HANDS UP, DON’T REPORT: Justice debunks The Cable News Three!


Part 3—Where do our narratives come from:
To our ear, Chris Hayes wasn’t exactly obsessively honest on his cable show Monday night.

Hayes spoke with conservative writer Leon Wolf about the Justice Department’s recent pair of reports. Citing the nation’s tribal divide, Wolf made some accurate statements:
WOLF (3/16/15): As I’m sure you’re aware, Chris, there were actually two Department of Justice reports issued concerning Ferguson. The first one dealt with the actual shooting of Michael Brown, and the second one dealt with the Ferguson PD at large.

Liberals, for the most part I think, are ignoring the first of those, which tends to kind of decimate the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative. While conservatives have, in large part, ignored the second part of that, which shows that notwithstanding what you feel about what happened to Michael Brown, there was some serious problems with Ferguson PD that ought to be addressed.
According to Wolf, liberals are largely ignoring the Justice Department report about the shooting of Brown. He said that report “tends to kind of decimate the ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative.”

(Wolf also said that his conservative colleagues are largely ignoring the report which alleges widespread misconduct within the Ferguson Police Department.)

It’s always easy and fun to criticize The Other Tribe. We’ll focus here on Our Own.

Are we liberals really ignoring the Justice report about the shooting of Brown? Yes we are, and so are major mainstream orgs. When we aren’t ignoring that report, we’re often miscasting what it said.

We liberals! Judging from appearances, our corporate stars don’t want to discuss the way the Justice Department “kind of decimated” the “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative.

We thought we saw that reluctance at play when Hayes responded to Wolf in a very murky way. Bob McCulloch was the much-maligned local prosecutor who ran the local grand jury about the shooting of Brown:
HAYES (continuing directly): Yeah, let me talk about that in quick succession. So the first report on the shooting, right, finds essentially there’s no cause for federal civil rights charges. And there’s sort of two standards there.

One is that they don’t have, they can’t make a federal civil rights case, which is actually a harder case than just, say, manslaughter case in the actual jurisdiction. But the second essentially reiterates some of the things that McCulloch found about the credibility of various witnesses vis- a-vis hands up, vis-à-vis the encounter that happens and the physical ballistic evidence, whether it corroborates some of those witnesses versus others.

In terms of the Ferguson part of that—and you’re right that it basically, I think, backs up largely the determination of the grand jury and Bob McCulloch.
That was Hayes’ complete discussion of the Justice report about the shooting of Brown. It seemed to us that his remarks were designed to be clear as mud.

It’s true! The report did find that there was “no cause for federal civil rights charges” against Darren Wilson. But from that point on, Hayes seems to be throwing gorilla dust, like Lawrence O’Donnell before him

Sorry, Charlie! The Justice Department didn’t fail to act against Wilson because “a federal civil rights case...is actually a harder case than just, say, manslaughter case in the actual jurisdiction.” Rather plainly, the Justice Department seemed to make an affirmative statement about Wilson’s conduct. It rather clearly seemed to say that Wilson’s shots that day were all justified, were all fired in self-defense.

In our view, Hayes really got murky as he continued from there. According to the young corporate liberal, the Justice Department report “essentially reiterates some of the things that McCulloch found about the credibility of various witnesses vis- a-vis hands up, vis-à-vis the encounter that happens and the physical ballistic evidence, whether it corroborates some of those witnesses versus others.”

That statement is clear as mud. As a general rule, when people like Hayes speak in public that way, they’re trying to muddy the water. To our ear, Hayes seemed to be behaving in the very way Wolf had just described—he was keeping us liberals barefoot and clueless about what Justice said.

What did the Justice Department actually say about the shooting of Brown? Rather plainly, it rejected most of the factual claims which formed the liberal (and mainstream) narrative right from the very first days.

And good lord! What a job the Justice Department did on TV’s star eyewitnesses! To read that report, click here.

In the earliest days of this national discussion, a trio of eyewitness accounts helped form much of the public narrative about the unfortunate events of that unfortunate day.

Hayes’ skilled mumble-speak notwithstanding, the Justice Department report left the accounts of those three amigos for dead. It also described a range of witnesses who said that Brown was menacing and threatening Wilson in the moments before he was shot—witnesses who had often refused to go on the record because they said they feared reprisals from the local community.

People like Hayes won’t tell you that. To appearances, they’re being paid to keep us liberals barefoot, clueless and happy.

We’ve already reviewed Hayes’ mumble-talk. Today and tomorrow, let’s review some rather clear language from the Justice Department. Let’s start with Witness 118, a 19-year-old woman who lived in the apartment complex in front of which Brown was shot.

Michael Brown was shot and killed on Saturday, August 9, 2014. Starting on Sunday, August 10, videotape of Witness 118 was played all over TV, on broadcast news and cable.

Here’s the first clip from NBC Nightly News, John Yang reporting:
YANG (8/10/14): The struggle spilled out onto the street where Brown, whom investigators say was not armed, was fatally shot.

WITNESS 118: Police just shot this man for no reason.

YANG: [Witness 118], who took the cell phone video, says she saw those shots from her apartment balcony.

WITNESS 118: He’s running this way. He turns his body towards this way, hands in the air, being compliant. He gets shot in his face and chest and goes down and dies.
Variations on this claim continued from Witness 118 over the next several weeks. By Thursday evening, August 14, Lawrence O’Donnell’s hang-him-high panel was vouching for the obvious accuracy of her statements.

By August 18, Anderson Cooper was empathetically telling Witness 118 how “terrible” and “distressing” it must be for her to have to share the various things she saw. Showing no empathy for his viewers, he didn’t remind them that eyewitness testimony routinely turns out to be wrong.

Millions of people, all over the country, had their understanding shaped by the statements of Witness 118. We will assume that this young woman behaved in good faith as she made these statements. But this is part of what the Justice Department said about her presentations, which kept changing over time:
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT (page 56): Witness 118 gave three investigative statements, and testified before the county grand jury. A SLCPD detective initially interviewed Witness 118 approximately two hours after the shooting. She subsequently appeared in the media several times. During those media interviews, Witness 118 added details that she did not report to local law enforcement, claiming in the news that she saw the “whole scenario play out.”


At the conclusion of her interview with the SLCPD, Witness 118 assured the detective that what she reported was her best recollection of the incident and that she was not leaving anything out. Nonetheless, Witness 118’s accounts to the media and to federal prosecutors and agents were different from her initial statement to the SLCPD, even though her grand jury testimony was ultimately more consistent with her initial SLCPD account.


Witness 118 added to her media narrative that Wilson shot Brown in the back from three feet away and that Brown never moved back towards Wilson. Physical evidence is inconsistent with both of those added details. Also, contrary to her initial account, Witness 118 told federal agents and prosecutors that Brown’s arms were at his sides and his hands were around his hips when he came to rest on the ground.

When federal prosecutors and agents challenged the inconsistencies in her accounts, Witness 118 conceded that she likely assumed facts that she did not witness herself based on talking with other residents in the Canfield Green complex and watching the news, but was not specific about which facts.

...Witness 118’s accounts are riddled with internal inconsistencies, inconsistencies with the physical and forensic evidence, and inconsistencies with credible witness accounts. Her attention was admittedly diverted away from the shooting when she watched Witness 101 ducking for cover and she acknowledged that her account was also based on assumption and media coverage. Accordingly, after a thorough review of the evidence, federal prosecutors determined the various versions of this witness’s account to lack credibility.
The most horrible statement about this witness came in the passage shown below. Witness 101 is Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s companion that day and someone with whom Witness 118 “socialized almost weekly:”
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT (page 46): During his testimony before the county grand jury, Witness 101 acknowledged that he had discussed the incident with another witness, Witness 118. Witness 101 explained that he was friendly with Witness 118, and noticed her standing on her balcony when he and Brown first encountered Wilson on Canfield Drive. He explained that he was surprised that so many other witnesses came forward because Witness 118 was the only person he saw outside, and she was the only person who saw the incident from the “first shot to the last shot.” However, as detailed below, Witness 118 was not out on her balcony for the majority of the incident, and it is unknown at what point she actually witnessed the shootings, if at all.
Good lord! In that part of its report, the Justice Department says it isn’t clear that Witness 118 “actually witnessed the shootings” at all!

Should Anderson Cooper and Lawrence O’Donnell tell their viewers about these remarkable findings? If those fellows were journalists, we’d say the answer is obvious.

That said, Cooper and O’Donnell are mainly corporate TV stars. So is Hayes, as his recent mumble-speak helped make all too clear.

Witness 118 made many statements which turned out to be inaccurate. So did Dorian Johnson, Witness 101.

By Thursday night, August 14, Lawrence O’Donnell’s hang-him-high panel was strongly vouching for the “obvious” greatness of Johnson’s statements. Here’s some of what the Justice Department said about his various accounts:
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT (page 47): As described above, material parts of Witness 101’s account are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence, internally inconsistent from one part of his account to the next, and inconsistent with other credible witness accounts that are corroborated by physical evidence. It is also unclear whether Witness 101 had the ability to accurately perceive the shootings. Witness 101 likely crouched down next to a white Monte Carlo as Wilson chased Brown. The Monte Carlo was facing west with a view of the passenger side of the SUV. Brown ran in the opposite direction that the Monte Carlo was facing. Witness accounts vary as to whether Witness 101 was ducking for cover on the passenger side of the Monte Carlo with his back to the shooting, or whether he fled the scene prior to the final shots being fired. Both Witness 101’s inconsistencies and his ability to perceive what happened, or lack thereof, make his account vulnerable to effective cross-examination and extensive impeachment. Accordingly, after a thorough review of all of the evidence, federal prosecutors determined material portions of Witness 101’s account lack credibility.
A third eyewitness helped shape the public narrative in the weeks after Brown’s death. That was Witness 127, a 27-year-old woman who was picking Witness 118 up for work at the time Brown was shot.

On Thursday evening, August 14, Witness 127 spoke with O’Donnell for two full segments, thereby becoming his much-adored star witness. He vouched for her and re-aired tape of her interview for weeks. But as we showed you yesterday, this is part of what the Justice Department has said:
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT (page 56): Although Witness 127’s statements are materially consistent with each other, significant portions are contrary to the forensic and physical evidence and inconsistent with credible witness accounts. Witness 127 was unable to give reasonable explanations as to why the physical evidence might be inconsistent with what she remembers, and therefore prosecutors were left to conclude that she inaccurately perceived material portions of the shootings either because of the stress of incidents or because she was distracted. Accordingly, after a thorough review of the evidence, federal prosecutors determined material portions of this witness’s account not reliable.
These three witnesses played outsized roles in the way the American “press corps” assembled its account of that day’s events. On a wide array of points, the Justice Department found that their statements had been factually wrong:

According to the Justice Department, Michael Brown wasn’t shot in the back. He wasn’t shot with his hands up. According to the Justice Department, he wasn’t attempting to surrender; he wasn’t standing still. According to the Justice Department, Brown had advanced 21 feet back toward Officer Wilson before the fatal shots were fired.

If we’re willing to traffic in facts, the Justice Department report makes mincemeat out of these three highly influential witnesses. We will assume that all three acted in good faith during this episode. But on the most basic facts of the case, the Justice Department found that their statements were factually inaccurate.

Should Anderson Cooper tell viewers that? Should the egregious Lawrence O’Donnell? How about Hayes?

Journalistically, the answer is clear. But we aren’t living in a journalistic world.

Rather plainly, these witnesses presented the local community’s standard narrative about what happened that day. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss the many eyewitnesses who supported Wilson’s account of the events, but said they were afraid to come forward and risk the community’s wrath.

For today, let’s consider one more “witness,” Witness 128.

In fact, this 23-year-old man didn’t see what occurred that day. But so what? According to the Justice Department, he offered a set of invented claims to Michael Brown’s grieving mother, influencing what the nation came to hear about that day’s events:
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT REPORT (page 69): Witness 128 explained that when he stopped ducking for cover, he saw Brown coming back toward Wilson with his hands up. Witness 128 stated that Wilson shot Brown, causing him to fall face down to the ground. He maintained that Wilson then stood over Brown and shot into his back. When federal prosecutors asked him to reconcile those final shots with the autopsy report that shows that Brown was not shot in the back, Witness 128 said he may have hallucinated but could not offer more of an explanation. He also admitted that much of what he initially said was assumption.

As mentioned, Witness 128 was one of two witnesses who identified his voice on the aforementioned video taken in the aftermath of the shooting depicting the two contractors. Witness 128 claimed to be the person off camera shouting, “He wasn’t no threat at all,” because he did not perceive Brown to be a threat. However, Witness 128 acknowledged that he did not know what happened at the SUV. Contrary to what he originally told the FBI, he did not see Brown run from the SUV, was mistaken about the final shots fired, and therefore did not know whether Brown was a threat to Wilson.

Witness 128 also admitted that he spoke to Brown’s mother on the day of the shooting and shared details of the shooting. Witness 128 told Brown’s mother that Wilson shot Brown at point blank range while his hands were up, and that even after Brown fell to his death, Wilson stood over Brown and fired several more times.
Witness 128 also told several neighbors his inaccurate version of what happened, as they were gathering in the minutes and hours after the shooting. Several individuals identified Witness 128 through description as someone who was going around spreading a narrative that Brown was shot with his hands up in surrender.
So-called Witness 128 didn’t see the shooting! He may have hallucinated!

That to the side, he told Michael Brown’s mother, and other community residents, that Officer Wilson “shot Brown at point blank range while his hands were up,” then “stood over Brown and fired several more times.” Presumably, people believed what he said.

There’s always someone who decides to spread the most heinous possible claims around in the wake of an incident like this. It was that way in Ireland during The Troubles. It’s been that way everywhere on earth.

In the case of this major event, witnesses with inaccurate claims were widely aired all over TV in the days and weeks which followed the shooting. This Monday night, a young conservative said we liberals don’t seem to want to come to terms with this fact.

Our opinion? Just like that, a mumbling liberal corporate star seemed to prove him right!

Tomorrow: I don’t plan to “relitigate,” Gene Robinson loftily said


  1. Warning: This combox is an unmoderated forum, so you might see some comments in here you don't agree with. Keep your Kleenex handy to wipe away the tears.

    1. Warning: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear.

    2. Inability to inhibit random associations evoked by words like "warning" is a symptom of mental illness or brain injury.

    3. @ 12:25

      You demonstrate the perils of eschewing the concussion management protocol.

  2. Kudos to J.C. for admitting what his peers are reluctant or just refuse to admit.

    "Hands up, don’t shoot’ was built on a lie"

    Jonathan Capehart
    Opinion writer — Washington, D.C.


  3. We'll see for the remainder of this week if Somerby has finally milked the Michael Brown clickbait cow dry.

    Perhaps next week, he will devote a whole week to a careful, thoughtful analysis of the other DOJ report released that day.

    1. Please explain again why the term "clickbait" applies to a blog that has no ads and makes no money when anyone clicks on anything here.

    2. @ 10:55,

      You mean the portion that POTUS Obama prefers to tout while ignoring what Capehart could no longer ignore.

    3. Uh, vanity, 11:29? Ever think that Bob and his analysts don't look at daily traffic counts and wonder why so few are reading his blog?

      Or may be you do think that Bob is so sharp as to realize the only thing really worth devoting yet another weeklong series is yet another rehash of the Michael Brown case.

      Stay tuned to see if anything new is said -- either by the vanity blogger or by his commenters. But don't hold your breath.

    4. If Somerby were only interested in seeing his words on the screen or in having as many people as possible read them, he could (1) write things more people agree with, (2) write on more popular topics, such as celebrity gossip or even political news, (3) write in a more entertaining manner. Since he doesn't do any of these things, I believe you are attributing your own motives to him and that he is writing mainly about his own interests in whatever way he pleases, as self-expression primarily but also to help improve political discourse by holding the media accountable for its failures to inform. The term "clickbait" makes no sense in that context, nor does it make any sense if Somerby's motives were as you claim. It takes a wild imagination to think that anything Somerby is writing here is "clickbait," especially when he gets going on education issues.

    5. I see. If he writes what he wants to in the way he wants to, and doesn't write on topics that people find interesting, and write them in interesting ways, this PROVES that is is not a vanity blog.


    6. " . . . but also to help improve political discourse by holding the media accountable for its failures to inform."

      Well, that certainly sounds good, but tell me how Somerby helps to improve political discourse or hold the media accountable by reaching into his bag of playground name-calling.

      You might also expound further on what you -- and he -- call "the media" these days. Any room in their for the social media of the 21st Century? Or is "media" defined as narrowly as Somerby does?

    7. Hey, Bob covers the influential traditional media. He will leave "Your Blog Of Blogs" and "Touring the Twittersphere" to you young scribes.

  4. The "Hands up.." refrain was not built on a lie...It was built on the story of the only on-the-scene witness and the only truly reliable witnesses. Again, see the real time video with aa totally reliable witnes showing exactly how high up Brown's hands were here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/10/us/ferguson-michael-brown-shooting-witnesses/

    1. In wake of the DOJ report, do you still believe that Michael Brown had his hands up when Darrell Wilson approached him? Shouldn't reporters and TV new personalities have expressed a little skepticism about the witnesses stories, since eyewitness testimony is so unreliable, and the incident so controversial?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I have no idea because the testimony is all over the place by now.

      Nor do I really care to obsess about it for months on end.

      I do know that a cop stopped a couple of kids for jaywalking, and within two minutes, one of them is dead from multiple gunshot wounds discharged on a residential street.

      That bothers me far more than ascertaining the position of the victim's hands.

    4. @ Lacywood,

      Your definition of a "truly reliable witness" is someone with an axe to grind and desperate to promote a hoax. It is the same degree of "reliability" that MUFON moonbats possess.

    5. Do you accept the forensic and physical evidence in the case, that show that Brown wasn't running away from Wilson when he was shot, but advancing towards him? Why did so many witnesses recant their testimony about Wilson shooting Brown when he was running away, or standing still, when pressed by the FBI?

      Do you think that Brown tried to grab Wilson's gun while he was sitting in his police car, like the forensics shows? If not, why not?

    6. The way the DOJ decided who was credible and who wasn't, was by comparing the witness accounts with the physical evidence and by looking at internal consistency and reliability across retellings or repeated interviews by police. It is impossible for an eyewitness account to be true if it doesn't conform to the physical evidence.

      I found it interesting that the DOJ report said that Wilson knew Brown had robbed the convenience store when he stopped him. That means that both Brown and Wilson were engaged in an interaction that had nothing to do with jaywalking because Wilson was evaluating whether he had committed that earlier robbery while Brown was wondering whether Wilson was going to arrest him for that previous crime. Continuing to call this a jaywalking incident reveals bias, refusal to acknowledge that more was going on when Wilson stopped Brown.

    7. Some people (like Lacywood) can't be reached, as such as this professor from Rutgers published in Salon who won't let clear cut evidence get in the way of her deeply held beliefs. "A [wo]man convinced against [her] will is of the same opinion still" as an old evangelist once told me...


    8. The "false narrative" has become that Brown's hands were not up. No unbiased person who saw or listened to the out-of-town witnesses who were right there, saw the shooting (the video is above), and spontaneously reacted by putting their hands in the air to duplicate Brown's hand position (and stating on camera "He was like this") would have any problem discounting the prosecutor's phony witnesses to get to the truth.

    9. So, hardindr, we'll carry over a question from early this am.

      Do women make less than men for doing the same work?

    10. @Lacywood.

      Your version of how the trial of Officer Wilson would proceed has already been debunked by the DOJ findings. Not to mention that A.G. Holder would have preferred nothing better than to prosecute Wilson for murder. That he was forced to acquiesce to what his Department of justice prosecutors/investigators gleaned from the witnesses and forensic evidence deflates your "get to the truth" trial balloon before it even gets off the ground.

      BTW: The DOJ confirms when it came to being put under oath, your witnesses in the video admitted they never saw Brown with his hands up and that they made it up.

      "Given that Wilson’s account is corroborated by physical evidence and that his perception of a threat posed by Brown is corroborated by other eyewitnesses, to include aspects of the testimony of Witness 101, there is no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat."


    11. I don't think there is any point to interacting with Lacywood. If you don't want to believe what the evidence says, fine, but you look like a fool.

      I have responded to whichever Anonymous posted above in the appropriate thread.

    12. @ 2:45

      They did while working for Senator HRC and currently in the Obama Administration

    13. Well, hardindr, if you were the least bit honest, you'd admit that you, of all people, shouldn't be criticizing others for being picky eaters in the grand cafeteria of evidence.

      But that can't be true, can it? Why the disciples of the Wonderful and Powerful Somerby have learned a long time ago to consider the whole picture, think carefully and deeply, and never cherry-pick before opening your mouth to express any opinion.

      Can't wait for Somerby's days of discussion of the second DOJ report. Surely, after accusing Hayes of paying only lip service to the Total and Complete Exoneration of (Ex-)Officer Wilson, he surely will practice what he preaches and will not ignore that "other" report, will he?

      Why, only the vilest form of cherry-picking hypocrite who refuses to believe evidence would do that.

    14. Somerby has mentioned the other DOJ report, that showed how awful Ferguson, MO's civil government and police department are, in the context of why it has taken well-known liberals (including himself) so long to be concerned about such travesties, and why they only seem to care about such things after people are shot dead. I have shown quotes from his previous blog posts in other threads. He is not ignoring the second report. Why is that so hard for some commenters to understand?

      Do you still think Darrell Wilson wasn't justified in shooting Michael Brown after reading the DOJ report? If so, why?

    15. For the record, hardindr's answer to the question posed @ 2:45: Yes, women make less than men for doing the same work.

    16. Chris Hayes also "mentioned" the report concerning the investigation of the Michael Brown homicide, and Somerby criticized him harshly for only "mentioning" it.

      I will take your comment as an equally harsh criticism of Somerby for only "mentioning" the second DOJ report so far. But you do repeat his bald-faced lie that the media took "so long" to report these "travesties."

      The national "media" in all its modern forms descended on Ferguson in droves last August, and there were reams of reports filed airing the long-standing grievances of Ferguson residents concerning their cops.

      But of course, one would have to have a set of ears tuned into listening such grievances, rather than dismissing them out of hand, in order to remember them. This is a quality that both you and Somerby seem to lack.

      As for your second trick question, sorry. The answer is more complicated than your simple mind will allow.

      If you think failing to find enough evidence to charge the guy with a civil rights violation "justifies" the shooting, then we have different definitions of "justify."

      I did read both DOJ reports, and I was horrified by both. However badly you want to pin a medal on ex-Officer Wilson, that was one horrendous case of completely crappy police work which also put in jeopardy the lives of anyone who happened to be in his line of fire.

      But then again, I suspect that's not exactly why you read that report -- if indeed you did, and I strongly suspect you didn't.

      Rather, I strongly suspect you got your talking points from wherever you get your talking points and are simply regurgitating them here.

    17. Cicero, you idiot. No one can debunk what is plain and simple and right in front of
      you. Now go watch the real-time video of what happened so you can become at least an informed liar instead of an ignorant bufoon: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/10/us/ferguson-michael-brown-shooting-witnesses/

    18. "If you think failing to find enough evidence to charge the guy with a civil rights violation 'justifies' the shooting, then we have different definitions of 'justify.'"
      "Cicero, you idiot. No one can debunk what is plain and simple and right in front of
      you. Now go watch the real-time video of what happened so you can become at least an informed liar instead of an ignorant bufoon:"


      I, for one, welcome our new idiocratic overlords...

    19. @ Lacywood,

      Were you by chance on the O.J. jury in Los Angels?

    20. Chris Hayes mentioned the DOJ report about Darrell Wilson, and misstated what it said. The report exonerates Wilson's conduct, and does not merely stated that "there’s no cause for federal civil rights charges." Hayes kind of admits that in the end.

      It took a young man to get killed by a police officer before the media (liberals included) starting caring about any of the things that were happening in Ferguson with regard to its awful government and police force (I believe the DOJ's report on Ferguson's police force is accurate). The only person I can remember pointing out this kind of stuff and trying to make it a big deal is Radley Balko, no liberal.

      I do not want to "pin a medal" on Wilson. He defended himself when attacked by Michael Brown, a young man that I believe was possibly schizophrenic. I think that Brown not getting the help he needed and dying in such a way is a tragedy, but Wilson wasn't wrong to defend himself.

    21. Let it be known that cicero (or is it Bob himself) chooses to be an uninformed buffoon and likens himself to the OJ jurors.

    22. BTW, cicero, you lied to claim I had given an account of how a Wilson trial would go (I did not), and lied to claim "my witnesses admitted they never saw Brown with his hands up and they made it up"...They did not lie, and only confirmed the real time video as the shooting occurred ( showing just how Brown's hands were positioned). And I have no quarrel with the Justice Dept decision that a prosecution would not be successful...But that changes no fact of the case...It merely confirms that the local prosecutor did a FUBAR on the case by bringing in hoards of liars to sabotage any possible legitimate case.

  5. Why does the media fail to give clear and prominent coverage that corrects the erroneous narrative? Are they simply avoiding embarrassment? Are their brains so stuck in a narrative that they can't change their minds in the face of new facts? Is it a lack of courage?

    I think some media believe that it's in the public interest to report and decry blacks being mistreated, even if these reports are false. They believe that even false accusations tend to discourage actual mistreatment of blacks. Similarly, ISTM some believe that punishing men for rape will help avoid future rapes, even if some of those punished were actually innocent.

    1. Instead of making ignorant statements about rape, why don't you read something about it. For example, read about why men commit rape, who does it and how likely they are to repeat the behavior. Read about the incidence of false accusation. Read what sociologists have said about it, read from the criminology literature -- don't just read men's rights and conservative blogs about it. You could also read what women's studies has said about the political function of rape in suppressing women and as an act of war and aggression that has nothing to do with sex. Then someone might actually care what you think on the topic.

    2. "Why does the media fail to give clear and prominent coverage that corrects the erroneous narrative?"

      Why do you need the media to do your thinking for you David?

    3. I'm marginally interested in what some sociologists or criminologists have to say, but frankly women's studies is a completely bullshit discipline.

    4. 12:39 -- Two responses
      1. My comment was aimed at the topic of Bob's post, namely media errors and failure to properly correct those errors.

      2. We have no choice but to depend on media to tell us what happened. Oh, I suppose one could read the entire Justice Dept. reports, but few of us will bother to do so.

      12:03 -- I don't believe anyone knows how frequent false reports of rape are. There have been various estimates.

    5. There are statistics on whether subsequent police investigation provides evidence to support an accusation or not. Even in cases of divorce and disputed child custody, where the motivation to discredit a spouse is high, the % of false accusations is low. It is not 0, but it is too small to justify the over concern men show about it, especially given the fact that those innocent will have a day in court.

  6. Warning to casual readers of this blog: These comments are unmoderated. They are infested by one or more trolls who routinely attack the blog author in a variety of ways, rarely substantive. Such attacks are not an indicator of the level of interest of other readers, the validity of the content posted nor of the esteem in which the blog author is held by others.

    1. @ 11:28

      B.S. couldn't care less about contrary opinions on his blog, If B.S. championed censorship he would 86 your dodgy disclaimer.

    2. I've been thinking about why trolls behave like trolls. I see an analogy between the way you and other trolls here interact with other commenters and the way conservatives have been behaving in Congress.

      Because conservatives feel powerless and believe they cannot get any of their agenda enacted through legitimate political process, they have been disrupting the functioning of Congress, even to the point of obstructing routine appointments and business having little political importance. Their goal has shifted from governing or enacting their own legislation to simply holding up and throwing a monkey wrench into any and all activities of the opposing party.

      Similarly, trolls have no expectation that anyone will be convinced by their arguments so they instead focus on obstructing the ongoing activities of the other commenters here by doing anything they can to interfere with on-topic discussion. Nothing they do has to have any sense or content or continuity or responsiveness -- it just has to take up space, waste time and interfere with constructive talk by those actually interested in the purpose of the blog.

      Conservatives don't seem to care that mainstream voters will neither understand nor appreciate what they have been doing to obstruct government. Trolls similarly have no one they feel accountable to here and believe they can do what they like without consequence.

      Ultimately, the actions reinforce a sense of instrumentality and give a false sense of power to people who remain essentially powerless because their actions achieve nothing. I find it sad that instead of figuring out how to form a coalition that would enable conservatives to enact some of their legislation, they abandon everything for the illusion of control. Similarly, trolls might actually engage with other people and discover they can gain some understanding of their views or acceptance of their arguments, but instead they forfeit that opportunity for the illusion of participation in society. It is very sad.

    3. Well, that's deep, but I am going to propose that the answer is far less complicated.

      In the vanity blogosphere, what we call "debate" is pretty much two rather small bands of people who have already made their minds up arguing back and forth because they are bored.

      And after a certain amount of time, even that gets boring.

      I really wouldn't confuse that with reality. Nor would I pretend that vanity blogs serve any useful purpose in either progressing or regressing useful discourse.

      One thing I will note, however. Blogs such as this used to get traffic and build new readership by talking back and forth and linking to each other, in either a positive or negative way.

      Early in this blog's life, Bob used to get a lot of links and referrals from other blogs. Then as he shifted right during the Bush Adminstration, he began to get links from "conservative" blogs that usually began with "even liberal blogger Bob Somerby agrees . . ."

      Nowadays? They've all dried up. It has been months since even Uncle Drum as even mentioned Bob Somerby.

      It seems as though very few take this blog and its author seriously any more, except for the handful of "fans" and "trolls" who come here to argue with each other.

      And that's kinda sad.

    4. @ 12:13

      "Nothing they do has to have any sense or content or continuity or responsiveness -- it just has to take up space, waste time and interfere with constructive talk by those actually interested in the purpose of the blog."

      If you would be so gracious as to provide examples of these alleged constructive posts by Howler libs. And while you are at it, please offer up your interpretation of the "purpose of this blog."

    5. Seeing self-criticism as really just the enemy in sheep's clothing will keep you from progressing.

    6. Here we have a five comment thread about comments. Six counting me.

    7. Well, cicero, we are going to be strange bedfellows on this topic but . . .

      I find the "waste of time" argument to be rather silly.

      One must actually take a separate action to even access the comment box. And once there, one is not required to read all or even any of the comments there.

    8. Make it seven and eight.

    9. Uncle Drum is preoccupied with his health problems these days.

    10. Yes, I know he has had health issues. But he still continues to blog. Just not in reference to his old pal Somerby any more.

      You'd think Bob would have the decency to wish him well, both privately and here on this blog.

      Guess he's too busy with his weeklong rehashes of Boxcar Bob's Greatest Hits.

    11. He most likely doesn't have the time or energy to read many other blogs.

    12. I have no idea what Drum has the time or energy to do. But he sure seems to do a lot of research and reading before posting, even with all his health problems.

      But you go ahead and speculate why NOBODY, not even Drum, has either linked to or cited Somerby for nearly a year after his double faceplants on Govs. Christie and Ultrasound.

    13. Everybody is too busy talking to read what anyone else writes.

  7. "To our ear, Chris Hayes wasn’t exactly obsessively honest" Bob

    In our view Bob Somerby is frequently and repetitively dishonest. Good thing he doesn't listen to himself, eh?

    In order not to disrupt "constructive talk by those actually interested in the purpose of the blog" we'll close by asking what obsessive honesty sounds like and where other commenters might have heard some before. And why would it be obsessive?

    Plus, let's all agree. Chris Hayes, compared to Bob Somerby, is young.

    1. Obsessive honesty refers to getting even the details right. It used to be the standard for all journalism. I think Thom Hartmann tries to get things right. I don't think it is an all-or-nothing quality. Most are somewhere in the middle.

    2. It kind of seemed to me like Someby was doing an impersonation of Amy Chozik and using words that turn Hayes into a LIAR.

    3. Yes, oh for those wonderful days of yore when the "media" held off reporting anything until they knew everything and had all the "details" nailed down tight.

      I just can't quite seem to remember when that was.

    4. Remember the Maine? Gulf of Tonkin? Al Gore carrying Florida?


      Yes, for those good ol' days of gate keepers!

  8. Liberals are ignoring the one that said there isn't enough to convict Officer Wilson of murder.
    Conservatives (like Bob) ignore the one that says Officer Wilson was hired to screw black people.


  9. We liberals, Somerby always tells us, are lazy, dumb, and disliked. We talk down to conservatives instead of with them and thus are harming the progressive cause.

    In recent weeks young (or old) cicero has come to TDH like a gift.

    He is dominating his combox.

    Somerby should show us dumb disliked lazy liberals how it is done.

    Bob! Speak to cicero. Advance progressive causes with him. He responds to the least bit of attention. It is your blog. It is a point you have made over and over. Show us how it is done.There is nothing stopping you.

    If you ever want to use the term "we liberals" with any ray of honesty, now is your chance.

    1. It's Somerby's schtick to mock on any news reader left of Karl Rove, but even Somerby KNOWS you can't reason with conservatives.
      That is why he will NEVER take up your challenge.

  10. Berto, when most residents of a city are black (65-75%), screwing the citizens cannot be differentiated from screwing black people. I do agree that the function of police is not necessarily congruent with the interests of individual citizens, white or black. As has been noted before, Santa Monica, a white liberal enclave, has a greater racial disparity in enforcement than Ferguson, again because most people in Ferguson are black.

    1. It's unfortunate that the 65-75% of the population can't be bothered to vote and elect more African Americans to it's government. You are more interested in pursuing a narrative rather than having people learn to take responsibility for their own lives.

    2. Anonymous at 2:36,
      Ever notice how when blacks are the victim of these scams, there is always someone to tell them the real problem is "having people learn to take responsibility for their own lives"?


  11. Your Howler ReadersMarch 18, 2015 at 2:46 PM

    Comments TL? DR?

    The coverage of this case was, and remains, terrible.

    But the Much Worse Problem is this blog mentioning that horrible coverage! Why, it's merely clickbaiting and comforting racists.

    1. I agree. The media should have ignored this until the local police issued their report. That way they would not have been wrong.

    2. @ YHR,

      To Characterize disseminating facts about an incident that continues to be used for left wing political posturing as "clickbaiting" and "comforting racists." reveals the desperation and perfidy of your position.

    3. After Madonna was lambasted for proclaiming, "We have a black Muslim in The White House," she tried to convince the critics she was merely going for a laugh. Too bad for Madonna you were not around to defend her as she required the gullibility of an urchin like yourself..


    4. @ 1:51

      You do realize the irony in your post.


    "There’s always someone who decides to spread the most heinous possible claims around in the wake of an incident like this. It was that way in Ireland during The Troubles. It’s been that way everywhere on earth."

    Count on TDH to repeatedly bring you the latest in the way it always was. Because we liberals often miss the obvious.

  13. There you go again using facts to make your argument!

    1. Yep. It always helps to have a couple of law enforcement investigations under the belt to criticize on the spot media coverage and contemporaneous media commentary.

      Interesting that Somerby waited six months, until the Justice Department memorandum was published, to weigh in. I wonder why the grand jury proceedings were not enough.

    2. When you don't have solid evidence you use more tentative language and warn people that all the facts aren't in yet. That's all Somerby was suggesting, not waiting on the entire story.

    3. That sounds good, but it really a specious and lazy way of arguing. ALL the facts are NEVER in.

      But hey, it could still be a legitimate traffic study, those weapons of mass destruction could be found any day now, Gov. Ultrasound still hasn't been charged, and D'Leisha can't get into collage. We just don't know yet!

  14. Why do liberals so strongly hope that black teens were murdered by whites, even when Eric Holder tells them otherwise?

    1. It keeps them on the same page with black voters.

  15. I keep reading that Somerby is a "right winger", or that he has shifted "to the right". Other than a focus on emerging corporate "liberal" media I just don't see it, do liberals believe the Michael Brown is a left/right issue? Other than racial identity what the hell do current liberals care about. It's an honest question.

    I think Somerby is certainly to the left of anyone I'm familiar with on MSNBC. He understands class and the corrupting influence of corporate power, never hear that on MSNBC.

    1. "There go those liberals throwing around the R-word."

      "The pay gap is a lie."

      "Sexual assault isn't nearly as bad as rape."

      "Liberals don't really care about black kids."

      "Kids who receive free and reduced lunches aren't all poor."

      "Common Core is an evil federal plot to take over our schools."

      "The guys with the guns were completely justified in shooting the unarmed black kids."

      "It could still be a legitmate traffic study."

      "Gov. Ultrasound's crimes aren't all that heinous."

      "Those WMDs could turn up any day now, and boy will you liberals be sorry when they do."

      Yep, no regurgitation of right-wing talking points there. Sure sounds "to the left of anyone I'm familiar with on MSNBC."

    2. Except these are things you've said, not Somerby.

    3. Except those are things, if you used Somerby's standard "journalistic practice" that @ 9:31 couls say
      Somerby "seemed to say" or that he "implied."

    4. Right, 9:36. Get slapped in the face with the truth, then deny it.

      This blog is indistinguishable from scores of right-wing blogs regurgitating the very same talking points about those awful "liberals."

      Oh, but wait! Somerby himself says he is a liberal.

      Well, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, but calls itself a dog, I suppose that makes it a dog to the extremely gullible.

    5. But @10:47, be fair!

      Those right wing blogs don't start sentences with "We liberals"..