Part 2—Do you believe Lisa Bloom: As a people, are we able to hold a national discourse?
The evidence isn’t encouraging. Our policy discussions have been a joke for several decades now. They tend to be built around two kinds of facts: Facts which are simply wrong, and other accurate facts which are being withheld.
When we talk about politicians, we tend to get lost in the body wash of our own fatuous longings.
Some of the fault, dear Brutus, is in ourselves! But a very large part of the fault is in the stars–in the famous TV stars seen on our cable “news channels.”
A lot of the fault is in these people, who are cast as members of our national “press corps.”
Consider one of the conversations which occurred last evening concerning the Zimmerman trial. This conversation involves Lisa Bloom, the “MSNBC legal analyst.”
First, a bit of background:
Who initiated the altercation between George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin? Beyond that, who was winning the fight?
Answering these questions wouldn’t necessarily settle this case. Even if it were somehow established that Martin struck the first blow and was winning the fight, a person could decide that Zimmerman’s use of deadly force was unjustified.
A person could reach that judgment even it were somehow shown that Zimmerman was walking back to his truck when the altercation occurred, as he continues to claim.
Still, a great deal of energy has been invested in that pair of questions. This leads to a third major question: Which person was screaming for help on that now-famous 911 tape?
Last week, the prosecution introduced this question into the trial. For its final witness, it called Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, to say the person screaming for help was her son.
Yesterday, two police officers testified that Martin’s father said the voice wasn’t that of his son when he first heard the tape. Or so they took him to say.
Martin’s father, Tracy Martin, then took the stand and testified that he didn’t say that. According to Tracy Martin, he only said, on that first occasion, that he couldn’t tell if the voice belonged to his son.
None of these questions would settle the case, but the road to acquittal would be much harder if it could be shown that it was Martin screaming for help that night. In a rational world, the testimony by Tracy Martin would heighten the sense that it’s hard to tell who was screaming for help.
You don’t live in that kind of world! Increasingly, we live in a world where corporate entities seek profit by fawning to tribal belief.
Within those corporate worlds, slimy people are paid large sums to maintain and extend the pleasing narratives preferred by the tribe in question.
And so it was that the exchange shown below occurred at the start of last evening’s Last Word. What’s shown below was the first Q-and-A in the pseudo-discussion which opened this program.
Lawrence O’Donnell played tape from the trial. Then, the cable star engaged in this peculiar, snark-ridden exchange with Bloom, the alleged legal analyst:
O’DONNELL (7/8/13): Joining me now, MSNBC legal analyst Lisa Bloom and Faith Jenkins, a former criminal prosecutor. Lisa, I can’t remember seeing a move like this.To state the obvious, O’Donnell had assembled a panel knowing that each of its members would follow the corporate line on this case. That said, riddle us this:
This was so risky for the defense to be calling Trayvon Martin’s father. How do you think it worked in the courtroom?
BLOOM: I’m sorry, was Tracy Martin on trial today? Right? Because if he was, he was guilty. He was guilty of being grief-stricken and upset and putting his head down when he heard the recording of his son’s final moments before the bullet shot rang out that killed his son.
I mean, what a ridiculous distraction for the defense. This to me is one of the biggest blunders they’ve made, right up there with putting George Zimmerman on Hannity to say that killing Trayvon Martin was God’s plan. I mean, this was a disaster for them.
Do you think that Lisa Bloom really believes what she said? If she does believe what she said, are we able, as a people, to conduct a national discourse?
Just for the record, Bloom is a second-generation cable TV star. Her mother is Gloria Allred, also of cable fame.
Having established the brilliant gene line, we restate the question: Do you think that Lisa Bloom really believes what she said?
Granted, most of Bloom’s statement was snark, not assertion. As she started, Bloom pandered to gullible liberals with a bunch of snark about Tracy Martin being on trial and being found guilty of having been grief-stricken.
Having been treated like low-IQ fools, let’s set that stupid shit to the side. In your view, does Lisa Bloom really believe that calling Tracy Martin to the stand turned out to be “one of the biggest blunders” the defense has made?
Do you think she really believes that it was “a disaster?” A ridiculous distraction?
We find it quite hard to believe that she does. But then, we were also struck by O’Donnell’s reaction:
O’DONNELL (continuing directly): Faith, it was shocking to me to see them—Because it is so risky, and the one thing you lawyers don’t like to do is take risks in the courtroom where you don’t know how it’s going to work. And his testimony, I think it made perfect sense to me that he would have the reaction he did, basically being asked, you know, “Do you recognize that sound?” And he’s never heard that sound before.In that statement, O’Donnell seemed to assume. among other things, that Tracy Martin’s testimony was accurate—he said it made perfect sense—while that of the two police officers was not. Jenkins proved reliable, as she reliably does:
JENKINS (continuing directly): Right. The substance of his testimony was very compelling and very believable to these jurors and I think to people watching today too.There’s more, and we suggest that you watch it. But below, you see where this tribal tongue bath went, after O’Donnell played tape of a Zimmerman friend saying there was “absolutely no doubt in my mind” that the voice screaming for help belonged to his friend, George Zimmerman:
O’DONNELL: Lisa Bloom, I’ve got to say, I don’t know how a jury can accept that there’s absolutely no doubt in your mind. We’ve all listened to that tape. None of us can sit here and say, “Oh, that’s, you know, George,” or, “That’s Trayvon.” You can’t do it. You can make your best approximation.We agree with O’Donnell on his basic point. That friend of Zimmerman may be right in his judgment. But there is absolutely no way for the jury to know if he is.
And that’s why it seemed to me that the kind of humility in Trayvon’s brother, for example, when he talks about what he thinks he heard sounds more real to me than, “There’s no doubt in my mind.”
We agree with O’Donnell on that point. But O’Donnell then praised “the kind of humility” displayed by Martin’s half-brother, Jahvaris Fulton. In what did that humility consist?
Presumably, this is what O’Donnell meant: Last year, Fulton “said in an interview that he was not sure who it was" on the tape, a fact he acknowledged in court last Friday. (We're quoting the news report from Saturday's New York Times.) But note how tribal cable works:
As O’Donnell continued the tongue bath, tribal viewers were allowed to admire Fulton’s humility without ever being told what he had actually said! O’Donnell forgot to mention what Fulton said last year and acknowledged last week.
In her response, Bloom provided more comfort, then reached on odd conclusion:
BLOOM (continuing directly): Right. Or Tracy Martin, who says initially he just hung his head down, kind of an "Oh, my God" reaction, and then he had to hear it a few more times. None of the witnesses has said for sure it’s either Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman said they heard any of them screaming hysterically in any kind of similar circumstances, which is obviously very different than normal conversation. And, of course, none of them knew both men’s voices so that they could compare.Exactly! The day’s testimony washed away the hope of knowing who screamed for help that night. More specifically, it washed away the certainty expressed by Martin’s mother in her testimony last Friday.
Frankly, if I were on the jury, I don’t think any of this testimony would be all that significant to me.
Sybrina Fulton was one of the people whose testimony was being thrown away by Bloom! And yet, O’Donnell’s viewers were instantly told, at the start of the program, that this had been “a disaster” for the defense, the team our tribe is rooting against.
When tribal viewers tune to this show, they know their desires will be serviced.
Increasingly, cable entities pay large sums to people who agree to behave in the manner requested. Those entities are corporate entities, and they’re looking for profit.
TV stars accept the pay and provide the tribal services. This conduct largely started on Fox, but now it is spreading wildly. As this unfortunate conduct spreads, gullible members of various tribes can’t see that they’re being played.
Dear Brutus! Some of the fault is in ourselves. But oh, those (cable TV) stars!
More horror from a night in the life: We cringed at the always pathetic Piers Morgan, who CNN journeyed to England to obtain.
Also, at the increasingly fallen Chris Hayes, who spoke with a fully reliable three-member panel. Tomorrow, we’ll start with his panel—with this astonishing statement by Lehigh professor James Peterson, an “MSNBC contributor:”
PETERSON (7/8/13): I think it’s awful we have to settle for [a manslaughter conviction] ultimately, because the court of public opinion sees this case. They see that a kid went to a store to buy Skittles and iced tea, to walk back home to his father’s home and didn’t make it back. And we don’t see anything else beyond that.“We don’t see anything else beyond that!” With brilliant clarity, Peterson stated the essence of tribal belief.
Hayes just sat there and took it! Increasingly, it’s hard to see him as an honest person.
Can we have a national discourse given the sums involved here?