Is the Post allowed to say that?: In this morning's Washington Post, Kathleen Parker slammed Tom Cotton because he argued that "an 'overwhelming show of force' was needed as the [recent] protests unfolded."
In our view, that isn't an especially accurate account of what Cotton proposed. At any rate, there it sat, on page A27 of this morning's Post.
Meanwhile, on page A1 of this morning's Post, a news report examined the way initial looting and disorder in D.C. gave way to peaceful protests. Early on, three reporters described the chaos which obtained at the time when Cotton wrote his underwhelming column:
JAMISON ET AL (6/10/20): More than 200 D.C. businesses were damaged. Buildings, cars and American flags were lit ablaze. Military helicopters swooped low to intimidate protesters, scattering broken glass.As they continued, the three reporters tried to explain why it happened.
“There was a moment that it looked like a repeat of the ’67 and ’68 riots,” said Julian E. Zelizer, a professor of American history at Princeton University. But ultimately, he said, the protests came to resemble the peaceful marches organized by civil rights activists in the early 1960s.
“I don’t know why it happened,” Zelizer said.
For ourselves, we don't know what made the tide turn. But is the Washington Post really allowed to say this?
JAMISON ET AL (continuing directly): D.C. officials, protesters and law enforcement experts cited different reasons for the shift. Some credited the evolving actions of law enforcement, most notably the enormous show of force by military and federal forces on the city’s streets on June 1 and June 2.Say what? Some credited "the enormous show of force by military and federal forces?" Is the Post allowed to say that? Even as a healing bit of "both sides could be right"-ism?
Others said that mobilization had little effect and may have been counterproductive, and pointed instead to the changing internal dynamics of the protests themselves.
For ourselves, we don't know why the looting and arson stopped. We don't know if that "enormous show of force" actually hurt or helped, or if it was really enormous.
That said, we were struck by the juxtaposition of Parker's (somewhat inaccurate) complaint about Cotton's proposal with the paper's willingness to credit the idea that some such "enormous show of force" actually may have helped.
Did the "enormous show of force" help in some way? We have no idea. Meanwhile, please don't get us wrong:
The others truly are evil and wrong! All human history shows that!