THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, 2021
Script emerges fast: On this morning's Morning Joe, we heard the following factual claims. We don't know if they're accurate:
We heard that the Capitol Hill police force has a total of 2200 officers. Only 500 were on duty yesterday, when the insurrection began.
Are those numbers accurate? We have no idea.
We also heard that it's the House of Representatives, not the White House, which is in charge of that police force.
Is that statement accurate? We don't know that either!
We ask these questions for an obvious reason. During yesterday's insurrection, it looked like the police were badly outnumbered when the thundering herd arrived.
This morning, almost everyone seemed to agree that the police had been badly understaffed. But who was responsible for the apparent lack of foresight which went into staffing decisions?
Given the buildup to yesterday's action, why were so few officers on duty, and who had done the planning? As of this morning, no one seemed to know.
We'll make one basic point. Information tends to develop slowly. But script emerges very quickly, and everyone starts to recite.
Over here in the streets of Our Town, a pleasing script quickly emerged concerning yesterday's chaos. This pleasing script was built around race, as almost all favored Storylines currently are in Our Town.
Even in this morning's newspapers, everyone was reciting this new script. We humans memorize fast!
Nicholas Kristof recited the script. So did a news report on the Washington Post's front page. So did some letters in the New York Times. We just saw Biden state it.
On Morning Joe, they recited the instant script in extremely graphic ways. If the insurrectionists had been black, Joe himself said, "they would have been shot in the face!"
(He said that shortly after he unloosed his shouted performative F-bomb.)
Joe and Mika kept claiming that police officers had been posing for selfies with members of the horde. For whatever reason, they aired no photographs and no videotape of this alleged behavior. On the brighter side, this let us see how much they (suddenly) care about racial justice.
As we noted a week or so back, we sometimes seem to love our scripts more than we love life itself. In the last few years, all our scripts seem designed to show how much we care about racial justice, after decades of total disinterest.
That said, how accurate was this instant script? We can't tell you yet. We expect to return to that question in the days ahead, after information develops.
That's right—information. Information! Remember that?