Part 3—Joan Walsh toys with the facts: Early this morning, we could tell that Salon was quite upset about last night’s events in Ferguson.
In part, we could tell because of the site’s top front-page post:
Nightmare in Ferguson: Cops become a brutal occupying forceHad police become “a brutal occupying force?” For our money, that language seems a bit overwrought, based on what we’ve seen so far.
Journalists are arrested, tear-gassed as protesters are abused for another night. Where is the political leadership? VIDEO
That said, we could tell Salon was upset. This was the site’s third post, as capsulized on its front page:
“He slammed my head against the glass”: Ferguson police arrest HuffPost, WaPo reportersThose were the first and third front-page posts when we looked at Salon this morning.
Video released by the Washington Post shows the confrontation that led to the arrests VIDEO
WEDNESDAY, AUG 13, 2014 11:20 PM EDT
We could tell Salon was upset—or at least that it wanted to give that impression. Why were we less than entirely sure?
As we looked at its front page, this was the site’s second post:
“I’d go out in public wearing tight pants to shock people”: Life as the man with the world’s largest penisSalon was concerned with that brutal occupation—and with the world’s largest penis!
Jonah Falcon boasts 13.5 inches, but otherwise he’s just an average overworked American who dreams of so much more
WEDNESDAY, AUG 13, 2014 07:00 PM EDT
All around us, we think we see the rapidly growing clownishness of major American news orgs. We also see our major orgs being turned into children’s crusades.
Two quick examples from the Washington Post:
A few weeks ago, we asked a deathless question: “Who is Alexander Becker?” On the front page of the Post’s web site, the paper was pushing a piece by Becker—the Post’s three millionth worried report about the Clintons’ vast wealth.
We weren’t familiar with Becker, nor could we find a record of who he was. Later, we learned who Becker is, or seems to be—he seems to be an undergraduate at Dartmouth, entering his senior year.
Except from the standpoint of paying low wages, we think it’s strange that a major newspaper would have a college student doing such work in such a major area. We had a somewhat similar reaction when we read Wesley Lowrey’s latest report for the Post.
Lowrey got arrested in Ferguson last night, along with the Huffington Post’s Ryan Reilly. We’re supposed to regard this as part of the brutal occupation.
Watching the tape of Lowrey’s arrest, then reading his account of same, we got a somewhat different impression.
Lowrey is two years out of college (Ohio University, class of 2012). We’d say he performs that way, at least a tad, on the videotape. In his report about his arrest, he even offers this:
LOWREY (8/14/14): Once at the station, we were processed, our pockets emptied. No mug shots. They removed our restraints and put us in a holding cell. Ryan was able to get ahold of his dad. I called my mom, but I couldn’t get through. I couldn’t remember any phone numbers.If we might borrow from our Spielberg: Major reporters, phone home!
(Lowrey also reports himself making semi-unprofessional threats as he’s driven to the station: “This story’s going to get out there. It’s going to be on the front page of The Washington Post tomorrow.” Renee Witherspoon with a snootful couldn’t have said it better!)
As bosses all over the country know, paying low wages is a great way to increase profits. That said, we don’t think the practice has been yielding great results at our major corporate news orgs.
In fairness, Joan Walsh’s work can’t be blamed on the low wages of youth. In another post at Salon, we’d say that Walsh is playing with dolls—in this case, with her O’Reilly doll.
Walsh’s post concerns a segment from O’Reilly’s Tuesday night show. During the segment, O’Reilly discussed events in Ferguson with Ben Carson.
Sadly, Carson has been establishing himself as one of the nation’s most unbalanced commentators. But because we happened to watch the segment in question, we were struck by Salon’s characteristically screeching headlines, which, in fairness, are conceivably being composed by junior high kids at this point:
Bill O’Reilly’s Ferguson disgrace: Host spews sick lecture to Michael Brown’s familyWe’ll be honest. We didn’t recall O’Reilly creating a “disgrace” or “spewing a sick lecture” that night.
The Fox host argued the unarmed teenager's supporters should trust the authorities. Then Ben Carson went off script
WEDNESDAY, AUG 13, 2014 12:07 PM EDT
Nor did we recall seeing Carson go “off script.” On the contrary, we thought he struggled to stay on script and agree when O’Reilly expressed “100 percent confidence” that Attorney General Holder will conduct a full probe of Michael Brown’s death.
At one point, O’Reilly did pull out his Sharpton doll, as Walsh correctly notes. But Walsh is playing with her own doll here, or so it seems to us:
WALSH (8/13/14): But then, weirdly, Ben Carson goes off script. After blandly insisting conservatives must let the Brown family know “we feel their pain” while making clear “police are individuals too, they have feelings also,” Carson tells O’Reilly, “We must hear from this police officer.”Did Mr. O “literally harrumph and cut [Carson] off?” Did he “abruptly end the segment,” annoyed by Carson’s remarks?
That’s interesting: That’s exactly what the Brown family wants too, but the Ferguson Police Department won’t even release his name, let alone allow him to face public questions. Carson went on: “You know, they are trained to shoot to kill, or shoot to stop. We need to hear why he decided to shoot to kill.”
O’Reilly literally harrumphed and cut him off. “Yes [clears throat]...well...I don’t think that’s going to happen. So you’re going to have the one side that’s suffered a terrible loss, and the other side’s not going to say anything, and that’s what we have to process.” Then he thanks Carson, who has apparently failed to help him “process” the right way, and abruptly ends the segment.
You can watch the relevant chunk of the tape at Mediaite. We’re fairly sure you’ll see no harrumphing, literal or otherwise, since no harrumphing occurred.
Meanwhile, did O’Reilly abruptly end the segment after making the statement Walsh quotes? Here is the full transcript of the segment’s conclusion:
CARSON (8/12/14): I think we have to speak out and help people to understand that, yes, we feel their pain. There's, you know—how can you possibly even understand how these parents felt?Did O’Reilly “literally harrumph,” then “abruptly end the segment?”
But at the same time, we also need to recognize that police are individuals, too. They have feelings also. And we need to hear from this police officer.
You know, people—they are trained to shoot to kill or to shoot to stop. We need to understand why did he decide to shoot to kill—
CARSON: —instead of shoot to stop.
O'REILLY: But I don't think, right now, you know, I don't think that's going to happen. So what you're going to do is, you're going to have the one side that has suffered a terrible loss, and the other side is not going to say anything. And that's what we have to process.
Now, I was going to ask you about your presidential aspirations, Doctor, but I'm not going to do that because we don't have enough time tonight. But I want you to promise me—
O'REILLY: —you'll come back in a couple of weeks and tell me where you are on that scale, all right?
CARSON: Sounds like a good deal.
O'REILLY: All right, Doctor. And you might want to check out the doctor's book, One Nation, still a very strong bestseller and a great summer read.
Krauthammer on deck...
Actually, no; he didn’t do that. Joan Walsh’s O’Reilly doll did!
According to Walsh, O’Reilly’s conduct in this segment was “reminiscent of the good Christian leaders of the slaveholding South.”
The new Joan constantly says things like that. She may have been thinking of her Bill doll, whose penis is half an inch long.
Tomorrow: Who will play next with a doll?
In search of a full transcript or tape: We can find no full tape of this segment. The only full transcript we find is at Nexis, to which we can’t give you a link.