And the three or four which produced it: In yesterday's award-winning post, we discussed Rachel Maddow's heroic treatment of Arkansas' recent "killings."
Later, we had occasion to read the New York Times' front-page report about the most recent "killing." We thought it was superb journalism, of a type you won't encounter on Maddow's corporate-funded TV show.
For ourselves, we oppose capital punishment; in fact, we always have. We also oppose the kind of "journalism" practiced on the Maddow program. We thought the Times provided the kind of work you'll never encounter there.
What type of journalism did the Times provide in its front-page report? Let's start with this:
In the case of the most recent "killing," it described the three or four killings or deaths which had gone before it.
According to the New York Times, the state of Arkansas "executed" Kenneth D. Williams this Thursday night. We're opposed to all executions.
At the same time, we favor journalism of this type, in which people were allowed to hear what Williams did in 1998:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ (4/28/17): The state built its death chamber in 1978, and Mr. Williams was born the next year. In 1998, he emptied a revolver after a robbery in neighboring Jefferson County, killing a 19-year-old woman, Dominique Nicole Hurd. When Mr. Williams was spared the death penalty and sentenced to life in prison, he mocked Ms. Hurd’s relatives, turning to them and saying, “You thought I was going to die, didn’t you?”Who was Cecil Boren? According to the Times, he was, at the time of his death, "a former Internal Revenue Service worker who had been an assistant warden at the Cummins Unit, the prison where Mr. Williams awaited his execution [last week]."
He was sent to Cummins and, weeks after his arrival, escaped by hiding inside a 500-gallon tank that was brimming with hog slop. [Cecil] Boren was in his yard, working while his wife was at church, when Mr. Williams arrived. The fugitive entered the house, stole one of Mr. Boren’s guns, shot him seven times, seized his victim’s wallet and drove off in his truck.
In Missouri the next day, Mr. Williams led the police on a high-speed pursuit that ended when he struck a water truck, killing its driver. Sentenced to death for Mr. Boren’s murder, Mr. Williams later wrote a letter to The Pine Bluff Commercial, an Arkansas newspaper, and confessed to another killing that had been unsolved.
Who was 19-year-old Dominique Hurd? Your question is very important.
You can see a photo, and read about her, at this memorial scholarship site. We can offer no photograph of the relatives Williams crazily mocked.
If the world operated on our views, there would have been no execution this week. In typical award-winning fashion, we're inclined to believe that, when Person A murders Person B, each person's life has been lost.
Person A's life had perhaps been lost at some earlier point. We don't know why Williams did the things he did, but we wouldn't have executed him for it.
That said, Williams wasn't the only player in this gruesome drama. Yesterday morning, the New York Times did what Maddow will never do:
The Times let you ponder, if just for a moment, the three or four people whom Williams killed or caused to die in the crimes for which he was later sentenced to death. The Times also told you how these events are viewed by the survivors of three of Williams' victims.
Those survivors have different outlooks. At least one family asked the governor to cancel this week's execution:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ: The daughter of Michael Greenwood, the man killed during the pursuit in Missouri, urged Gov. Asa Hutchinson to stop the execution. “We are in no way asking you to ignore the pain felt by the victims of Mr. Williams’s other crimes,” Kayla Greenwood wrote in a letter this week. “We know what they are going through, but ours is a pain that we have decided not to try and cure by seeking an execution.”For much more on Kayla Greenwood (and her mother), see below. As a general matter, Maddow doesn't degrade herself by mentioning people like them.
Kayla Greenwood and her family weren't seeking Williams' death. According to the New York Times, other survivors felt differently about the impending execution:
BLINDER AND FERNANDEZ: Mr. Boren’s widow declined to be interviewed. Her family opposed clemency for Mr. Williams.Once again, for a photo of Nicky Hurd, you can just click here.
Vickie Williams, Ms. Hurd’s mother and no relation to Mr. Williams, said her daughter had ambitions of being a neonatologist as a biology and premedical student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she was known as Nicky. Ms. Williams said she did not plan to attend the execution, but she supported it.
“He did not receive the death penalty for killing Nicky,” she wrote in an email. “If proper justice was served, others may not have lost their lives. The justice system is very confusing. Everyone has rights except for the families of victims.”
Meanwhile, is her mother right? Does everyone have rights except the families of victims?
We'll guess that's an overstatement. That said, victims and their families don't exist on the Maddow Show, which mainly exists to announce the moral greatness of the program's weirdly unbalanced, bizarrely self-involved multimillionaire host.
(You know? The one who weirdly grins and chuckles all night? Because the consultants said?)
The Times report also describes the thinking of some local residents who aren't related to the people Williams killed. They all seem to support capital punishment, certainly so in this case.
In that judgment, those Arkansans are expressing a view which people have held since the dawn of time. At the present time, that view is shared by a handful of others, including Clinton and Clinton, Obama, Gore, Kerry and Biden, just to pull names from a hat.
On Maddow's show in recent weeks, you weren't required to hear about what Williams crazily did. You did hear Maddow suggest that Arkansas was rushing the "killing" of Williams through. You weren't told that his case had been in the courts for nineteen years.
(Most excitingly, you were also told that Justice Gorsuch "voted for his first killing." This brave declaration was designed to give you an especially cheap tribal thrill, in line with corporate strategy for Maddow's embarrassing program.)
You didn't hear about Dominique Hurd, the 19-year-old who wasn't going to be a Rhodes scholar from a school like Stanford. You didn't hear about her mother. You didn't hear about Mrs. Boren, who became a widow in 1998. You didn't hear about Kayla Greenwood and her mother (much more on them below).
Why didn't you hear about these people? Let's think back to the spring of 2009, when you heard about folk of their general type on the Maddow Show. That's when Maddow spent two weeks dropping dick jokes on the heads of such throw-away people—people from the comically lesser ends of the earth.
(And yes, this very much does explain who you meet on this program.)
Last night, Maddow performed overt journalistic malpractice concerning Flynn and Pence. Last Friday, she staged her silly exhibition about the state of Arkansas' "killings." (It's one of her trademarked plays.)
Increasingly, Maddow is a clown, a devolving basket case, a journalistic con man. She now struts and frets and plays the fool pretty much every night. That stupid old DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS is totally gone.
Night after night, she mocked these people in 2009; night after night, she was even willing to pretend that she was embarrassed to do so. In these ways, our multimillionaire corporate stars helped put Donald J. Trump where he currently is.
For ourselves, we oppose capital punishment. Does Maddow? She's so busy acting out, we never quite hear her say that.
More on Kayla Greenwood: For (much, much) more on Kayla Greenwood (and her mother), you can just click here.
You can see a photo of Greenwood at age 5, just before her father was killed. You can see a photo of her younger brother, with whom her mother was pregnant.
"Regular people" do remarkable things, as you can see at that link. You will never learn such facts on a certain cable TV show, a show designed to churn good ratings, thus pleasing the corporate suits.
The program exists to promote its host and to Hannityize our tribe. In such ways, we self-impressed liberals have worked quite hard to put Donald Trump where he is.