Featuring his latest remarks about our dismal schools: The first half hour of today’s Morning Joe was about as bad as punditry gets.
In their first chunk, the TV stars pretended to discuss the scene in Baltimore. In their second chunk, they staged their latest rant about the latest pseudo-scandal aimed at Clinton and Clinton.
Regarding the Clintons, Scarborough shouted down Howard Dean, with Mika eager to help. Truly, she is an awful TV pundit, one of the worst of all time.
Mike Barnicle shot out of the gate, showing that he doesn’t know the difference between Baltimore City and Baltimore County, two separate and distinct jurisdictions.
That doesn’t amount to much. Next, though, the TV stars followed Scarborough’s lead. They took turns complaining that the autopsy for Freddie Gray isn’t available yet, even after “three weeks.”
As far as we know, autopsies aren’t be performed until after someone dies. Freddie Gray died on April 19. It hasn’t been close to three weeks, but all the pundits stood in line to repeat Scarborough’s error.
Translation: None of these people are actually following the Freddie Gray matter. They’re simply posturing on national TV, going after whoever is the official scapegoat that day.
For what it’s worth, we had no sense that any of the pundit stars had any idea how long an autopsy should take in a situation like this. They were simply parroting script, the one thing the TV star does.
They then began lamenting the fact that Gray had been forced to attend lousy schools. This script was still ringing in our ears when we read Nicholas Kristof’s latest ten-minute column in today’s New York Times, which is probably where they got their pseudo-idea.
It seems to us that Kristof has really gone haywire in recent months. At any rate, he started his column with another of his patented bogus facts:
KRISTOF (4/30/15): Conservatives have sometimes been too quick to excuse police violence. And liberals have sometimes been too quick to excuse rioter violence.In a better world, we’d be spared those silly, unhelpful thoughts about Baltimore’s “badass” sons. But good lord! Four days after the most egregious cherry-pick we’ve ever seen, he repeated a discredited talking-point which was apparently built on a cherry-picked time span.
It’s outrageous when officers use excessive force against young, unarmed African-American men, who are 21 times as likely to be shot dead by the police as young white men. It’s also outrageous when rioters loot shops or attack officers.
So bravo to Toya Graham, the Baltimore mom captured on video grabbing her teenage son from the streets and frog-marching him home. The boy wilted: It must be humiliating to be a “badass” rioter one moment and then to be savagely scolded in front of your peers and sent to your room.
For a background report, click here.
Over the past few months, Kristof has seemed to put amazingly little effort into his columns. Back in January, we thought his piece about his noble high school friend was one of the strangest columns we’d ever read. But the work has gone downhill from that point.
For that reason, he had to go there! He knew exactly what to say about our lousy schools.
Below, you see script straight from the jar. It’s easily memorized by people who are too lazy and disconnected to know how to say something else:
KRISTOF: As Obama, [Carmelo] Anthony and other leaders also noted, there are crucial underlying inequities that demand attention. The rioting distracts from those inequities, which are the far larger burden on America’s cities.Talk about “dismal, broken schools” always sounds high-minded. We’re sorry, but it isn’t.
That also represents a failure on our part in the American news media. We focus television cameras on the drama of a burning CVS store but ignore the systemic catastrophe of broken schools, joblessness, fatherless kids, heroin, oppressive policing—and, maybe the worst kind of poverty of all, hopelessness.
If wealthy white parents found their children damaged by lead poisoning, consigned to dismal schools, denied any opportunity to get ahead, more likely to end up in prison than college, harassed and occasionally killed by the police—why, then we’d hear roars of grievance.
Are kids in Freddie Gray’s neighborhood going to broken schools? A beautiful picture of some of those kids appears in today’s New York Times.
We strongly recommend checking it out. Those kids attend school about a half mile from our own sprawling campus.
They may be going to “broken schools.” But people like Kristof say such things to mask the fact that they don’t know squat about the topic, or because they don’t want to bother being truthful about a challenging subject.
When pundits say such schools are “broken,” they typically mean that test scores are low at such schools. But low test scores at low-income schools may not reflect “dismal” performance on the part of those schools or their teachers.
Those low test scores may reflect the fact that low-income kids are often far “behind” their middle-class peers by the time they’re three years old. Technically, Kristof knows this, of course. He just wrote another paint-by-the-numbers column about the need for expanded preschool.
But it’s easy, and it always sounds noble, to fulminate about “broken schools.” It also pleases the corporate men whose ugly conduct Kristof aped in Sunday’s grotesque cherry-pick.
How can we improve the schools those Sandtown kids attend? It starts in the first few days of life—unless you’re a hack on Morning Joe or in the increasingly pitiful Times.
By the time kids are seven years old, the question is more complex. In all his corporate-scripted complaints about the pathetic way “Johnny can’t count,” Kristof has never shown any sign that he knows anything about this topic.
Still, the gent keeps cranking script, usually straight from the experts. It’s what he did with that ugly remark about the way Johnny can’t count.
Final point—are young, unarmed African-American men really “21 times as likely to be shot dead by the police as young white men?”
As far as we know, the answer is no. Just a guess:
We know that, and Kristof doesn’t, because we spend more time on these topics than he lazily does. Based on recent evidence, he’s too busy sipping drinks on terraces high above Haiti with his movie star friends.
In our view, it’s time for Kristof to “take his hat and coat and leave.” Wealth and fame keep doing this to a wide array of climbers.