NO FAVORITE EXAMPLE LEFT BEHIND: Other examples discarded, ignored!


Part 4—The imperfect death of John Geer:
Last night, Tavis Smiley guested on The O’Reilly Factor. The progressive PBS host was appearing in support of his new book about Maya Angelou.

Smiley continued the conversation he had with Sean Hannity last Thursday night. Along the way, he expanded his earlier statements about police shootings and race.

Below, you see the exchange which ended last night’s session. Smiley said he doesn’t believe that policed agencies are “targeting” young black men. He also said that police mistreat “far more” whites than blacks. Beyond that, he may have endorsed a certain statistic O’Reilly had cited earlier.

We can’t speak to the perfect accuracy of any of these judgments. But for starters, here’s what was said:
O'REILLY (4/15/15): Let me ask you one more question here. Do you believe that police agencies around the agency are targeting young black men to hurt them?

SMILEY: I do not. Here’s what I do believe—


SMILEY: I do not. We agree. But here’s what I do believe. What I do believe is that, too often in these conversations, you and others suggest, every time one of these incidents happens, that it's an isolated incident. My question to you, Bill O'Reilly, is how many isolated incidents equal a pattern?

O'REILLY: I can't answer the question. I can only give you—

SMILEY: Now you’re dodging, right? Now you're dodging!

O'REILLY: No, because it's an impossible— I'm not dodging. It’s an impossible question to answer with any certainty. All I can do is give you the statistics. And in 2013, I believe it is—might be 2012—it was like 135 black men killed by police. There is 1.2 million police in the country. So I wouldn't say that's a pattern, Tavis.

Last word.

SMILEY: Which makes my point. When you try to tell black people, every time one of these incidents happens and another precious young life is lost, that it's just an isolated incident, that’s offensive, number one. But number two—

O'REILLY: If the numbers aren't there to support the pattern, you got to say it.

SMILEY: I agree. I agreed with your facts earlier. There are far more white people maimed by cops every day in this country than black people. This is why this ought to be a concern for all Americans. Not a color-coded issue. We have got to respect and revel in the humanity of all fellow citizens.

O'REILLY: And I have to stick up for the cops because I think generally they are doing a good job. But great debate, Tavis. Always good to have you on the program.

SMILEY: Thank you.
To watch the whole segment, click here.

As he did last week, Smiley said that more white people are “maimed” by police than blacks. As far as we know, that’s accurate in the aggregate, though not as a percentage.

Earlier in the segment, O’Reilly had cited a statistic he sourced to the CDC. According to the CDC, “three times as many white folks are shot by police as black folks,” O’Reilly had said.

We don’t know if Smiley meant to endorse that claim when he said “I agreed with your facts earlier.” To see discuss that statistic, you can just click here.

As many people have noted, the nation’s statistics about police shootings are highly imperfect. That said, we thought Smiley’s discussions have been intriguing and important, for a basic reason.

In the past few years, many news orgs and advocacy groups have discussed police shootings of blacks. A string of examples have been presented, sometimes with videotape.

These examples are intended to illustrate a problem. Some examples have been massaged to turn them into “perfect examples” of the alleged situation, in which police are said to be “targeting” blacks.

The shooting of Michael Brown last August was originally seen as one such perfect example. The public was offered a set of facts which, in some cases, have apparently turned out to be false.

Uh-oh! Last month, the Justice Department affirmatively judged that the shooting of Brown was justified. But so what? Last week, the New York Times editorial board seemed to be restoring this unfortunate incident as a perfect example of police misconduct. In the Washington Post, Gene Robinson followed suit.

Alas! When “journalists” want to sell a narrative, they often invent or ignore basic facts to create their perfect examples.

Inevitably, they’ll do something else. They’ll disappear egregious examples which don’t reinforce the pattern they want you to see and believe in.

In the current instance, this means ignoring examples in which white people get shot by police—examples which don’t support the racial pattern which is being promoted. This represents a second way in which the public can perhaps get misled.

Today, let’s consider a striking example of police conduct which has gone undiscussed on the national scene. Smiley said this problem extends beyond the black community. As an example of what he means, let’s consider the rather remarkable shooting death of John Geer.

Geer was shot to death by a Fairfax, Virginia policeman in August 2013. One year later, Michael Brown was shot to death in Missouri.

Geer’s death seems to involve an egregious case of police error, followed by a remarkable example of administrative inaction. Nineteen months later, the case has not been discussed on the national stage.

For the Washington Post, the shooting of Geer is a local story. In January of this year, the Post discussed the case in an angry editorial.

Seventeen months had now passed. The editors summarized thusly:
WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL (2/3/15): The Fairfax stonewall

In broad daylight and at close range, three Fairfax County police officers saw a fourth officer, Adam Torres, shoot John Geer once in the chest in August 2013.
Two other witnesses, Mr. Geer's father and a friend, also saw it. All five of those witnesses agreed that Mr. Geer, who had a holstered handgun at his feet, had his hands up at the moment Officer Torres pulled the trigger.

Mr. Geer, a 46-year-old father of two, committed no known crime that day. He had been speaking calmly with the officers for almost three-quarters of an hour when the lethal shot was fired. He then bled to death just inside the doorway of his home.

That was more than 17 months ago, and still there has been no accounting for Mr. Geer's death. No charges. No indictment. No prosecution. And no information until last week, when the police, complying with a judge's order, finally released thousands of documents.

Those documents provide a stark picture: Only Officer Torres contended that Mr. Geer made a sudden movement as if going for a gun.

Everyone involved in this case has dropped the ball and dodged responsibility, enabling what now looks like a coverup in a case of police impunity.
As they continued, the editors noted that the police “did not seek medical treatment for Mr. Geer or retrieve his body for more than an hour.”

In fairness, there were complicating factors involved in this incident. For a lengthy front-page report on the facts, you can just click this.

We're not suggesting that this case is typical police conduct. We think it clearly is not.

That said, this seems to have been an actual case in which a person who really did have his hands up was shot and killed by a policeman. Three other policemen at the scene have said the shooting wasn't justified.

This shooting happened exactly one year before the shooting of Michael Brown. But no one in the national media presented this incident as a companion case to that much-discussed shooting.

Last week, the New York Times editorial board began reinventing the facts about the shooting of Brown. So did Gene Robinson in the Washington Post.

On a journalistic basis, this is egregious conduct. But our highest-ranking “journalists” pimp favored narratives in such ways all the time.

There’s no excuse for their misconduct. But they continue at will.

To what extent do police officers and police agencies “target” young black men? Especially in the absence of data, we can’t really tell you.

But in recent years, our “journalists” have sold us a string of examples, some of which have been perfected, designed to advance a preferred impression about police conduct. To help us see the world as they want us to see it, they massaged facts about the shooting of Brown, skipped past the shooting of Geer.

Robinson should be ashamed of himself for the column he wrote last week. That said, people are dead all over the world in part because of the conduct in which he engaged while “reporting” Campaign 2000.

Whatever! At the end of last week’s column, Robinson made one last peculiar presentation. This is terrible journalistic work of a familiar kind:
ROBINSON (4/10/15): The fact is that not everyone who is ever stopped by a police officer is going to be happy about the experience. Yet black men run a tragically greater risk than others of having the encounter turn deadly.

How much more risk? As I wrote in a column last year, no one really knows. Incredibly, there are no authoritative, comprehensive statistics on police killings nationwide
—not even in the aggregate, let alone broken down by race.

But it doesn't take data analysis to realize that when police treat communities like occupied territory—and routinely automatically classify black men as suspects—the opportunity for tragedy grows exponentially.

Walter Scott's broken taillight was an excuse, not an offense. Slager knew that Scott had to be guilty of something. It was just a matter of finding out what that black man's crime might be.
Do black men “run a tragically greater risk than others of having [traffic stops] turn deadly?” We can’t exactly tell you that, although it’s certainly possible.

On some basis which goes unexplained, Robinson feels he can reach that judgment. In service to this belief, he composed a rather peculiar passage. First, he asserted that black men do run a tragically greater risk. After that, he seemed to say that he doesn’t exactly know.

“Incredibly, there are no authoritative, comprehensive statistics on police killings nationwide,” Robinson wrote, “not even in the aggregate, let alone broken down by race.” That didn’t stop him from selling the story he wants you to hear, something he’s done in the past.

Here’s what we think you should notice:

In the absence of comprehensive statistics, people like Robinson are going to sell you dramatic examples, some of them perfected. He did the same freaking thing in 1999 when his guild was working so hard to tell you that Candidate Gore was a liar.

Now, he has another story he is eager to peddle. He doesn’t quite know if his story is true, or to what extent, but he’s still eager to sell it.

According to that imperfect CDC statistic, three times as many white people get shot by police. Two summers ago, one of those people was Geer.

That said, the example didn’t fit the narrative which makes us liberals feel morally glad. For that reason, it got disappeared, along with quite a few others.

The press corps tells you the stories they like. They’ve engaged in this non-journalistic conduct for many years.

In this case, our limbic brains tell us liberals to buy. People are dead all over the world because we’ve reacted this way in the past.

This afternoon: Two “journalistic” attempts to examine the relevant data


  1. Warning to casual readers of this blog: These comments are unmoderated. They are infested by one or more trolls who routinely attack the blog author in a variety of ways, rarely substantive. Such attacks are not an indicator of the level of interest of other readers, the validity of the content posted nor of the esteem in which the blog author is held by others.

  2. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, 62.9 million people had one or more contacts with police in 2011 (half requested, half police-initiated). About 1% of traffic stops resulted in violence to the person (considered justified by the person involved in 55% of cases). In less than 5% of all encounters the public believed the police behaved improperly. People considered 8 in 10 traffic stops to be legitimate and 6 in 10 street stops. Stops were considered more legitimate when the officer was of the same race.

    These stats suggest that there is not a pattern of targeting young black men, that young black men are not being killed frequently, but they do suggest race remains salient and important to those stopped.

    Pretending there are no stats available is unfair to police and misinforms the public.

  3. I know that this is a blog about the media, and not necessarily about the events on which the media report, but I have to comment on Bob's statement that the Geer case is "clearly" not "typical police conduct." I agree that shooting an unarmed person isn't "typical" (although it seems to happen way too often). But the real problem is that once such an event occurs, it's very "typical" for the police to close ranks and look to justify or excuse the shooting, even to the point of misrepresenting what occurred at the scene. It's very rare for the police and the prosecutors to look at police misconduct in the same manner that they investigate other situations.

    1. Except they don't actually do that. Notice that in this Geer case the cops who witnessed the shooting said it was not justified. Just because cops don't release video to the public doesn't mean they aren't investigating. Cops are disciplined for improper behavior. Big police forces like the LAPD has an Internal Affairs dept and does discipline cops. When that happens, there isn't necessarily a public announcement so the public may be unaware that there have been consequences.

      We find out about the misrepresentations at the point that they are exposed, but notice that they are being exposed. Assuming that there is some large amount of police misconduct being swept under the rug may be appropriate where there is no oversight, but when there is considerable oversight (as is true in many if not most police forces), that assumption is not justified.

      I think it is also important to remember that a mistake is not necessarily misconduct. Cops are human beings and they do make mistakes, with unfortunate or even tragic consequences. Also, police departments tend to settle cases with families whether the cop is at fault or not. It is cheaper than going to court, even when the cop's behavior was fully justified and according to procedures. The economics of defending lawsuits dictates settlements, not whether the cop's behavior was misconduct or not.

    2. Thanks for the substantive response. I completely agree that a mistake isn't necessarily misconduct, and I have every reason to believe that unjustified shootings are almost always the result of mistakes. It's my sense, however - and perhaps I'm speaking out of ignorance, and I certainly can't prove it - that when those mistaken shootings occur in the absence of videotape it's all too easy for the officer to claim that the suspect made a move consistent with reaching for a gun. It's my further sense that fellow officers are more than willing to give the shooting officer the benefit of the doubt, not so much to cover-up but because to tell the unvarnished truth would expose someone they know (and who they believe simply made a mistake) to an undue degree of scrutiny, and possibly even prosecution. In short, I think that cops treat other cops different from everyone else, which I think is wrong.
      Again, I can't cite to specific examples of this, but that's my sense.

    3. It seems almost tautological that the victim must have made a movement that threatened the cop or the cop would not have shot him. I don't believe cops shoot people for no reason or because they are being racists. I think cops are in heightened states of sensitivity to threatening stimuli when they are in what they consider to be dangerous situations. People don't understand that a traffic stop is one of those dangerous situations because the driver can be anything from entirely innocent to very dangerous (if a fleeing felon) so the cop risks death by approaching the car without vigilance. Hypersensitivity to threat can cause an innocent gesture to seem menacing. Procedures are supposed to help cops tell the difference but when someone doesn't comply with procedures, that is a red flag and increases the danger (for both cop and driver). You don't have to look hard to find examples of cops shot during traffic stops.

      I doubt that cops cover for each other any more frequently than other types of employees in similarly serious situations. Doctors cover for each other, airline pilots, others in similar life-and-death situations probably do the same. That's why they won't let doctors serve in the jury on a malpractice case. It seems wrong to single out cops for this when it is human behavior. The flip side is the many eyewitnesses who didn't report honestly what occurred when Brown was shot. They got a pass and were not prosecuted for their perjury, honest or otherwise.

    4. 3:36, when was the last time an airplane pilot forcibly sodomized a person with a broken nightstick, and had that crime covered up by fellow pilots? I mean, aside from the Church and military, which profession covers up anal rape as a courtesy?

    5. Louima is how far back you have to go to find an example of what you claim involving a black man. Now a white man? There have been a few recently. Blacks are not disproportionately victimized by police.

    6. Do you think other pilots were unaware of the mental health of that pilot who just crashed his plane into the Alps?

  4. "Do black men “run a tragically greater risk than others of having [traffic stops] turn deadly?”"

    Probably, since they're taught by the left that because they are "targeted" by racist white cops they are entitled to attack cops or run away, instead of taught to "Do what the cops tell you to do."

    1. Who on the right taught you to exhibit stupidity in public?

    2. The distrust between the AA community and law enforcement has a long history and is so much more complex than "being taught by the left". Let's start with decades of lynching ignored by the law. But by all means, stick your head in the sand.

    3. How much time has transpired since the last documented bona fide lynching in America?

    4. Oh, I don't know. When did Slager lynch Scott?

    5. Great question majneb!

    6. It is disrespectful to the people who were actually lynched to equate current events with what happened to them. Scott wasn't lynched. He was shot while running away from a police officer. There are many points of difference between the two acts and conflating them is not helpful. For one thing, most lynchings were extra-legal vigilante acts or even done by people pretending to be anonymous. They were not acting with any force of law. Why then does lynching have any relation to police activity today? Second, today's police forces are much more integrated than in the past. Why does a troubled relationship continue to exist despite that integration? Third, what is the relationship between the lawless behavior encouraged by slavery (lying, stealing, slacking off, malingering used to circumvent white control), the lawless behavior exhibited by some free slaves immediately after the Civil War, and current attitudes toward white people and law-breaking among some African Americans, especially those operating in the underground economy and how does that affect relationships with today's police? Failure to acknowledge that history contributes to that "stick your head in the sand" phenomenon.

  5. Wouldn't you know the perfect example ends up involving a white victim. Back to the drawing board.

  6. "According to that imperfect CDC statistic, three times as many white people get shot by police."

    And there are six times more white people in the US than black people.

    I know that Bob isn't very good at math, but even he can figure out that if his quote is true, it means a black person is twice as likely to get shot by a cop as a white person.

    1. But black people are not being disproportionately shot given their participation in criminal activity. If you want to ask why they are disproportionately arrested, it isn't because they are being targeted but because they are engaging in crime more often.

    2. 1:31. Belch, maybe or maybe not. Regardless, it's a point Bob was NOT making with that quote.


      " During this same period, blacks were disproportionately represented among homicide victims and offenders. Blacks were six times more likely than whites to be homicide victims and seven times more likely than whites to commit homicide."

      If you look up the FBI stats you'll find that, although blacks make up only 13% of the US population about 2,500 blacks have been murdered per annum the last few years vs about 3000 whites.

      When it comes to violence blacks seem to be rather conspicuously lacking in impulse control compared to other races.Now, I'm a boy who believes in noticing the obvious and the obvious tells me that there might be another reason why blacks are somewhat disproportionately killed by police compared to whites that has nothing to do with racial discrimination and everything to do with their greater likelihood of acting like violent jerks.

      Cue the SJW parade of ad hominem attacks and unsubstantiated claims. It's what they do best.

    4. Mr Braintree, again, that's not the argument Bob is making. He is NOT saying blacks are shot at a disproportionately higher rate, rather he "seems" to be saying the exact opposite.

      If he were saying black people were more likely to get shot by cops, you're "point" would be relevant. As it were, he did not, so it's not.

      Now run along, you gotta wash your hood and spiff up the arm bands for tonight's big rally!

    5. Isn't HB responding to @1:26 not Somerby?

    6. 3:41, perhaps. But 1:26 was simply pointing out that Somerby was misrepresenting the data in that quote. How do i know? I wrote it, and that was my point.

    7. 3;49, no "perhaps" about it. I was indeed responding to 1:26. In any case the narrative being pushed by the SJW crowd is that police are unfairly targeting blacks w/o acknowledging that the ridiculous amount of violence in the black community might be a significant factor. Nor do they seem particularly perturbed when the specific examples choose to ballyhoo keep blowing up in their faces. It would be funny if the consequences were not so tragic.

      If you blatantly refuse to deal with inconvenient reality, you have no right to get your panties in a knot when people, even white people, stop listening to accusations of prejudice. This is about as obvious as the art of political persuasion gets yet somehow this principle appears to be over the heads of our self-assigned intellectual and moral betters.

      The SJW crowd's greatest talent is engineering self-inflicted PR disasters. I'm a liberal and I hate them.

    8. Mr Brain Tree, i'll type slowly.

      I am 1:26, 2:35, 3:49 and 3:27 for that matter. I should really register. Anyway, the point i was making was that Bob was being dishonest with how he presented that quote.

      You're actually agreeing with me (not Bob) that black people are statistically more likely to get shot by a cop than white people. Bob's quote seems to show he thinks otherwise, which means he's being dishonest or having problems with math again. THAT was my point.

      I see that you want to explain why more black people get shot. Fine, whatever helps you sleep at night. But again (and again, and again) that really has nothing do do with ... oh why bother.

    9. Dear 5:00, it may interest you to know that the last time I tested for reading comprehension I scored 100%. I have reread your initial remarks and see no reason to think that I am at fault here. Indeed the fact that someone else was evidently also confused would seem to point the finger at you.

      As for typing slowly, it does not matter at what speed you type; it will still read the same. It seems somebody here suffers from a pronounced deficiency in the old logic department.

      Also, Bob never said or even indicated that whites were more likely to get killed by police on a per capita basis. He simply pointed out that three times as may whites were getting offed. That, of course, contradicts the SJW narrative of blacks being targeted that is driving our news coverage, which you don't seem to realize is the main object of Bob's concern.

      But, if hiding behind sarcasm and a questionable sense of intellectual superiority is what it takes to get you through the night, rest assured that you have my greatest sympathy.

      Have a nice day.

    10. oh boy 100% did you get a gold star, did your mommy post it on the fridge? Well I won a gold medal in the Olympics, once. We're all great on the interwebs aren't we.

      Anyway, i understand there was some misinterpretation of my initial post, which is why i clarified (several times). My point, again (typing slowly!) saying whites are three times as likely to get offed by cops - without pointing out that the respective population size of each demographic - does of course "seem" to imply that whites are more likely to get offed by cops.

      It's like when people "forget" to differentiate between nominal and real dollars when making factually correct, but absolutely bullshit statements.

      You have a wonderful day yourself Mr 100% Braintree.

  7. ' isn't because they are being targeted but because they are engaging in crime more often."

    Just curious if you think the lack of white-collar crime enforcement might skew those stats.

    1. Not much if at all, but certain crimes involving violence, burglary, drunk driving, other menacing behaviors as well as crimes that lead to those (drug trafficking) are considered more urgent and are less tolerated and better enforced, for obvious reasons.

    2. "...for obvious reasons."

      Yes, obvious reasons. Perpetrators of white-collar crime aren't as black.
      That's okay, you keep thinking the selling of marijuana cigarettes effects more Americans than the crashing of the world's economy through fraud.

    3. 2:56 is right.
      Making sure blacks who sell marijuana are off the street and behind bars is way more urgent to the citizenry of the nation* than making sure than those who crashed the world's economy through fraud.

      * And don't you dare think this is because the citizens of the nation are racist. Nosiree. They just mistakenly thought the economy crashed because ni**ers bought houses they couldn't afford for some reason other than racism.

    4. People distinguish between property crimes and crimes against persons. Assault and murder are more serious than burglary and fraud because the former hurt people whereas the latter deprive them of things or money. Health and life are more difficult to replace than objects.

      There is a demonstrated link between the small quality of life crimes for which black people are disproportionately arrested and major crimes against persons. There is not a connection between those and white collar crime. Arresting someone for auto theft will not prevent bank fraud.

      You have framed this issue as though the goal of society is to arrest white and black people in equal numbers or equal proportions. It isn't. It is to reduce threats that prevent all people from pursuing their lives in peace and security. I'd like to see white collar crime prosecuted, just as I'd like to see shoplifting prosecuted, but neither of those crimes is any threat to me, other than increasing the costs of things I might buy. I think white and black people have an equal opportunity to avoid doing things that get them arrested. I see crime as a choice not an inevitability related to skin color. It can be argued that white people are less likely to take criminal shortcuts because they have the opportunity to succeed in other ways, but I think black people increasingly have those same opportunities, undercutting the argument that poverty or discrimination make crime the only way to survive.

    5. @ 3:33 PM,

      Why do you think law enforcement's lack of interest in prosecuting bankers has more to do with race than the economic class to which bankers belong?

    6. CMike, why do you think 3:33 thinks that since he did not say it?

    7. @ 6:39,

      I know 3:33 PM didn't say what I said, that's why I did not put quotation marks around anything I wrote in my comment. What 3:33 PM did write was:

      [QUOTE] Making sure blacks who sell marijuana are off the street and behind bars is way more urgent to the citizenry of the nation* than making sure than those who crashed the world's economy through fraud.

      * And don't you dare think this is because the citizens of the nation are racist. Nosiree. They just mistakenly thought the economy crashed because ni**ers bought houses they couldn't afford for some reason other than racism.
      [END QUOTE]

      I took the meaning here to be that it is generally recognized that those who crashed the economy were, by in large, white financers, whom law enforcement ended up leaving alone and this point is made after 3:33 PM says explicitly that it is black marijuana sellers whom law enforcement puts behind bars. 3:33 PM's language then becomes even more racially charged suggesting to me he's stressing the race issue as the one to explain this disparity of treatment between nefarious white bankers and black marijuana sellers.

      True, 3:33 PM did not express any opinion about the weight of influence the class issue might have here but, by that argument's omission, I take it that 3:33 PM does not think it is as influential a component as race in explaining this matter.

      All this is pretty obvious 6:39 PM, so yours is not at all a useful question, but of course it was not meant to be.

    8. I've seen studies that indicate both personal drug usage and involvement in illicit drug sales/trafficing is roughly equal, proportionally, regarding blacks and whites. Enforcement, per arrests, and especially incarceration rates are WAY out of proportion. What possibility other than "targeting" may explain the discrepancy?

    9. Targeting may explain the discrepancy, however, even if that's true that targeting may have a lot to do with the affluent getting a pass and the less affluent being subjected to more excessive law enforcement attention.There's a second issue here that's worth considering, perhaps.

      Let's say law enforcement targets both blacks specifically and the less affluent generally with an emphasis on going after blacks. It may be that making the case that the police are selectively abusing the poor and working class may have traction with a wider swath of the electorate than making it a black/white issue. Maybe it would be politically easier to lock into place the internal affairs or community review practices and the audio/video technology monitoring regimen that would protect minorities from law enforcement excesses by making the case that it's the poor and working class generally for whom putting those protections in place are most urgent, not necessarily for blacks.

    10. It isn't just poverty that is the problem but lack of resources to cope with the complexities of life. No one I know would drive around in a car with no registration. It is illegal to sell a car in my state without a functioning brake light. People without the money to pay child support work it out in babysitting so they don't get a warrant out against them. Lives get complicated when you don't pay attention to the details like paying tickets, filing taxes, calling in at work when you're sick, etc. Bad things happen to people who can't keep up with stuff. Scott didn't deserve to die but his life was a mess. Combatting crime may need an approach to simplifying life so people can cope. People are falling off the edges.

    11. @ 12:21 AM,

      I think you make a good point. That's one that might resonate with a lot of the middle class if some thought went into its presentation and if the liberal/left kept repeating it for longer than an election cycle.

      Eventually, maybe you head off in this direction [LINK] for a solution.

    12. CMike is right. The liberal/ left need to make this argument without making blacks the victims. This country doesn't really care if blacks are the victims. This is why LBJ emphasized Appalachia and the rural South when discussing his War on Poverty.
      If that goes too far back, remember again, a LARGE percentage of this nation (including the media) wrongly fell for the idea that it was minorities getting homes they couldn't afford (the CRA) which caused the economic crash of 2008.
      And if you think the idea that minorities getting government-sponsored healthcare isn't a big reason why so many are against the ACA, you just aren't paying attention.

    13. 9:29 seems to be saying that liberal/left arguments should not reference blacks because the public is racist. Which also implies they should not drop "R" bombs. Racists take offense.
      At least that is my inference

    14. 12:24 PM,

      Let's say the majority of the voters among the majority race in a quasi-democratic society are both racists and, for whatever reason, resent being called racist. What then would be the most effective way of getting votes from this majority of the majority? And I'm talking about getting their votes to serve some purpose you might think desirable- not what would be the most effective way for the right thinking to celebrate their own moral superiority day after day.

      It seems to me the thing to do would not be to campaign on a platform that the the majority of the majority are despicable. Rather, if you want to improve the lot of blacks you find areas where they might have common cause with the majority of the majority, or at least common cause with a group with whom the majority of the majority identifies itself with in some way.

      Now sure, eradicating racism may seem like such an urgent matter for the sake of the racist's own immortal and endangered soul that that is the what everyone on Team Virtuous should be taking on directly all the time.

      However, what if the totally unexpected result of concentrating on some other areas of public policy than racial justice was the better way over the course of a generation or two to make progress towards racial equality? Should then an activist for racial justice stray from the path of self-righteousness and choose to travel on the road to positive results, instead?

  8. What a preposterous hypocrite Somerby has become. That said, he even managed to find a way to stick Gore in this mess.

    Here is a fine example of Bob Somerby doing to others what he decries being done to his roomie Al Gore:

    "Last month, the Justice Department affirmatively judged that the shooting of Brown was justified. But so what? Last week, the New York Times editorial board seemed to be restoring this unfortunate incident as a perfect example of police misconduct."

    To say the editorial Somerby cited "seems be restoring" the Brown shooting "as a perfect example" is more far fetched than saying Al Gore "seems to be claiming" a role in "inventing" the Internet.

    Christ, the RNC was more honest about Gore than Somerby is about the Times.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Somerby does something similar to Eugene Robinson.
      He says....

      "Do black men “run a tragically greater risk than others of having [traffic stops] turn deadly?” We can’t exactly tell you that, although it’s certainly possible.

      "On some basis which goes unexplained, Robinson feels he can reach that judgment. In service to this belief, he composed a rather peculiar passage. First, he asserted that black men do run a tragically greater risk. After that, he seemed to say that he doesn’t exactly know."

      What Somerby doesn't say is that when Robinson writes the words " As I wrote in a column last year," those words form a link to that December column. In that column Robinson both explains the basis on which Robinson reaches his judgement and why the exact statistics will never be known.

    3. "Last week, the New York Times editorial board began reinventing the facts about the shooting of Brown."
      B. Somerby

      I'd love to see one of those readers who may hold the blogger in high esteem tell us one or more of those "facts" the Times editorial board reinvented.

    4. Read the posts from earlier this week where Somerby spelled it out by quoting Gene Robinson and the NY Times Editorial board. It is very clear there what was being brought said despite being contradicted by the DOJ report on Brown's shooting.

    5. Why is it necessary to call Somerby dishonest just because you disagree with something he wrote?

    6. @ 7:15 I reread all of Somerby's posts this week. I also reread the Times editorial. I won't speak for the other commenters before me but I will reiterate my challenge to you or anyone else made at 6:46 pm.

      Name one or more "facts" which the New York Times Editorial board "reinvented" about the Brown shooting. You asked me to read them I did. Now you go back and read them yourself and bring me one single fact from the editorial which reinvents anything about the Brown shooting.

    7. Anon 7:42 The Times editorial implied that the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson was an instance of
      -- poorly trained and
      -- poorly supervised officers
      -- using deadly force unnecessarily against a minority citizen.
      -- that the Ferguson police got away with unjustly killing Brown
      -- by lying about the circumstances.

      Yet, according the local review and the review by the US Justice Dept., none of things is the case.

      Now, because the accusatory sentences refer to three separate events, there's some ambiguity. Maybe the Times didn't mean that all three killings were examples of all of their charges. However, the official investigations found that none of these charges applied. to the killing of Michael Brown.

    8. Trolls don't do inference or nuance or figurative language or summary. They play gotcha over mistaken readings that they hope others will not check. It is a waste of time to accept their challenge. It's just another way to attack Somerby.

    9. Kudos to David in Cal for trying. Shame on 9:54 for his/her inability to come up with an answer.

      Sorry David in Cal, but the Times editorial did not imply what you or Somerby want to claim it implies. It states things very clearly to ANYONE not grinding an axe or fluffing a narrative who can read the English language.

      It said, and we quote directly from Bob's blog post:

      "The case underscores two problems that have become increasingly clear since the civic discord that erupted last year after the police killed black citizens in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Mo. The first, most pressing problem is that poorly trained and poorly supervised officers often use deadly force unnecessarily, particularly against minority citizens. The second is that the police get away with unjustly maiming or killing people by lying about the circumstances that prompted them to use force.

      That does not say anything happened in Ferguson other than the eruption of discord. It does say the problems which have become clear since THREE (count them) events last year involving discord (of which Ferguson was one) are underscored by what just happened in South Carolina. The facts you cite are not reinventions nor are any of them tied to the shooting in Ferguson by that, or any other section of the editorial in question.

      And going back to what the opening commenter said at the top of this thread, it sure doesn't "restore" the incident as the "perfect example" of anything.

    10. It juxtaposes Ferguson with calling cops poorly trained, implying the Ferguson shooting was not justified sfter a DOJ report said it was. David is right.

    11. That is not what was "implied." That's what you "infer" because you want to read into it.

      And saying that there is no consistent evidence to dispute Wilson's story isn't the same as saying the shooting was perfectly okey-dokey.

      Here's another thing you can put your money on. Police academies all over the country are studying the Brown shooting as "perfect example" of truly fucked-up police work.

    12. As I said, you don't do inference. Excessive literalism is a symptom of mental illness or brain injury.

    13. By the way, for those of you who have read the DOJ report instead of Somerby's recantation of the right-wing spin on it, the DOJ was NOT investigating whether or not the shooting was "justified."

      The DOJ was investigating whether Wilson violated Brown's civil rights under federal statutes, then concluded it lacked the evidence to support any such charge.

    14. "The DOJ was investigating whether Wilson violated Brown's civil rights under federal statutes, then concluded it lacked the evidence to support any such charge."

      But tin doing so hey were pretty darned clear in their report that Wilson's side was credible in just about every way, and that Brown was vary likely a bad actor that day.

    15. Again, that's the right-wing spin on it, but what the DOJ actually found is that they couldn't come up with enough evidence to charge Wilson.

      As we find out so many times, it's pretty doggone easy without a conclusive video to the contrary for the cops to come up with a "credible" story.

    16. "Again, that's the right-wing spin on it, "

      Stop this nonsense, it's written right in the report. Start reading at the last paragraph on page 80 and on through page 82. Wilson is essentially exonerated by DOJ. This is not right wing spin, it's written in the report itself.

      "it's pretty doggone easy without a conclusive video to the contrary for the cops to come up with a "credible" story."

      And supported by the DOJ findings. DOJ (Obama) had every reason to support "Hands Up Don't Shoot" if they could, but try as they might, all they could do is exonerate Wilson.

    17. "DOJ (Obama)..."

      That parenthetical tells you all you need to know about the fixation of the commenter.

    18. It is interesting that people, in response to a question about a blogger's language describing an editorial, wish to retry the facts of a shooting instead of the question which was raised.

      I don't have a problem with that, but one can infer from that why newspapers would rather cover killings than run front page comparisons of 8th grade test scores over a thirty year period.

    19. "That parenthetical tells you all you need to know about the fixation of the commenter.
      MAyb maybe not, but does not change the contents of the DOJ report starting at page 82. Exonerated, essentially.

    20. I wasn't commenting on the report. I was commenting on you.

    21. So what 1:15? Wilson exonerated AND 10:30 may or may not be fixated on something. All are satisfied, have a great weekend!

  9. "Again, that's the right-wing spin on it, "

    Stop this nonsense, it's written right in the report. Start reading at the last paragraph on page 80 and on through page 82. Wilson is essentially exonerated by DOJ. This is not right wing spin, it's written in the report itself.

    1. "For all of the reasons stated, Wilson’s conduct in shooting Brown as he advanced on Wilson, and until he fell to the ground, was not objectively unreasonable and thus not a violation
      of 18 U.S.C. § 242."

      DOJ Memorandum @ p.85

    2. @11:47, so what? This is not a Boolean EXCLUSIVE OR function. DOJ BOTH essentially exonerates Wilson of wrong doing *generally* AND dismisses civil rights violations *specifically*.

    3. It is not objectively unreasonable for you to conclude based on one DOJ report, that it essentially exonerates Wilson of general wrong doing.

      It is not objectively unreasonable for others to conclude, based on another DOJ report, that it essentially excoriates the Ferguson Police Department for acting in a manner which caused the black community to distrust it.

    4. Brilliant 2:21, BOTH may be correct!!! Have a great weekend.

    5. Yes, "not a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 242." can only mean Wilson did absolutely nothing wrong when he turned jaywalking into a dead kid in 90 seconds.

      That, fellas, is the right-wing spin -- dare I say "narrative" -- that Somerby has chosen to regurgitate and you have chosen to believe.

    6. 10:52 is obviously not having a great weekend.

      Now here is a "perfect example" of a cop doing what he is supposed to do.

      Of course in this case the suspect had not been jaywalking and then revealed to be a violent cigarillo stealer. He had just allegedly murdered two people and was reported armed. He threatened to kill. He put hands in pocket and charged.

      He was also white and is still alive.

    7. "Wilson did absolutely nothing wrong when he turned jaywalking into a dead kid "

      Except that DOJ pretty much says that it wasn't jaywalking, that Brown assaulted Wilson. Start at page 82 please.

  10. 8:37 has added several responses to a simple request, which was to name a "fact" which was "reinvented" about the Brown shooting by the New York Times Editorial Board, which is itself a "fact" asserted by Mr. Somerby. Her/his comments were made @ 9:54, 8:37, and 9:41. Most of them are attacks on commenters instead of attempts to answer the question, indicating he or she is the one with serious mental problems.

    However, our mentally defective person makes one stab at the actual issue saying "It juxtaposes Ferguson with calling cops poorly trained, implying the Ferguson shooting was not justified."

    It does indeed mention Ferguson (and Cleveland, and New York) as events where there was public discord after police killings. There is no "reinvention" of facts. There was discord in Ferguson. There was a killing of a black citizen which preceded it.

    The passage in question begins by saying two problems have become clear since that discord and they are underscored by what happened in North Charleston. A person can argue whether those problems became clear after that discord. One cannot say stating those problems reinvents any facts about the shooting of Michael Brown.

    The best you can do is say they "imply" something, as David in Cal did, and he quickly noted there was ambiguity because three incidents are cited although he referred to the reference to incidents as "accusatory sentences" which is an inflammatory exaggeration of one descriptive clause in one sentence.

    Or you can say you "infer" something from that passage. Inference is in the mind of those who engage in it. You could argue argue, inference is what led some people in Ferguson to engage in civic discord after Brown's shooting, that inference being fed by community distrust of the police department based on their history of dealing with it.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Somerby did not use words like "imply" or "infer." He did not even use a favorite term "seems." He simply stated the editorial began to reinvent facts about the shooting of Michael Brown.
    It doesn't.

    1. Do the overwhelming number of people who advance voter ID laws say they are about that business in order to disenfranchise blacks, the poor, and renters or is that a notion in your head which several of your personalities have each inferred for their angry selves?

  11. Did anybody notice that Bob Somerby, just like Bill O'Reilly, missed Tavis Smiley's point.

    Must be something about the listening gap the Irish have around black people. As least people raised as east coast Irish Catholics way back in the middle of the previous century.

  12. Stats. Stats. Stats. How wonderful it is to not have to know what they mean before trotting them out.

    I've heard that if you take out crime involving Blacks, the US crime rate sinks to levels seen in such white sanctuaries as Canada, UK, Scandinavia, etc. Really?

    I've heard there are more whites receiving some kind of relief than Blacks. (Shucks, I guess not everyone can get a reality show.)

    There are four black in the cast (including featured players) of SNL. Much more than 12 percent but not nearly enough to satisfy the requirements of the Diversity crowd.

    There are more white cast members who deserve to be booted off the show than black cast members.