ELEMENTS OF THE WHOLE TRUTH: Experts say the darnedest things!

FRIDAY, JUNE 19, 2020

A decent attempt by the Times:
The premature death of a decent person is no joking matter.

As a general matter, the same is true of the (frequently clownish way our "journalism" works. The same is true of the heavily tribal nature of our heavily war-inclined species.

Still and all, every once in a while, a person will perhaps be permitted to chuckle. We'll admit that we chuckle, or at least roll our eyes, every time we read this account of the late Rayshard Brooks' recent death:
What happened during the incident

...According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, which is investigating the shooting, the officers gave Brooks a sobriety test, which he allegedly failed. The GBI says that when the officers then went to arrest Brooks, he “resisted and a struggle ensued,” prompting one of the officers to deploy their Taser. Brooks was able to obtain the Taser before trying to run away, according to the GBI, and then “officers pursued Brooks on foot, and during the chase, Brooks turned and pointed the Taser at the officer. The officer fired his weapon, striking Brooks.”
Brooks was able to obtain the Taser! It almost sounds like he sent away to Amazon, or had somehow managed to prove that the Taser in question really belonged to him.

Meanwhile, does "a struggle ensued" sound a bit like President Nixon's famous "mistakes were made?" The death of Brooks is no laughing matter, but the way our species is inclined to function may sometimes seem like a joke.

It was New York magazine which let us know that Brooks "was able to obtain the Taser." That said, similar fudging of language—accompanied by fudging of facts—has been fairly routine as our "journalists" attempt or pretend to describe what happened that night.

Also, as public officials may perhaps seem to align themselves with the tribe. As such officials may possibly seek to further their own interests.

The occasional journalist bravely resists this impulse. For one example, consider what Rachel Maddow did when she interviewed Paul Howard last night.

Howard said, just a few weeks ago
, that a Taser is considered a deadly weapon under George law. He made the statement as he "charged six Atlanta police officers with using excessive force in pulling two college students out of a car during a protest."

Last night, Maddow played the videotape of Howard's recent statement! She then gave him a chance to discuss the claims that this recent statement may undercut his murder charge against former officer Garrett Rolfe.

She also asked Howard if his unusually quick action in charging Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan was affected by his upcoming run-off election, part of a re-election campaign in which he's been running behind.

She even asked Howard to address the charges of sexual harassment he is currently facing, along with the charges of financial impropriety. It was an unusually tough interview, unlike the softball session she conducted, long ago, when Colin Powell agreed to appear on her air.

Oh wait! Maddow didn't mention any of those matters during last night's interview! We saw the tape of Howard's recent statement, and heard a brief mention of the other matters, as we watched Tucker Carlson fume about the end of the American experiment on Fox News last night.

On our own liberal cable, Maddow joined Lawrence O'Donnell in kowtowing to Howard and applauding his recent decisions.
When Maddow described the claims Howard has made against Officer Brosnan—the officer who didn't shoot Brooks—she didn't bother telling viewers that Brosnan's attorneys have challenged the accuracy of several of Howard's claims.

Fawningly, the claims were repeated. Viewers weren't even allowed to know that the claims have been denied.

For students of anthropology, this latest deeply unfortunate case offers a brilliant case study in the tribal sifting of logic, information and fact. Depending on which news organizations you frequent, you're being exposed to highly selective accounts of what happened, accounts which are marinated in selective applications of logic.

If you watch the PBS NewsHour, you've seen some highly speculative assertions pass without challenge or comment. If you watch Carlson or Laura Ingraham, you may be exposed to videotape and information you'll see nowhere else, though such exposure may be accompanied by hopelessly ridiculous frameworks.

(Although that isn't always the case, we find ourselves forced to suggest.)

This morning, the New York Times offers a perfectly decent attempt to assess the decisions made by the two officers who encountered Brooks that fateful night. The hard-copy headline says this:
Experts Debate Police Decisions In Atlanta Stop
In a lengthy, 44-paragraph front-page report, Fausset and Dewan quotes various things various "experts" have said about the two officers' conduct. To their credit, the reporters are willing to offer a range of viewpoints about various bits of the officers' conduct. They even mention this, though not until paragraph 36:
"Georgia officers are taught that Tasers are a deadly threat because they can disable officers long enough for their guns to be seized..."
Warning! That statement is part of a larger presentation about the legal status of Tasers under Georgia law. For those who are seeking to assess the charges against former officer Rolfe, a second consideration is mentioned, and then perhaps a third.

Indeed, the reporters are willing to quote an expert who opines, at one point, in favor of Rolfe. The question at issue is this:

When Rolfe shot Brooks, should he have known that the Taser Brooks had been able to obtain had already been fired twice? On that basis, should Rolfe have known that the Taser was no longer operative?

In his public statement charging Rolfe, Howard expressly stated that view. Today's report includes an alternate expert opinion:
FAUSSET AND DEWAN (6/19/20): Use of force should be proportional to the threat, the experts said.

But whether the officer should have known how many times the Taser had been fired—or could have reacted quickly enough to that knowledge—was a separate question.

“That’s a high expectation in the middle of a fight, that an officer is going to know every single fact that we get to see after the fact
with an analysis of the video,” said Roberto Villase├▒or, a former police chief in Tucson, Ariz., and a member of former President Barack Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

“There’s a lot of things that occur in a dramatic, volatile situation that you might not be aware of,” he continued.
“You have adrenaline pumping, you’ve got fear working, you’ve got the fight-or-flight syndrome going on—you’ve got a lot of things that are affecting your perceptions.”
Should Rolfe have known that the Taser which Brooks had obtained couldn't be fired again? At least as presented in this report, that's what Villase├▒or seemed to suggest, though he makes no such direct assertion.

Even here, a basic question went unasked, even as this discussion proceeded. Was there any way for Rolfe to know that the Taser had been fired twice?

In the first such incident, Brooks apparently discharged the Taser against Officer Brosnan, briefly disabling him. Did Rolfe even know that Brooks had done that? At no point in the Times report was this question asked or answered, or even opined upon.

Is it possible that Rolfe didn't know that the Taser had already been fired? Is it even possible that he might have thought, in the heat of the moment, that the Taser away from which he ducked might have been Brosnan's gun?

For ourselves, we have no idea about such matters. And when we watch our favorite shows, we see massively-paid corporate superstars rushing right past such questions

Despite its omissions, the Times report makes a decent attempt to puzzle out what happened. Indeed, the Times report spends a lot of time on a questions we've been exploring:

On the fateful evening in question, should the officers have let Brooks "walk home" or to his (alleged) sister's (allegedly nearby) house? That's what Butler told NewsHour viewers. Should Brooks have been allowed to do that?

The fact that they didn't let Brooks walk away was cited by Butler as an apparent sign of their racial bias. In this morning's report, the experts discuss this topic at some length—but one basic question still doesn't get asked:
FAUSSET AND DEWAN: Some observers have said the shooting death of Mr. Brooks could have been avoided if the two officers, who are white, had declined to arrest him. According to the footage from Officer Brosnan’s body camera, Mr. Brooks maintained that he had not had more than two drinks that night.

But he also made a suggestion: “I can just go home.”

It seemed like a simple request. “Why didn’t they just let him go home?” Mr. Brooks’s father, Larry Barbine, asked in an interview with The Toledo Blade.

Dr. Ture, a former law enforcement officer, said he likely would have written a citation but not taken Mr. Brooks to jail, particularly given the presence of the coronavirus in many detention facilities.

“I’d have said, ‘Mr. Brooks, I’ll offer you a ride wherever you want to go, however, I’m going to take your vehicle keys,’” Dr. Ture said. “If I was so concerned I might even tow the vehicle. But I might not even take Mr. Brooks to jail.”

But other experts said that for decades, the police have been told that society wants law enforcement to take a zero-tolerance approach to drunken driving, the No. 1 cause of death on U.S. roadways.

“Like with so many other social problems, we put officers at the forefront of dealing with D.U.I.,” said Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who teaches law at the University of South Carolina. “So it should be no surprise that officers arrest someone for D.U.I. That’s what we’ve been telling them to do for a long time.”

Vince Champion, the southeast regional director for the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the Atlanta police union, said there were limits to an officer’s discretion.

Mr. Champion said he once let an inebriated driver walk home a short distance and the man was struck and killed. His supervisor, who had approved the move, was demoted, he said. Such episodes can lead to lawsuits.

“We’ve had to go away from trying to be nice,” he said.
These experts today! Some of the experts will say one thing, while others will say something else!

For ourselves, we'd like to see as few arrests as possible in all types of situation. To their credit, the Times reporters presented several points of view in the particular passage we've posted.

Various experts said various things. But even in this relatively lengthy discussion, one basic question remained unasked:

Under department protocols, were the officers required to make a DUI arrest? Given the policies of their department, were they empowered to let Brooks "walk home?"

Last Monday night, the highly placed William Bratton seemed to say that the officers were required to make an arrest. But we don't know if that statement was accurate, and since that time, we've seen no one pursue that question.

As of this morning, that includes Fausset and Dewan. These reporters today!

Where factual questions get ignored, novelization takes over. Pundits like Butler appear on shows like The NewsHour. They start telling the highly selective stories they very much like and prefer.

People like Judy Woodruff stare into air as unfounded speculations emerge from their high-profile broadcasts. In this way, "Joe Sixpack" starts ingesting the selective narratives which have always fired the war-inclined hearts of those in our various tribes.

Or so top anthropologists tell us. Those experts always seem highly despondent when they appear in our rooms.

In the last two weeks, we've seen a pair of presentations which come close to defining the current field of play. One statement was made by Jelani Cobb. The other statement was made by Andrea Ritchie, right there on the NewsHour.

In a rather unusual statement, Jelani Cobb offered this on MSNBC's The Beat:
COBB (6/10/20): One other point that I have been making a lot, I have been making all the time, is that one of the reasons that this problem has been allowed to persist is that people have the perception that this is a black and brown problem.

But
if you were to discard all of the incidents involving black and brown people, what you would find is, there are a heck of a lot of white people, unarmed white people, who are killed by police each year.

We have a fundamental problem with policing in this country
, whose most extreme violent forms are witnessed in how we see black and brown people treated by law enforcement.
In a highly unusual statement, Cobb seemed to say that we have a general problem with police killings—a "fundamental" problem which isn't restricted to the (presumably unwarranted) killing of those who are "black and brown."

Given current tribal narrative, that was a highly unusual statement. Six nights later, following Butler on the NewsHour, Ritchie offered this in a discussion which centered on the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a wholly innocent person:
YANG (6/16/20): Louisville has banned—in reaction to this, banned no-knock warrants. They called it Breonna's Law. How effective do you think that will be?

RITCHIE: I think it's good that we're stepping back to look at how those police officers came to be at her door and looking to interrupt one of the mechanisms that has resulted in her death and also in the death of—I can name five other black women killed by no-knock warrants, Tarika Wilson, Kathryn Johnston, Alberta Spruill, Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

So, there's many—this is not the first time.
And so I think that stopping no-knock warrants is important...
From that presentation, and from Ritchie's full interview with John Yang, a viewer might form a picture of "the whole truth" which is very much unlike the picture suggested by Cobb. In this instance it was Yang, not Woodruff, who sat mutely by as preferred stories were told.

It's true that, before the shooting of Breonna Taylor, quite a few other people had died during no-knock raids. Next week, we'll discuss the egregious case from Houston in 2019—a case you've never seen mentioned.

We'll also start to review the numbers which lie behind the statement by Cobb. We'll look at the numbers nationwide, and at those from Minnesota.

We'll think about the possible survey we sometimes wonder about. After reading Wesley Lowery's Atlantic essay, we imagined several survey questions which could be asked, mainly involving this one:
How many "white" people do police officers shoot and kill?
How many respondents would lean toward "none?" In part, that's a question about our comically awful journalism. It's also a question about the way our human minds tend to work.

Next week: The victims who get spoken about, along with the victims who don't

Minnesota dreamin': Minnesota's numbers can be found within the Washington Post's invaluable Fatal Force site. Lowery was involved in this site's creation.

We'll guess that those Minnesota numbers would seem surprising to some. We may sift those numbers next week.

Also, what effects flow from the stories we tell? From the facts we agree to share? From the facts we agree to omit?

105 comments:

  1. "...one basic question remained unasked:

    Under department protocols, were the officers required to make a DUI arrest? "

    Eh, why would this be a "basic question", dear Bob?

    I mean, obviously your liberal cult is pro-DUI now when it's perpetrated by the superior "black and brown" "race". We get that.

    But for the rest of us, it's for the officers to decide, even if it's not strictly required.

    They, the police officers, who know the neighborhood, who observed the perp in real time, they are the experts, dear Bob.

    "How many respondents would lean toward "none?""

    What normal humyn being could be so stupid as to "lean toward "none"", dear Bob? You need to get out more.

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  2. A generic disclaimer doesn't excuse this kind of statement:

    "We'll admit that we chuckle, or at least roll our eyes, every time we read this account of the late Rayshard Brooks' recent death"

    It is inflammatory and disrespectful. Perhaps Somerby should pause and consider whether a statement that requires a disclaimer should be made at all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "The death of Brooks is no laughing matter, but the way our species is inclined to function may sometimes seem like a joke."

    The functioning of the species is no excuse for treating the death of a human being as a laughing matter. Somerby clearly knows better.

    You don't laugh at someone's death because it is disrespectful to the living, the family and friends of the deceased. There are no extenuating circumstances that won't be hurtful.

    So why does Somerby do it? I believe it is a deliberate act of disrespect and that Somerby is doing it because he is a bigot without a shred of empathy. He cannot seem to resist insulting this man and his family, which suggests an emotional motive to hurt a person who has been the focus of a movement toward greater justice for black people. Laughing at the victim of police abuse is a way of thumbing his nose at those who are concerned about racism during a very stressful time.

    Shame on you Somerby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First line from Somerby: "The premature death of a decent person is no joking matter."

      A few lines later: "We'll admit that we chuckle, or at least roll our eyes, every time we read this account of the late Rayshard Brooks' recent death[.]" Here, Somberby chuckles and rolls his eyes at the "account" of the death. It couldn't be clearer that he's doing what TDH always does, critiquing media representations, not laughing at Rayshard.

      It's a gross misreading to conclude from the above, as you have, that Somerby is "a bigot." I have to assume that you are only interested in tearing down Somerby and not engaging his argument. Mind you, this conclusion gives you the benefit of the doubt, for if you do not have an agenda that distorts your perspective here, then I will be forced to conclude that your inability to read for meaning limits your comprehension, which I would prefer not to believe.

      Delete
    2. So, now Somerby’s defenders are members of the AnonymiceIgnorami brigade? Ironic.

      Check out my post about the GBI. The New York magazine language was taken directly from the GBI.

      Delete
    3. Do you think it is OK to laugh at the eulogy at a funeral, to mock the flowers at the burial, to joke at the reception about the food or the clothing of the widow? Somerby chuckles and rolls his eyes at the reporting of the death. How is that any different, any more respectful?

      Somerby seems to think that occasionally referring to us liberals is enough to demonstrate that he cares about black lives or any other liberal issue, when he spends most of his time here arguing against the things that liberals care about -- in this case, fair treatment by police. I consider him a conservative who keeps telling people he is a liberal. What evidence do you have that my belief about Somerby is untrue? (References to my "misreading" or reading ability are name-calling, not fact and not argument.)

      Delete
    4. Somerby is a much bigger moron than he is bigot.

      Delete
    5. You're a loser too.

      Delete
    6. There is overt racism (which Somerby does not exhibit) and covert racism (which is Somerby's specialty).

      Here is a man who is forever posting data showing an intractable racial gap, without ever wanting to discuss how the gap might be addressed or why it exists.

      Here is a man who can never find anything positive to say about Kamala Harris, despite her strong law and order record. (Yes, it could be because she is female, not because she is black, since he hasn't liked any female candidate, ever.) But he singled out Harris way before any other candidate.

      And he argued that Gates had no reason to complain, back when police were called on him for trying to get into his own house.

      And he defended Trump when he called the nazis in Charlottesville good people.

      And he defended George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin. Because again, reporters don't do it right. And the same when police shot Philando Castile.

      And he has several times attacked Di Blasio's attempts to decrease segregation in NY schools, complaining that including more black students in the special high schools would disadvantage Asian students. And he has criticized studies showing that integration helps black students. He seems to believe there are not enough white students to prevent the all-minority schools in major cities, but in the process never makes even a pro forma statement in support of the value of attempting to integrate schools.

      And I'm sure I am leaving out some of the other principled stands Somerby has taken with respect to racial disparities over the past several years, always finding common cause with the conservative perspective and never affirming liberal values or goals.

      And that just isn't the way a liberal behaves, much less an anti-racist. It is the way a bigot talks, always using some "objective" excuse to explain why he isn't really racist, while behaving in racist ways. Covert, as I said, but fooling no one except his defenders here, who may not be fooled as much as in agreement with his nonsense.

      Delete
    7. Do you think it is OK to laugh at the eulogy at a funeral…?

      I’ve laughed during a eulogy, along with the rest of the mourners, as the speaker recounted something humorous about the life of the deceased. Get up off that fainting couch.

      Somerby chuckles and rolls his eyes at the reporting of the death. How is that any different, any more respectful?

      Because it’s aimed at the reporting of the death, not at the dead or the circumstances.

      [TDH] spends most of his time here arguing against the things that liberals care about -- in this case, fair treatment by police.

      You’re lying. You can’t cite a single word from TDH “arguing against fair treatment by police.”

      What evidence do you have that my belief about Somerby is untrue?

      Not how it works, Sparky. You made the claim; you bear the burdens of production and proof.

      References to my "misreading" or reading ability are name-calling, not fact and not argument.

      Nice try to inoculate yourself against the truth, but what should any reasonable person think when you “read” that TDH laughs at a death when what he actually laughs at is the hapless reporting at that death? You either can’t read for comprehension or you’re lying.

      Look up this usage of the term mordant chuckle.

      Delete

    8. “Do you think it is OK to laugh at the eulogy at a funeral, to mock the flowers at the burial, to joke at the reception about the food or the clothing of the widow? Somerby chuckles and rolls his eyes at the reporting of the death. How is that any different, any more respectful?”

      Oh, yeah. All that’s fair game.

      My father owned a monstrous piece of furniture that was a stereo/tv/liquor cabinet. I’m sure he thought it was something the Rat Pack might decorate their penthouses with, but it embarrassed my brothers and me to death.

      When he died my younger brother convinced everyone who called or visited that we were trying to arrange It for our daddy to be buried in his beloved cabinet. (He would have fit.)

      .

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    9. “The hapless reporting”?

      The report is quoting from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s description of the events. How does that show hapless reporting by New York magazine?

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    10. Yes, it is tradition to tell funny stories about the deceased at a wake, for example. But you both know very well that is not what I am talking about.

      This is insensitive at best and inflammatory -- Somerby is baiting those who care about BLM. If you cannot see that, you are probably the kind of person who would mock the widow at a funeral for weeping too much.

      Delete
    11. “If you cannot see that, you are probably the kind of person who would mock the widow at a funeral for weeping too much.”

      It would depend upon how the couple’s relationship had been, but I can certainly imagine me doing that.

      Delete
    12. No one has suggested that empathy is your strong suit Cecelia. Since you are conservative, your reaction tends to strengthen my argument that Somerby's lack of empathy suggests he may be conservative too.

      Delete
    13. You know perfectly well, Anonymouse2:06pm, that Somerby is laughing at an “account” of Brooks’ death, not the fact that he died.

      You’re a disingenuous liar. I won’t insult liberals in general by comparing them to you.

      Delete
    14. What could there be in an account of Brooks death that Somerby would find funny. I can understand that he might wish for missing facts or unasked questions, but there is nothing funny about that.

      He has chosen to use the word chuckle knowing that it is inflammatory. It is an ugly side to him.

      His words are in print for anyone to see. There is nothing I have lied about. And I am not lying about my own reaction to what I find to be a deliberately offensive remark. If he chuckles at bad reporting, how is it inconceivable that he would bait the people he pretty obviously thinks are being duped by the press into making a big fuss about nothing? And that is the essence of bigotry.

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    15. Words matter.

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    16. You’re still lying, disingenuous Anonymouse2:35pm.

      You understand that irony is ripe with humor.

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    17. I don't see any irony and I don't think this is a good thing to joke about, given that many people have strong feelings about this and it concerns a man's death. You are free to be as socially inappropriate as you wish, as is Somerby, but I am equally free to complain about it and point out that it is not funny and not appropriate because it is disrespectful of other people's feelings about what happened. Calling me a liar changes nothing about this.

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    18. Some comedians think that being in the humor business means you can say whatever you want. Bill Maher thinks this, for example. They think that being nice is PC and that PC culture is a bad thing. Somerby clearly knows that chuckling is wrong in this context -- he said so himself, but he goes on and does it anyway. Maybe he is one of those guys who never self-censors. If so, it would explain why he is single.

      Cecelia, this is not a conservative blog. I think you keep forgetting that. When Somerby says "us liberals," he is not talking about you. So you really shouldn't be expecting people here to laugh and the same thing that conservatives laugh at. Somerby excepted, of course.

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    19. Yes, 3:05pm, we’re going to have to disagree that the NYT Intelligencer and the GBI are off limits for eye-rolling and mockery.

      Until they aren’t.

      Go in peace.

      Delete
    20. Cecelia, this is not a conservative blog. I think you keep forgetting that. When Somerby says "us liberals," he is not talking about you. So you really shouldn't be expecting people here to laugh and the same thing that conservatives laugh at. Somerby excepted, of course.“

      You don’t speak for all liberals, any more than I speak for all “us conservatives “, Anonymouse3:17pm.

      We aren’t talking about political policy, and we’re certainly not talking about Rayshard Brooks’ tragic death.

      We’re talking about the handling of a report of this matter.

      Delete
    21. "“The incident in Buffalo is fake!!!” this post says. “This guy has been arrested many times before. He was antagonizing the cops. The cop pushed him away from him and the guy purposely fell! Look at this fake blood he hooked himself up with!! My friend in Buffalo said the hotels in Buffalo are filled with Antifa and they plan a big attack in Buffalo and Cheektowaga. ! Pray!”

      People like Cecelia are so used to calling everything fake that they don't understand real human trauma. For them it is all a big joke, a fake, false flag, not real. Lying, Cecelia says. And how do you confront the fake -- with eye rolling and mockery.

      But Somerby urges us to watch more Fox because there will be facts there that we haven't seen, such as that Gugino wasn't really injured, that he had a tube of fake blood running out of his ear, that he fell on purpose.

      That's why it is wrong to laugh at the death of an actual human being. Because it is real to the man who was shot and real to his friends and family and because people deserve respect, not eye-rolling and mockery, especially when they are unjustly dead at the hands of the police.

      Somerby doesn't get it and that is a huge clear that he is a fake liberal, someone pretending to be a human being, not expressing real feelings here but earning rubles to spread disinformation during a campaign year, much as the people quoted above.

      Cecelia, more people will listen to your opinions if you can pretend to be human too.

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    22. Somerby is saying that the corporate media is a political monolith and that Fox News is conservative. Therefore it’s anthropology all the way down.

      My condolences that there are people in the world who don’t say what you think every time they open their mouths. Cults are composed of people with the same complaint.

      Continue on with your god-given right to be little blog-busting totalitarians and I’ll carry on mocking and joking about you.

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    23. I don't care about your opinions. I object to the lack of respect for a human life shown by Somerby and defended by you.

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    24. What better way to celebrate Juneteenth than by implying that a black man shot by a cop got what he deserved? Good job TDH!

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    25. That’s not what you’re about. You object to the fact that TDH isn’t another version of you.

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    26. I object to TDH because he says he is liberal but he behaves like a conservative.

      Delete
    27. anon 8:07, I used to think that being a "liberal" was different than being a nitwit. Not according to you though.

      Delete
    28. Here is a man who is forever posting data showing an intractable racial gap, without ever wanting to discuss how the gap might be addressed or why it exists.

      Are you saying the gap hasn’t proved to be intractable? Because it has. And why again does TDH have to discuss how the gap might be addressed? Perhaps he doesn’t know, just like everyone else. And you’re lying about his acknowledging the cause — our racial history, which TDH has called “brutal” and “benighted.”

      And he argued that Gates had no reason to complain, back when police were called on him for trying to get into his own house.

      TDH argued no such thing. I went back to the archives of the old Daily Howler and looked up the blog entries. TDH says that the accounts of Gates [renowned professor] and Crowley [arresting office of renowned professor] differ so much that one of them is lying. Nothing about the basis for Gates’ complaints.

      And he defended Trump when he called the nazis in Charlottesville good people.

      Another of your “untruths.” Trump claimed he was talking about people who weren’t Nazis but were protesting the removal of a Confederate statue. Now I don’t believe that for a moment, but I don’t want reporters to write only what appeals to me.

      And he defended George Zimmerman after he killed Trayvon Martin.

      Another of your lies. What TDH wrote was that no one knows what happened just before Zimmerman shot Martin. As I pointed out at the time, Florida law is so fucked up that it’s possible that both men could have been legally justified in killing the other.

      And the same when police shot Philando Castile.

      You’re still lying. The google finds the name Philando Castile three times in TDH blog entries, all about reporting on police shooting. Nowhere does he “defend” Castile’s killer.

      And he has several times attacked Di Blasio's attempts to decrease segregation in NY schools, complaining that including more black students in the special high schools would disadvantage Asian students.

      It’s de Blasio, and of course, the mayor’s plan to increase black enrollment at New York City’s elite high schools actually would disadvantage Asian-American students.

      And he has criticized studies showing that integration helps black students.

      Yeah? Quote him. Actually, TDH assumes that integration is a good thing. Here’s what he wrote on 6/11/19 (Emphasis mine.):

      “[P]eople who want to serve the children who attend those schools need to move beyond childish crying about "segregation," even though the reduction of racial isolation will presumably be a good thing.”

      He seems to believe there are not enough white students to prevent the all-minority schools in major cities, but in the process never makes even a pro forma statement in support of the value of attempting to integrate schools.

      This isn’t something that TDH “seems to believe”; it’s something anyone who can read for comprehension understands to obtain from the demographics. And your “pro forma” statement is a lie as demonstrated above.

      And that just isn't the way a liberal behaves, much less an anti-racist.

      I’d hate to think that liberals and anti-racists behave like you — lying about someone you don’t like.

      Liar.

      Delete
    29. Cecelia, more people will listen to your opinions if you can pretend to be human too.

      Cecelia, like all Republicans, is practiced at pretending to be human. That's why they can walk amongst us without people recoiling in horror.

      Sometimes the mask slips a little. No performance can be perfect.

      Delete
    30. This is very painful.

      It’s like constantly being on the bad side of an assistant manager.

      Delete
    31. "That's why it is wrong to laugh at the death of an actual human being."

      Surely you must agree that lowlife idiot perp, like Brooks, in effect offing himself for no other reason than his own stupidity is funny as hell.

      If you're definitely unable to see it, I'll have to conclude that you aren't humyn.

      Delete
    32. Mao,
      Well, the Right-wing retort telling black people to shut the hell up, i.e. "All Lives Matter", says you are mistaken.
      If you have a problem with that, take it up with those assholes.

      Delete
  4. "Fawningly, the claims were repeated. Viewers weren't even allowed to know that the claims have been denied."

    What accused person doesn't deny the charges against him? Brosnan's attorney's denials are pro forma unless he is planning to plead guilty. Yet Somerby suggests that Maddow should have repeated them, in all of their self-serving predictability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In criminal cases? Over 90% of the accused, including Michael Flynn.

      Delete
    2. OK, I should have said "in the absence of a plea bargain". Happy now?

      Delete
    3. Sorry, but my happiness does not depend on your comments.

      Do you realize that by adding your caveat, you've vitiated your claim?

      Delete
    4. No, my claims are not "vitiated". It was Somerby who thought there was some significance in a denial.

      Delete
    5. TDH’s point is that some claims have been denied but reporters ignored the denials. Seems like an important point to me, but of course, your mileage may vary. Which it apparently did because you told us that denials aren’t newsworthy because every accused automatically denies any wrongdoing. When I point out that the premise of your objection is faulty and that almost all criminal defendants admit their guilt, what’s your response?

      Oh, yeah, except for the overwhelming majority that don’t deny their guilt, everybody else accused denies their guilt. So my point still stands.

      I don’t think you know what vitiated means.

      Delete
  5. "We'll think about the possible survey we sometimes wonder about. After reading Wesley Lowery's Atlantic essay, we imagined several survey questions which could be asked, mainly involving this one:
    How many "white" people do police officers shoot and kill?
    How many respondents would lean toward "none?" In part, that's a question about our comically awful journalism. It's also a question about the way our human minds tend to work."

    Somerby isn't reporting the results of any actual survey. He has created a hypothetical survey in which people answer that unarmed white people are never killed. He doesn't know that the public would answer that way, but he keeps insisting that they would. This, after writing a lengthy essay about how facts should be presented instead of narrative.

    We are not all as ignorant as Somerby assumes. Further, today Somerby ignores the graph his pal Kevin Drum posted yesterday, showing the rates of white versus black shootings by police. Why did he fail to include that? Perhaps because it undermines his argument about the ignorance of readers, the knee-jerk assumptions of liberals, the straw man he has been creating about how the media keeps pretending that white people are never shot.

    Somerby is being an ass. Several shootings of unarmed white men have occurred in California and evoked community protests that appeared in news broadcasts. One was a mentally ill man. Another was a homeless man.

    Further, the data base created by the Washington Post includes white and black shootings because this issue arose during the BLM protests in 2016, an election issue that received plenty of coverage.

    That too interferes with Somerby's narrative about how liberals don't know that white people get killed by cops too. And does Somerby think that if white people are being killed by cops at the same rate as black people, that makes it OK for cops to keep on doing what they do?

    Kevin Drum at least points out that black people are more vulnerable because of their greater likelihood of being stopped by police, and he frames the issue in terms of a CA jaywalking law that is often used as a pretext to hassle black men on the street.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can accept that Somerby is an "ass" before I can accept that he is a "bigot," as 11:04 stated above, although it seems to me your point about the "imaginary survey" is clear enough without your having to resort to name-calling. But alas it's a common enough feature of the commenters here to attack Somerby personally. I urge you, and others, to attack his arguments, as you have done here, serving as a model, and leave it at that?

      Delete
    2. Bigot is as bigot does.

      Delete
  6. “It was New York magazine which let us know that Brooks "was able to obtain the Taser." That said, similar fudging of language—accompanied by fudging of facts—has been fairly routine as our "journalists" attempt or pretend to describe what happened that night.”

    These are direct quotes from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI):

    “During the arrest, the male subject resisted and a struggle ensued.

    “These new videos indicate that during a physical struggle with officers, Brooks obtained one of the officer's Tasers and began to flee from the scene. “

    The link to the GBI is:

    https://gbi.georgia.gov/press-releases/2020-06-13/gbi-investigates-officer-involved-shooting-atlanta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What's your point?

      Are dembot journos now operating, proudly, as copy-paste robots?

      Or only in some cases, when it suits their agenda?

      Delete
  7. If a taser is considered a "deadly weapon" under Georgia law (this is not exactly what the law or rules say), how is it that police officers are authorized to use it without being under imminent threat to their own lives?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Does Somerby seriously believe that reporters must hold back all reporting on a topic until all the facts are known?

    Somerby complains that he has only learned some "facts" (is he sure they are correct) from Fox and not from cable such as CNN (which is not particularly "liberal" except in comparison with Fox). The choice to include or exclude info is made with a goal in mind. At Fox, their goal is to tarnish the victim and build up the cops, and they select their facts accordingly. Somerby only complains when CNN or MSNBC leave out the victim-blaming and report about the officers instead. In a police shooting, the behavior of the officers is more salient than whether the victim was on parole or whether his sister actually lived nearby.

    If Somerby were writing about what facts a competent news report should include, his approach would be very different than bashing certain reporters because they didn't report that the victim was asleep in (not driving) a rental car. For example, Somerby might discuss and even list the facts he considers important to a report (which cannot possibly be the GA law about walking home) of a police shooting. Instead, he uses his essay to say negative things about reporters he doesn't like, does a little race-baiting, and chuckles about the deceased's details, as if laughing about a taser is funny to anyone.

    Why do some here take Somerby at face value when he claims he cares about the mainstream media? He makes no attempt at analysis at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The problem is everyone feels free to have an opinion, without all the facts (often with just a sliver of them), or based on a skewed statement of the facts, and without considering there can be 2 or more sides to the story. Whatever happens has to be shaped to fit a narrative, often a highly selective one (as we are seeing big time now.

      Delete
  9. "Brooks obtained one of the officer's Tasers"

    How many tasers did each officer carry? How many tasers can you use at one time?

    How many tasers are needed to subdue a subject?

    In one report that I read, Brooks was already under control but when the officer let go of him in order to reach for his taser, Brooks struggled and broke away. The sequence of events suggests that the prospect of being tasered caused his renewed struggle and the removal of the officer's hand to reach for the taser gave Brooks the opportunity to escape.

    Why would an officer want to taser a man who is already under control? Is use of the taser routine to "subdue" or hurt someone already under control? How is that not akin to torture or punishment of a suspect? Was it necessary at all?

    How much does fear and the efforts to flee contribute to these various shooting deaths? Could officers do anything to reduce fear, especially in drunk or drugged or otherwise incoherent people who are already distressed? Is it a good idea to induce panic in someone who is drunk and will they be able to control their behavior and prevent chaos?

    Somerby doesn't ever seem to think about any of this stuff. That suggests he has no interest in it -- but these are the things that occur when someone cares about what happened to a black man who was shot by police instead of the size of Rachel Maddow's paycheck. Is indifference to the plight of black men like Brooks a form of racism? If so, does chuckling about the reports of his death show indifference and a callous lack of concern about this issue, and is that racism? I would vote yes on an imaginary survey about it.

    ReplyDelete
  10. “She also asked Howard if his unusually quick action in charging Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan was affected by his upcoming run-off election, part of a re-election campaign in which he's been running behind.

    She even asked Howard to address the charges of sexual harassment he is currently facing, along with the charges of financial impropriety.”

    Had she done that, would that truly have been good journalism?

    We are not likely to know if Howard’s situation led him to bring charges in the way that he did. Anything is possible. But bringing up these other matters only serves to suggest that Howard was corrupt or rash, without offering any proof that he is. It seems like a slur intended to discredit him and the charges. Maddow was more interested in discussing the matter at hand, the charges themselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here I am, trying to discuss what Somerby actually said, and wondering if Maddow should have brought up the allegations against Howard, as Somerby seems to suggest.

      What do I have to do to get a response, call Somerby a bigot?

      Delete
    2. Your comments are unanswerable because they are well reasoned and factual. They're leaving you alone because engaging you would make things worse for them (and you haven't given them a hook).

      Somerby is showing his own true colors. Commenters here are just pointing that out.

      Delete
  11. “The victims who get spoken about, along with the victims who don't”

    Is Somerby trying to start a movement? Perhaps it could be called “All Lives Matter”, except that is only used as a contemptuous retort to “Black Lives Matter.”

    The reason the killing of blacks by police gets most of the attention is that activist movements like Black Lives Matter stage protests, including the massive ones going on right now. That generates intense media focus.

    The effect of the protests may be to bring about needed reforms in policing. Most of those reforms, such as the banning of no-knock raids, have the potential to benefit all suspects, not just blacks.

    All people are free to form movements and to protest police violence. Given that whites have a generally much more favorable view of the police than blacks, perhaps it has been left to blacks to highlight the problem.

    The media isn’t in the business of activism, so any concerns about police violence (like the Houston raid) have to come from the people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "On June 4, BLM’s Washington, D.C., chapter and five individuals filed a novel and potentially far-reaching federal lawsuit against Barr, President Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Army Chief of Staff General James McConville and other law enforcement officials, alleging their First and Fourth Amendment rights were violated when peaceful demonstrators were violently removed from Lafayette Square, just outside the gates of the White House, on the evening of June 1."

    In Somerby's words, yay yay yay yay yay!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Then there is this story from The Guardian:

    "A Trump-loving white security guard with a racist past shot and killed an unarmed Black man during an unprovoked hotel parking lot attack. [the guard attacked the black man with pepper spray]

    Former Tulsa detention officer Christopher Straight has been charged with first-degree manslaughter after he provoked and then fatally shot Carlos Carson earlier this month, and newly released surveillance video shows the 36-year-old Black man had his back turned when the attack began, reported The Guardian."...

    "The day before killing Carson, Straight shared a Facebook meme with the words: “How about all lives matter. Not black lives, not white lives. Get over yourself no one’s life is more important than the next. Put your race card away and grow up.”

    This is similar to the sentiment Somerby expresses (in the guise of media criticism), coming from a racist security guard with a gun and an attitude. And Trump is bragging that protesters will not be treated well in Tulsa, giving license to these creeps.

    Somerby should be so proud to be in their company, watching Fox for all the details and humming his favorite confederate marching song.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “and humming his favorite confederate marching song.”

      This is my favorite one:

      https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CDOWpnBv6cY

      Delete
    2. AnonymouseketeerJune 19, 2020 at 5:09 PM

      @4:59 - Happy Juneteenth, cracker.

      Delete
    3. 3:53 -- it's ridiculous to place all that on Somerby, applying the "logic" that his comments or approach is somehow "similar" to a Facebook post by a racist who then goes out and murders. If you can't see that it's ridiculous, well, then you're beyond reach. If know it's ridiculous and say such a thing anyway, then you're operating in bad faith. Either way, ain't good.

      Delete
  14. "It almost sounds like he sent away to Amazon, or had somehow managed to prove that the Taser in question really belonged to him."

    Or it almost sounds like he was in fear of his life and took advantage of an officer's stupidity to try to defend himself.

    YMMV

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. “Or it almost sounds like he was in fear of his life and took advantage of an officer's stupidity to try to defend himself.”

      How could it be that? Brooks was resisting arrest for a DUI. He passed out in a drive-thru line. What if he had been driving? He thought he was in Clayton County, Ga when he was in southwest Fulton County. How could they have let him walk home?

      Here you are calling these police officers stupid and saying that they wanted to murder Brooks because they were doing their job. What lengths will you go in order to divide people.

      Delete
    2. Pro Tip, Cecelia: don't comment while drunk.

      There can be more than one interpretation to a phrase in an investigative report concerning of an arrest gone horribly bad whether you agree with it or not. YMMV means "your mileage may vary", meaning you might have a different opinion.

      Resisting arrest is not a summary capital offense. Nor is DUI. There is probable cause that the shooting officer committed murder. He is entitled to a presumption of innocence in a court of law.

      Learn to read. I never called the officers stupid. An officer made a mistake - a stupid mistake - when he allowed Brooks to take his taser from him. I shortened this mistake to "an officer's stupidity." Perhaps I should have called it "ill-advised."

      I never discussed the officers' intentions, only that Brooks could have believed his life was in danger, especially if he was intoxicated.

      You're a belligerent, conservative commenter trolling a supposedly non-conservative political blog, now clutching your pearls while accusing me of trying to "divide people", whatever that's supposed to mean. However, YMMV.

      Delete
    3. Perhaps I should change the last paragraph to "You're a feisty conservative commenter trolling a supposedly non-conservative political blog, now clutching your pearls while accusing me of trying to "divide people", whatever that's supposed to mean. However, YMMV."

      Delete
    4. Here’s one for you: You’re a fatuous bonehead, who is militant and entitled to the point of not only dictating what a blogger may or may not say to be ideologically correct, but also who should and should not be reading and commenting upon it.

      Now you’re implying that the officers thought they were jury, judge, and executioner, because Brosnan was so inconsiderate as to enable Brooks to take his taser during a melee, which therefore put Brooks in the unfortunate position of having to fear for his life while pointing the weapon at Rolfe.

      After all, woke policing would have been to reroute traffic around the sleeping Brooks, or for Atlanta po-po to drive home, Mayberry style, such unfortunate underdogs, with past records of violence. The latter being an assumption that Brooks would be so improbably naive as to open such a can of worms.

      You’re indeed a fatuous bonehead, unfortunately you’re not the only one.








      Delete
    5. "After all, woke policing would have been to reroute traffic around the sleeping Brooks"

      Spoken like a true WHITE SUPREMACIST, you.

      In fact, True Woke Police, upon encountering a perp with Racially Superior Skin Hue, would immediately kneel, made a low bow, and tase themselves.

      Delete
    6. Brooks was resisting arrest for a DUI.

      When did the officer advise Brooks that he was being arrested for DUI?

      Delete
    7. When Rolfe told him he had blown a breathalyzer over the legal limit, and to put his hands behind his back.

      Delete
    8. Sorry, Dixie, that never happened. We can all watch the video from the body cam, he never advised Brooks he was being arrested for DUI.

      Delete
    9. Yeah, you have a point. Rolfe was more concerned about assuring us what Brooks had blown, than with showing Brooks.

      Here’s a very lucid synopsis of what went down. Your sacrificial ceremonies have begun.

      https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.ajc.com/news/crime--law/rayshard-brooks-final-minutes/qoSjbkqLxNQiuMe97019nJ/amp.html

      Delete
  15. Here is Kevin Drum's take on the same 538 data that Somerby thought meant Trump would win:

    "The “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, which doomed Hillary Clinton in 2016, now appears to be pretty rock solid again. Even Ohio and Georgia look winnable for Biden."

    Who thinks Trump is going to win? Only Trump supporters...and Somerby.

    ReplyDelete
  16. “Who thinks Trump is going to win? Only Trump supporters...and Somerby.”

    Same cohort as 2016, huh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dixie, do you think Trump has any chance of winning the popular vote? Any chance whatsoever? Not even his campaign team are that delusional.

      Not saying who will win or lose, but are you cool with another presidential election where the winner of the popular vote loses in the EC?

      Delete
    2. I’m not identical to you. There’s cultural differences or something. I would accept whatever happened according to the policy we had.

      Im a Republican, but I wouldn’t consider Biden to be some sort of alien dropped from Mars anymore than I did Pres. Obama.

      I didn’t have that teaching growing up. Not that it isn’t easier for me now to be pessimistic about American politicians being able to lead us over a cliff, but it still isn’t “easy”.

      Delete
    3. Funny how you didn't answer the first question.
      Haha, so tolerant of you, you're willing to accept continued tyranny of the minority, as long as it's your minority.

      One thing I can guarantee, the first time a republican wins the popular vote but gets narrowly beat in the EC, the barbarians will take to the streets with their assault weapons. Guaranteed.

      Delete
    4. Was talking to a family of coronavirus yesterday. And they're just like moo moo and David. They love the job Trump is doin . They're flourishing like never before. Hate masks...
      They do depart from mooch and dinc over hydroxychloroquine they just found it funny as hell.

      Delete
    5. And they're all going to the rally, of course.

      Delete
    6. Rally... protest.., yeah.

      Delete
    7. You may want to find a unitary state and move there, dear Hillary.

      May I suggest the Democratic Republic of the Congo? It's a unitary state with no WHITE SUPREMACY whatsoever.

      You'll like it there.

      Delete
    8. Go fuck yourself, Ivan, you worry about your oligarchy and I'll worry about my democracy.
      Stay away from open windows.

      Delete
    9. Hit a nerve, eh? Calm down, dear Hillary, we would hate to see you fainting again.

      Delete
  17. It used to be that freedom from banana republic vendettas was one of the advantages of our political system, but no longer:

    "“In recent days, President Trump has casually asked administration officials and close advisers if John Bolton — his former national security adviser who is releasing a new, tell-all book about working in the Trump administration — is prison-bound,” the Daily Beast reports.

    Asked Trump: “Do you think he’s going to go to jail for this?”"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aka "Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?"

      Delete
    2. Obama did when he came into office.

      It should have stayed that way.

      Delete
    3. Why don't your liberal establishment bosses make your new God John Bolton a CNN "expert" already and be done with it?

      Delete
    4. New God Bolton = Fuck, even that asshole knows Trump is a treasonous piece of shit.

      Delete
  18. “ One thing I can guarantee, the first time a republican wins the popular vote but gets narrowly beat in the EC, the barbarians will take to the streets with their assault weapons. Guaranteed.”

    Rather than investigating conspiracy theories to death.

    Sure. I’ll take that to the bank then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. tsk, tsk, Dixie, don't you want to see the 25th Benghazi investigation?

      So magnanimous of you.

      Delete
    2. As compared to what? You?

      Delete
    3. Yeah, me, Dixie. I'm old enough to remember when your party wasn't batshit insane. A fucking global viral pandemic is now a fucking red/blue issue. Aint that some shit.

      Delete
  19. “A fucking global viral pandemic is now a fucking red/blue issue. Aint that some shit.”

    You’re a week late and a riot short.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, Dixie. That hurt. Like a shotgun blast to my face.

      Delete
  20. Shorter Cecelia: I know you are, what am I? [20x]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That’ sentiment is shorter than “Check!”?

      Delete
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