The facts are always wrong: It's a fact which has been widely noted. In recent years, Chris Wallace has possibly been the best performer among the hosts of the five Sunday morning shows.
Because Wallace is host of Fox News Sunday, this fact has occasioned surprise. That said, Wallace has often been tougher on Trump-aligned guests than other Sunday hosts have been. He's often done the best work.
Wallace has often done the best work—though this past Sunday, he may have messed up at one point. On the brighter side, his apparent error helps us establish a basic point:
In emotional matters involving race and sex, the basic facts you're led to believe will almost always be wrong.
The facts are always wrong! In this instance, Wallace was interviewing Andy Skoogman, executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police. At one point, Wallace said this:
WALLACE (5/31/20): I want to pick up, though, because the police report that was filed after the incident said that George Floyd, the man who was killed, resisted arrest. And it also said that he died at the hospital, when in fact it appears clear that he was dead at the scene.In the end, does it even matter? Quite possibly not.
Those were both lies, which raises the question, if there had mot been a video in this case, isn't it possible, even likely, that these four officers would still be on the street?
Presumably, it wouldn't matter, in the present case, whether George Floyd resisted arrest at some point. Rather plainly, the police behavior which led to his death seems to have been egregious. If Floyd had resisted arrest in some way at some previous point, that subsequent police behavior would still seem egregious.
That said, you'd like to think that someone like Wallace was keeping abreast of the facts, insofar as the facts could have been known on Sunday. In this instance, we got the distinct impression that he hadn't yet read the official "Statement of probable cause" in which former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter in the matter of Floyd's death.
We had read that official statement; it had been filed on Friday. While charging Chauvin in the manner described, it seems to say, at several points, that Floyd had resisted arrest.
Quite sensibly, Wallace was criticizing the initial police report, a masterwork of deception. But here are some passages from the criminal complaint, the document which charged one of the officers with murder:
STATEMENT OF PROBABLE CAUSE (5/29/2020):At various places, that "Statement of probable cause" is poorly written, to a remarkable degree. Also, the fact that this document makes a particular claim doesn't prove that the claim is accurate.
While Officer Kueng was speaking with the front seat passenger, Officer Lane ordered Mr. Floyd out of the car, put his hands on Mr. Floyd, and pulled him out of the car. Officer Lane handcuffed Mr. Floyd. Mr. Floyd actively resisted being handcuffed.
Officers Kueng and Lane stood Mr. Floyd up and attempted to walk Mr. Floyd to their squad car (MPD 320 ) at 8:14 p.m. Mr. Floyd stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.
The officers made several attempts to get Mr. Floyd in the backseat of squad 320 from the driver's side. Mr. Floyd did not voluntarily get in the car and struggled with the officers by intentionally falling down, saying he was not going in the car, and refusing to stand still.
Still, this criminal complaint seems to say that Floyd resisted arrest at at least two separate junctures. Presumably, that can't and doesn't justify Chauvin's subsequent conduct—but we evaluate the work of journalists here, not that of police officers.
Everybody makes mistakes. Wallace's work on many Sundays has been "best in class."
That said, we got the definite impression this Sunday morning that Wallace might be behind on his background reading. Even worse, he didn't denounce the particular statements in question as being "false" or "wrong," which it probably wasn't.
He denounced the statement as "a lie." Given the rules of modern speech, this proves that he's one of ours!
In fairness to Wallace, the claim that Floyd never resisted arrest had been bruited all over cable news in the preceding week. That said, the document charging Chauvin with murder had seemed to say something different.
As we've long noted, high-profile cases of police shootings or alleged sexual assaults have consistently featured bogus facts over the past eight years. Again and again, we liberals have invented false facts, disappeared real facts, and called attention to irrelevant facts as we've created the novelized tales which show the world how much we care and how strikingly moral we are.
Beyond that, we now describe all misstatements as lies, excluding only the many misstatements which have come from within our own tents. In such ways, we announce adulthood's end—the end of the need to pay attention to the complexity of many events which actually happen out there in the real world.
We've done this for the past eight years; we're never going to stop. Despondent anthropologists repeatedly say that this is the best our species can do, that this is the way we're wired.
At any rate, Wallace's surprising statement extended this long campaign, this war on unsanitized facts.
Does it matter if Floyd resisted arrest at some point? In our view, it doesn't seem that it does.
That said, this claim will likely play a role in Chauvin's defense if this matter goes to trial. Also, Wallace's statement reminds us of a remarkably stable state of affairs:
In emotional matters of this type, the facts are always wrong!
Had Wallace failed to do the right thing prior to Sunday's program? We're guessing that he had. That said, everyone makes mistakes, including the four officers we now want to ship off to jail.
One of the four has already been charged. Concerning one of the other three, we were struck by several things we read in that same statement of probable cause.
The document is amazingly jumbled at several points; the writing is strikingly bad. Still, we were struck by something we hadn't heard about one of the other three policemen whose heads we now want on a pike.
Did one of them try to do the right thing? Also, what would doing the right thing have looked like in that circumstance?
Tomorrow: Did Officer Lane try to do the right thing? Why haven't you seen this discussed?
Coming: Can you name anyone in our own tribe who has ever done the right thing?