Part 4—Where ditto-heads get bogus facts: For decades, we liberals got to pretend that we were smarter, more nuanced, less gullible.
We were better than the ditto-heads, those rubes in the other tribe.
That childish dream has come to an end in the course of the past month. Alas! We now have a set of “liberal” news organs which have cast themselves in the traditional Rush Limbaugh mode.
They've churned reams of bogus facts—and our own ditto-heads now rush to repeat them. So it was when Kevin Drum offered this perfectly sensible post about the dueling video close-ups in the matter of George Zimmerman’s alleged injuries.
Drum asked for comment about the images which have appeared on MSNBC. Before too long, several commenters were churning a familiar bogus fact, one of the many we've been fed about this important story:
COMMENTER A (4/11/12): If the police did their job, they would have taken crime scene photos of all the participants. Compression artifact laden, hour later video is crap.These commenters spread the word about "this detail:" The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! Other commenters seemed to agree, relating this alleged fact to the alleged general failure of the Sanford police to stage a real investigation.
COMMENTER B (4/11/12): Given this police force's history of racism and the obvious incompetence with which they handled the situation, I am not inclined to trust them. I would, however, have trusted any crime scene photographs. That they did not take them leads me to believe that they handled Zimmerman with kid gloves because his dad was a judge.
COMMENTER B: I'm not trusting the video. I'd trust the crime scene photos that the police should have taken. The fact is, this case cannot be prosecuted because the police didn't do their jobs.
COMMENTER C (4/11/12): I have only one question. I have numerous family members in law enforcement, and they raise the question. If Zimmerman sustained injury during this altercation why weren't pictures taken of his injuries when he was taken in? The case is strange to a certain degree. If there are pictures, release them to shut up the public and let justice proceed.
COMMENTER D (4/11/12): Racists trolls in general, please respond. No pictures of injuries when police investigating a fatal shooting. Seems strange, don't you think? I'm waiting with bated breath to hear your twisted justification (I know you'll come up with something) of this detail.
By now, of course, this pleasing claim doesn’t exactly make sense. We liberals also like to note that the lead investigator at the scene of the shooting wanted Zimmerman charged with a crime.
Why would this man stage a fake, phony probe? Inquiring minds may want to know, but tribal minds don't really care. Our various claims no longer make sense. But we repeat them all the same, just as Limbaugh’s much-reviled ditto-heads always have done.
We used to laugh at the ditto-heads. Now, mega-dittos are us!
The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! In fairness, It’s understandable if our "liberal" ditto-heads think this claim has been established; this is one of the thousand bogus facts our liberal "news organs" have blared in our faces. That said, is there any actual reason to believe that no photos were taken? We know of no evidence to that effect—and the New York Times reported this in its long news report on this matter:
BARRY (4/2/12): Less than half an hour after Trayvon Martin died face-down in gated grass, a privileged crowd of 17,000 rose to their feet at the NBA All-Star game in Orlando, 20 miles to the south, to sing the national anthem. Then, while people enjoyed their after-parties, his body, not yet identified, was taken to the medical examiner's office in Volusia County.Is that true? Did the Sanford police take many photographs of Zimmerman’s alleged injuries? We don’t know, but we’ll be surprised if it turns out that they didn’t.
Mr. Zimmerman, meanwhile, was taken to Sanford police headquarters, where, he told his father, the police took many photographs of his injuries. His father said that he had a broken nose, a swollen and cut lower lip, and two cuts on the back of his head.
Were photos taken of Zimmerman’s head? Like us, those commenters simply don’t know. But we liberals have our own ditto-heads now; as Limbaugh’s acolytes always have done, we simply repeat the claims we hear from our tribe’s “news organs.” Are these liberals aware of all the claims at these news orgs which have turned out to be bogus—fake, false? People! Remember when Salon's Joan Walsh offered this two-fisted groaner?
WALSH (3/27/08): The fact is, whatever turns out to be true, the president was right: This case looks like too many others where a young black man was gunned down for being a young black man. A 17-year-old was shot to death, and no one was taken to a police station to be questioned about it. It then took police three days to locate the dead boy’s family. Now they’re sliming him with anonymous leaks.As you can see, a twofer lurked in that pitiful paragraph. Zimmerman wasn’t taken to the police station! And this:
It took the Sanford police three days to notify Martin’s parents!
Both claims were false—disgracefully so. (As of March 27, it was already abundantly clear that Zimmerman had been taken in for questioning.) But so what? Fifteen days later, no corrections appear on Walsh’s bungled report.
Sorry, ditto-heads! Life-forms like the imperial Walsh no longer bother with actual facts. False factual claims serve a very good end. They make us ditto-heads mad!
Alas! A childish dream has come to an end—a dream in which we liberals were the smart, honest, nuanced players. Walsh is now the purveyor of bogus facts—the Limbaugh figure in this drama. And the rubes who keep churning claims like hers have been cast in the ditto-head role.
Have we mentioned the fact that it’s understandable, though unfortunate, when ditto-heads churn these bogus claims? Everywhere today’s liberal looks, he is being misinformed and misled on the basic facts of this case.
The modern liberal’s most trusted sources keep making bogus factual claims. Just consider the editorial in today’s New York Times.
In our view, Andrew Rosenthal doesn’t seem to be up to the task of running this editorial page. This morning, an editorial makes a string of false, misleading or unproven claims about the Martin-Zimmerman case. Eventually, we get this classic howler:
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL (4/12/12): Angela Corey, the special prosecutor, declined to discuss details of the case but said that if the Stand Your Ground law is invoked by the defense, “we will fight it” with evidence that the shooting was unjustified. In this case, Mr. Zimmerman exited his car to follow the teenager despite a 911 dispatcher’s warning: “We don’t need you to do that.”Classic! We would have assumed that every serious observer agreed by now that Zimmerman had already left the car by the time the dispatcher made that statement. Here's why we would have thought that:
When the tape of Zimmerman’s 911 call was released, many pundits noted the fact that you could hear the car door open when Zimmerman left his truck—that you could hear him huffing and puffing as he followed Martin on foot. They noted that these events occurred before the dispatcher’s comment.
Was Zimmerman already out of his car, following on foot, when the dispatcher made that comment? Al Sharpton told the story that way on March 23, just after playing the 911 tape:
SHARPTON (3/23/12): Again, let me play this 911 tape, because there’s nowhere in this 911 tape does Zimmerman even remotely act like he’s being threatened or has to defend himself. In fact, he’s saying the guy is running and he’s running behind him. Listen to this:According to Sharpton’s narration, Zimmerman was already out of his truck and huffing a bit when he responds to the dispatcher's comment. Rather plainly, the Grio’s Joy-Ann Reid presented the sequence the same way earlier on that same program. (To watch this whole segment, click here.)
(begin audio clip)
ZIMMERMAN: These (bleep)-holes, they always get away.
911 DISPATCHER: Are you following him?
911 DISPATCHER: OK. We don’t need you to do that.
(end audio clip)
SHARPTON: So he’s following him, you can hear him huffing, “Yeah.” He’s told, “We don’t need you to do that,” he says, “OK”...
Many observers told the story this way when the 911 tape was released. But for those who want to heighten the fury of us rubes, the story works better if Zimmerman is still in his truck when the dispatcher makes his remark. And so the story has often been told that way, in the best tradition of fact-pimps like Limbaugh and Hannity.
Was Zimmerman still in his truck at the time of that comment? We know of no evidence that this is true. Quite plainly, the 911 tape seems to suggest that this version of the story is wrong on the facts, and Zimmerman's reps have always told the story a different way. In their account, he was following on foot when the comment was made, and he then turned back.
The Zimmerman story may not be true, of course—but we know of no evidence that he was still in his truck when the dispatcher made his comment. But so what? There it is again this morning, presented as an established fact—in an editorial in the New York Times, our greatest American newspaper!
Can you really blame us liberal rubes for repeating false or unfounded claims? Can you really blame us liberal rubes when the lords conduct business this way?
They let Zimmerman walk away with his gun! The Sanford police didn’t take any photos! He wasn’t taken down to the station! And oh yes:
“Mr. Zimmerman exited his car to follow the teenager despite a 911 dispatcher’s warning.”
Can you blame the nation’s liberals for believing various bogus claims? Is it surprising that our side crawls with ditto-heads too, when leaders in the “journalistic” world refuse to stop acting this way?
Tomorrow: Piers Morgan, James B. Stewart, journalism’s end