We hear Norman Brown singing: We've never met Tanya Faison of Sacramento, California.
That said, Tanya Faison of Sacramento is a good, decent person. Also, she has made a difficult choice, due to a need she feels.
In this morning's editions, the Washington Post describes the choice Faison has made. Decent people have made such decisions at various times in world history:
BAILEY ET AL (6/1/20): Less visible is the private weariness and anguish felt by many black people in the country, some of whom are either too fearful for their health to join the protests or who may disagree with the methods of some of the most riotous demonstrators.Decent people have put themselves at risk many times in the planet's past. Then too, there's the remarkable conduct being put on display by the Hamptons-based upper-end sociocrats who parade about, announcing their virtue, at the Gamptons-based New York Times.
“I’m exhausted,” said Tanya Faison, an activist in Sacramento. “All of these things build up, and they make your soul feel such unrest. And then you add that to all the lives that nobody got justice for.”
For months, Faison has been sheltering in place at home, worried that if she catches the virus, she may die because of a preexisting respiratory condition. But the fear of the coronavirus, she said, is outweighed by the urgent need to push for change while political leaders and nonblack communities are paying attention.
“There comes a time when you need to figure out what’s more of a risk,” she said. “So I’m going to put my mask on, I’m going to put my gloves on, and I’m going to protest.”
This very morning, the New York Times' front page represents a type of coming out. From this day forward, nothing is hidden. The Hamptons-based paper is no longer trying to hide who and what it is.
Tanya Faison is a good, decent person. We'd be inclined to suggest that folk at the Times may, by contrast, be lost.
Today's front page strikes us as astounding, yet perhaps as refreshingly undisguised. For starters, though, and with possible reference to Faison, or to other decent people like her, let's recall what we saw on the paper's front page just two days ago.
The report appeared on the Times front page. Right there in paragraph 6, the New York Times offered this:
FURBER ET AL (5/30/20): The case has become part of a now-familiar history of police violence in recent years in which African-American men have died in encounters that were shockingly mundane in their origins—Eric Garner, who died after a 2014 arrest in New York for selling cigarettes without tax stamps; Michael Brown, who died in an encounter with the police the same year in Ferguson, Mo., after walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk.Amazing, isn't it? You'll have to admit that it is!
More specifically, is it true? Did the late Michael Brown die in an encounter with police which was "shockingly mundane in [its] origins?"
Plainly, that's what three reporters said, abetted by unnamed editors. According to Furber, Burch and Robles, Brown died in an encounter with police "after walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk." Full and complete total stop!
As you know, those statements by the three reporters were technically accurate. Assuming even minimal competence, they were also baldly dishonest.
We don't believe that Furber, Burch and Robles are really that unaware. Similarly, we don't believe that their unnamed editors could possibly be that clueless.
According to the formal Justice Department report which Attorney General Eric Holder explicitly endorsed, Brown was killed after assaulting a (much smaller) convenience store clerk and subsequently attempting to seize a (somewhat smaller) police officer's gun.
He was spotted walking in the street, but he was being sought because of the earlier assault. For whatever tragic reason, he was charging the (somewhat smaller) police officer when the fatal shots were fired. According to the formal report which Attorney General Holder endorsed, every shot the officer fired was justified, given the circumstances.
(We're not sure we agree with that judgment, but the Obama officials who reached that conclusion know much more about police work than we do. At any rate, we're familiar with the basic facts which are described in their lengthy, report. Assuming even the tiniest competence, the New York Times knows those facts too.)
We find it hard to believe that Matt Furber, Audra Burch and Frances Robles don't know those basic facts. We don't believe that their unnamed editors are ignorant of these facts.
On the other hand:
Many good, decent people are ignorant of those facts. As Saturday's front-page report helps us see, newspapers like the New York Times are still working to keep things that way.
What goes through the mind of a journalist who puts such a baldly misleading passage in print? We don't know, and no one is ever going to ask Furber, Robles or Burch.
Our upper-end news orgs don't engage in such conduct. Homey don't play it that way!
At any rate, our point this morning is very simple. It goes exactly like this:
Counterintuitive though it may be, our nation's upper-end journalists have been doing this forever. More specifically, they've been misreporting and disappearing basic facts in cases of this type ever since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin launched the movement of which decent people like Faison are part.
Those decent people have repeatedly been misled and misinformed by our upper-end journalists. As they're handed childish, fabulized accounts of these very important milestone cases, they're robed of the chance to understand the complexity of the world, and their anxiety and sense of anguish may tend to grow.
We cover journalism at this site. We don't pretend to have expertise concerning police conduct and/or misconduct.
For more than twenty years, we've been describing the behaviors in which our nation's upper-end journalists engage. This morning, we're going to tell you this:
People like Faison have been misled and misinformed by people like Furber every step of the way over the past eight years. We refer to cases involving police shootings, and to cases of alleged or proven sexual assault.
In this instance, readers can see what the New York Times wrote. Last Saturday, the report appeared above the fold on the newspaper's front page.
Why was such an absurdly deceptive presentation on the paper's front page? We'll be asking such questions all this week as we discuss adulthood's end—as hear Norman Brown singing.
On this morning's front page, we'd say the New York Times has fully come out of its shell. We'd say it reveals itself, without any hint of disguise, as an upper-class organ of disinformation and performative Hamptons-based virtue.
When you read the New York Times, upper-end reporters are happy to signal that they themselves, and chosen others, are the good decent people, while targeted others are not. And by the way, while we have you here:
Is this perhaps a tiny bit like the way President Nixon got elected? Is it possible that President Trump could be getting himself re-elected as folk at the Times, and on the two cables, play these eternal games?
We can't answer that question—but the Furbers misstate, and many good people writhe. Complexity has been taken from them in this, the eternal way of the guild, the clan and the tribe.
By the way, who the heck was Norman O. Brown? He started out as a classicist, but you're asking a very good question.
His books became very big in the mid to late 1960s (Life Against Death, Love's Body). He seemed to think that he could hear our culture's end drawing near.
Tomorrow: Adulthood's end continues