you fuckin' kidding me with this? Size doesn't equal maturity. I said that in a physical confrontation with one's partner, responsibility for defusing violence is proportional to size, strength, and aggressiveness.

      I followed your link. It asked me to subscribe. If you have even the most limited imagination, you'll be able to figure out how little I care whether you believe me. I'll ask again: please point me to a case in which two drunk college students had sex, the woman had regrets the next day, and the man was charged with rape.

      Jeantel's testimony was hearsay to anything but the words Martin said to her. That's by definition. Hearsay is sometimes admissible, but it's always second-hand. I'm not throwing "temper tantrums." This is another narrative confined to your skull. I'm warning you about the reliability of some types of evidence. I'm not telling you what you can and can't accept.

      Confrontation is not aggression. Everyone has the right to speak, even pointedly, in public to others. It is not permitted to threaten anyone thereby. You have now progressed to the point that you not only claim to know what happened (that Martin attacked Zimmerman) but you claim to know what was in Martin's mind ahead of time (he wanted to fight). This is no surprise. Just look at the narrative you've spun about what I think.

      I've mocked you for your unwarranted faith in your ability to know things you can't, including reading people's minds. I don' t know whether Marin "laid in wait" (by the way, a technical term of legal art that probably doesn't apply here) or "double backed" (I suspect you meant "doubled back") I'd say the evidence shows that Martin didn't make a dash for home. Which in hindsight, he should have. But nothing in the law required him to do so. The law required that he not assault Zimmerman. Which he may have done. I don't know. And neither do you.

      I didn't say you were prejudiced, and I'm not calling you a bigot. What I said was that you've convinced yourself of the plausibility of your prejudices, i.e., judgments you've come to ahead of the actual evidence. I think that's undeniable.

      So you think Zimmerman's road rage is irrelevant, eh? So do I. As irrelevant as Martin's boasts of his fighting ability. But you cite the latter. Why not the former? Because you're so sure of your own judgment on matters for which you have no direct evidence.

      My guess is that few people care about George Zimmerman anymore. And if he kept out of the news, that number would be even lower.

      I have never seen you question any idea you've expressed here. That you think otherwise is what's hilarious. Maybe "hilarious" is not the right word. Maybe you're even willing to change your mind. I hope you don't mind if I'm skeptical.

      As an exercise, go back and try to figure out where I've been belligerent. Simply contradicting you is not belligerence. As for tantrums, count the number of times each of us has called the other an "ass clown."

    11. HB: given your obvious limitations, your confusion is understandable

    12. Deadrat, I know what you're saying. I just think it's stupid. Size does not indicate greater maturity. You think the person who is bigger has greater responsibility. That is they should be the "adult." Fine. We've been over this. And I say that a weaker person bears responsibility too if they are not just joining in but escalating the violence. You don't like it, great.

      (BTW, prejudice is not always the same thing as bigotry. To put it so even you can understand it, prejudice is leaning towards a certain point of view. This would include what you call a "narrative." As some one who may well be a native speaker of English, I thought you should know this.)

      The last time I gave you a link about debtor's prisons for men you didn't respond even though I proved my claim that they now exist after you basically called me a liar. When the issue of campus rape came up before and I linked to an article explaining how men's due process rights were being destroyed you rejected it because it came from the Manhattan Institute even though it had been written by KC Johnson an avowed liberal. So I don't believe you're being honest when you say you can't get the WSJ article. I think you're afraid of my being proven right again and you're just being a jerk about it. There's nothing to stop you from Googling this issue yourself and I am tired of providing links that you either ignore or reject or claim you can't get to even though I have no problem.

      "I'm warning you about the reliability of some types of evidence. I'm not telling you what you can and can't accept."

      I'm sorry Deadrat, but I don't recall you being so reasonable. Your tone regarding Jeantel and my respect for her evidence has been consistently contemptuous and dismissive, very clearly implying that you think it invalid. In any case you have now admitted that her testimony IS evidence and therefore part of the damning evidence arrayed against Martin.

      "I've mocked you for your unwarranted faith in your ability to know things you can't, including reading people's minds."

      Deadrat, this is bullshit. I have made repeated attempts to show that Martin is most likely the aggressor by using evidence and claiming only that my interpretation is the best. But for your benefit of your short-term memory issues, I would like to remind you that Martin's only injuries were the gun shot wound and the injuries to his hands, that he had grass stains on his knees and that the prosecution's witness had Martin on top of Zimmerman doing a ground and pound. Zimmerman had a broken nose and multiple injuries to the back of his head. If Zimmerman had had his gun out he could have just shot Martin. And Jeantel, once again, told the jury that Martin had said he was near his father's fiancee's place. And also again, the confrontation, as you now finally openly acknowledge, took place a strikingly short distance from Martin's starting point. And yet, despite overwhelming evidence of physical aggression on Martin's part prior to getting shot you ridiculously claim that “confrontation is not aggression.” It is when Martin's been beating the fuck out of Zimmerman.


    13. I keep saying the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Martin attacked Zimmerman and laid in wait for him or doubled back. I am not "mind reading." Unlike you, I am showing respect for the evidence. You HAVE PROVIDED NO EVIDENCE AT ALL TO SHOW THAT ZIMMERMAN MAY HAVE ATTACKED MARTIN. And yet, every time I do say that the "overwhelming" amount of evidence points to Martin being the aggressor you deny it and then accuse me of being prejudiced. You have been a complete and total fuckwit in this regard. And I have every right to be frustrated as hell with your naked dishonesty.

      Again, you have no evidence. I do. WHERE IS YOUR EVIDENCE?

      You haven't cited ANY EVIDECE to buttress your case. I keep citing evidence, I say the evidence points to Martin and then you accuse me of being prejudiced and blind. BUT YOU NEVER SHOW WHY I'M WRONG. You just keep INSISTING. Or you say that Jeantel's valid-enough-for-court's testimony is hearsay w/o explaining why her testimony should be regarded as not credible. You have been a complete fuckwit in this regard.

      So, Deadrat, we are not going any further in this discussion until you provide some evidence to show why, given all of the evidence pointing to Martin's guilt, Zimmerman is reasonably suspected of being the aggressor. I have shown evidence. You have not.

      It's your turn.

      Provide evidence or shut up.

    14. Why are you SHOUTING at me?

      And why do you think I can provide evidence that Zimmerman attacked Martin? I've repeatedly said that I don't know who was the aggressor that night. That is my case: no one knows. At least no one who was there. I'm pretty sure that includes you.

      Note that Florida law permits someone in reasonable fear to strike first. Note that Florida law doesn't require a person who's reasonably fearful to be right about the threat after the fact. Who struck first? I don' t know. Would the law back up the person who struck first? I don't know.

      And my point is that you don't either.

      What do find dishonest about what I've posted? You can check every claim of fact that I make both about the reported circumstances and the law.

      I don't find Jeantel's testimony very compelling for three reasons: 1) It's hearsay. She wasn't there, and anything she testifies to about Martin's actions is second-hand. 2) She was a friend of Martin's. 3) She lied to investigators before the trial. I don' t think her testimony matters much because she can't shed light on the crucial question: who was legally at fault?

      Is it unreasonable to think that Martin struck Zimmerman without provocation? No, that's certainly possible. But that's not overwhelming likelihood. Contrary to your claim, you don't respect the evidence. You've told yourself a thrilling tale, ungrammatically charging that Martin "laid in wait" for Zimmerman. The term is "lying in wait," (past tense "lay in wait") and it means ambushing a person to kill him. In Florida it's evidence of intent that promotes a killing to first degree murder. But Martin didn't kill Zimmerman, and there's no evidence that he intended to do so. Except inside your skull.

      Should Martin have run home as fast as he could that night? Hindsight says of course. But even if he "doubled back" (another term of thrilling intrigue) to confront Zimmerman, he was within his rights to do so. And exercising one's rights is not evidence at all of criminal intent, let alone overwhelming evidence. If Martin struck Zimmerman without sufficient cause, then the law abandons him as an aggressor. But we can't make that determination unless we know what transpired between them moments after they came face to face.

      That's what we need to know. Jeantel can't tell us. Martin can't tell us. And it's possible that Zimmerman can't either.

      I'll say it again. There is no evidence to provide. This is not an uncommon occurrence when the shooter kills the only rebuttal witness. This may frustrate our sense of justice, but it is what it is. You may tell yourself any story that pleases you, but your narrative, even reasonable, plausible narrative is not evidence.

    15. Look, deadrat, I KNOW that you're claiming that you don't know who the aggressor was that night. But you have repeatedly accused me of clinging to a preferred narrative. What I have said, repeatedly, is that the evidence overwhelmingly indicates that Martin was the aggressor. I have repeatedly cited that evidence. Here, I'll do it again. 1) Martin for some reason or other only made about 150 feet from his taking off point when he should have easily been able to make it home. 2) Jeantel says he told her not to worry because he was near his father's fiancee's place (I know you don't like it but, tough titty, it's evidence). 3) George Zimmerman had injuries consistent with someone getting the shit kicked out of him. He had a broken nose and multiple injuries on the back of his head. 4) the prosecution's own witness who had the best view of the fight saw Martin on top of Zimmerman doing a ground and pound. 5) Zimmerman also had grass stains on his back indicating he was indeed on the bottom. 6) Martin's only injuries were abrasions on his fist and a gunshot wound to the chest. 7) Martin had grass stains on his knees also consistent with being the attacker.

      I have made these points before and, aside from Jeantel, you have ignored them and accused me of being closed minded just because I say, accurately, that the EVIDENCE OVERWHELMINGLY POINTS TO MARTIN AS THE AGRESSOR. Evidence which you have dishonestly ignored.

      And you, like a moron, keep telling me that I'm being closed minded w/o giving me the slightest reason to doubt myself.


      Again, when I say that the evidence overwhelmingly points to Martin being the aggressor, that is a factually accurate statement and is NOT THE SAME THING AS SAYING THAT HE'S DEFINITELY GUILTY.

      Do you see the difference?

      And telling me “there is no evidence to provide” is such a ridiculous cop out.

      I would be perfectly willing to stop saying that the evidence overwhelmingly points to Martin as the aggressor, if you or someone else were to provide evidence throwing my conclusion about where the evidence points into doubt. Again, all you're doing basically is throwing a temper tantrum. You have provided no reason why anyone, not just me, might reasonably consider Zimmerman culpable. And you are angry at me for not treating your pathetic horseshit with respect.

      I'm done with this thread. If you don't get it now, you're hopeless.

    16. OK, let me try another tack. Try to imagine yourself as a third party who knows nothing of our previous exchanges and very little about Z/M.

      DR as called HB's arguments a preferred narrative that doesn't come close to showing HB's thesis of the overwhelming guilt of M as an aggressor

      HB has called DR an asshole (twice), a liar (at least twice), a bastard, an ideologue, an ass clown, a jerk, someone with obvious limitations, a complete and total fuckwit, all these interspersed with the cyberspace equivalent of YELLING.
      And with accusations thrown in that DR is throwing temper tantrums!

      Can you stand outside of yourself as that third party to gain a little insight into HB?

      I understand that you've declared that you're going to quit the thread. Fine. I'll reply to yours points, one by one again anyway. Using caps for orthorgraphic purposes only. And without calling you any names. See the next comment.

      Or not. As you choose.

    17. I will stipulate to your seven points. They most definitely show that a) Martin didn't reach the safety of his home when he could have and that b) Martin was winning a fist fight with Zimmerman when the latter shot him.

      But neither of these things necessarily shows that Martin was the aggressor. I'll take the points in order.

      a) Martin had every right to confront Zimmerman in a public place. Turns out it be the dumbest thing he could have done, but it's his right to do it. He can't do anything that constitutes a threat, but not returning to his home isn't evidence of anything but the fact that he didn't go home. We need to know if M threatened Z after they came face to face.

      b) Fighting someone is within the law if the blows are struck in self-defense. In Florida, that right accrues to anyone who is in reasonable fear for his safety from another person. Its exercise requires no duty to retreat in a public place, no need to wait for an incoming blow, and reasonableness will not be judged in hindsight even if the fighter was reasonably mistaken about the threat. If fighter reasonably fears serious harm, he may use lethal force. On the other hand, the fighter loses the initial right to claim self-defense if he's the aggressor, i.e., if he provoked the fight or struck first when he had no reason to fear his opponent. Once again, we need to know how and why the fight started.

      All the evidence you think is overwhelming is about events that occurred before the two stood face to face (M didn't go home.) or after (M was winning a fist fight.) Of the crucial interval in which the aggressor might be determined, there simply is no reliable evidence.

      One thing we can be sure of is that Martin was the only person that night who should have been in fear for his life. But the law and evidence cuts the same way for Zimmerman. Which is why he was acquitted.

    18. HB,

      It would be disingenuous for me to claim that my responses to your comments come solely from the blessed place of cool rationality. For starters, I think you're an abusive blowhard. I'm also of the opinion that you can't read for comprehension or you can't think straight or both. I'll give you three examples:

      Attempting to disqualifying [sic] her [Jeantel Rachel's] court testimony as hearsay, in this case testifying as to her end of a phone conversation, is ridiculous.

      I'm not attempting to disqualify JR's testimony as hearsay. Anything she has to say beyond M's words to her is hearsay, evidence all careful people treat with caution.

      ... you ridiculously claim that “confrontation is not aggression.” It is when Martin's been beating the fuck out of Zimmerman.

      "Confronting" means standing face to face, a phrase I used four times in this thread. Even with the connotation of opposition, confronting doesn't require aggression. When Martin was beating Zimmerman, the confronting was over and the fighting had begun.

      How does physical largeness equal maturity?

      The discussion was about the allocation of responsibility between the weaker and the stronger. The equivalence of size and maturity was your contribution from left field.

      See what I mean?

      I treat many of your arguments dismissively and with contempt because they're weak and contemptible. You not unreasonably have taken that judgment personally. You shouldn't. I don' t know you; I only know your arguments. You could be a prince among men and only play an abusive blowhard in cyberspace.

      And you're spending way too much time thinking about my comment history on TDH

    19. Despite their hijacking the comments thread in order to satisfy their own purposes and to the exclusion of any relevance to Bob's post, it's good to know that deadrat and Hieronymous Braintree are not trolls.

    20. Oh, dear! "Satisfying my own purposes" Sounds bad. Here's a clue: it's just a subthread. If you don't like what you read, stop doing that.

      You're welcome.

  4. My take is Bob Somerby seems to be suggesting that we should *dismiss* all second-hand sources, because they were not privy to first hand knowledge.

    I find that to be unwise when made in a blanket argument.

    However, if he is only suggesting we be skeptical, then I agree with him. Unfortunately his last two articles on this topic do not seem to convey this more reasonable argument.

    Your thoughts?

    1. TDH doesn't care much what judgments you make; he wants journalists to be careful what they write and identify the provenance of their information.

      So if Carton says that Rice admitted something, you need to know how Carton knows that before you make up your mind.

    2. ". . . he wants journalists to be careful what they write and identify the provenance of their information."

      A rule, of course, that Somerby seldom seems to apply to himself.

    3. My thought?

      Somerby is doing exactly what he accuses others of doing, and he is doing that for the umpteenth time.

      In short, he is once again exploiting a very sad and tragic story that is at the top of the moment's news cycle for his own purposes and to advance his own preferred narrative.

      After all, journalists are all fabulously wealthy money-grubbers like Meredith Vieira. How can we trust any of them?

    4. No, he is criticizing how others are exploiting that story. That is different.

    5. No, Bob is exploiting this story to show how others are exploiting this story, and saying some rather dumb things in the process. Like NFL players get arrested far less than American men in general (adjusted for age, of course.)

    6. A rule, of course, that Somerby seldom seems to apply to himself.

      TDH documents what he claims. You may not like his conclusions, his emphasis, or his tone, but when I check his claims of fact, I generally find them accurate.

      It would be surprising unto the miraculous if TDH were infallible, but whatever errors he's made, of fact or in judgment, doesn't mean he's wrong about the state of journalism.

    7. Anonymous @1:23P,

      What your definition of "exploit"? TDH is criticizing journalists for not making clear who their sources are what they know. What do find objectionable about that?

    8. Exploit:
      1. An act or deed, especially a brilliant or heroic feat;
      2. To utilize to the greatest possible advantage; and
      3. To make use of unethically or selfishly.

    9. notanonymous @1:23P,

      Is that a display of obtuseness or performance art? Sometimes I can't tell around here.

    10. anonymous @1:23P -

      Based on you post content, it seems like you did not mean "exploit" to be the first definition.