The shape of traditional values: Midway through last evening's program, Brian Williams teased the upcoming segment:
WILLIAMS (6/18/20): Coming up, a closer look at the charges against the two officers involved in the killing of Rayshard Brooks. Stunning new details about what happened just after the fatal shooting.That was the test of the tease.
After a commercial break, Williams played a bit of videotapoe from the presentation by Paul Howard, the Fulton County Distrct Attorney. After that, he introduced his new segment as follows:
WILLIAMS: It was a powerful and methodical presentation in a local Atlanta courtroom today containing some shocking new details we didn't yet know about the killing by police of a black man in Atlanta last week...That's the way he introduced the segment.
Did Howard actually make "a powerful and methodical presentation?" Obviously, that's a matter of judgment / opinion.
For ourselves, we thought a lot of the presentation was quite hard to follow. Absent due process in an actual trial, it will be hard to evaluate the charges which were made—or do we no longer bother with that?
For ourselves, we weren't blown away by Howard's presentation. Beyond that, we'll offer some points about Howard's current circumstances below.
That said, we evaluate journalists here; as a general matter, we don't attempt to evaluate District Attorneys. Watching Williams, we thought he ought to go back to "using his words."
We have one traditional word very strongly in mind. In our view, some editor should have amended Williams' copy in the way shown below:
WILLIAMS/AMENDED TEASE: Coming up, a closer look at the charges against the two officers involved in the killing of Rayshard Brooks. Stunning new allegations about what happened just after the fatal shooting.Does Brian know that what he heard yesterday was a set of allegations? Does he realize that he still doesn't "know" if the allegations are true, or if they'll stand up in court?
WILLIAMS/AMENDED INTRODUCTION: It was a powerful and methodical presentation in a local Atlanta courtroom today containing some shocking new allegations we hadn't yet heard about the killing by police of a black man in Atlanta last week...
At one time, this was one of the most obvious bits of blocking and tackling in the whole American journalistic system. Everyone knew that an allegation had to be shown to be true. An allegation wasn't true just because a D.A. made it.
Today, people like Williams are primarily paid to pleasure viewers with tribal messaging services. Our tired old Enlightenment values and frameworks are being worn away.
We thought Chris Cuomo was so bad on CNN last night that we're postponing our discussion our of sheer despair. But make no mistake—almost surely, this is the most heavily tribalized topic in journalism today.
Last night, people on Fox heard one set of reactions to the presentation by Howard. On CNN and MSNBC, the sifting was very different, and rarely the twain shall meet.
As for Williams, it no longer occurs to him that you shouldn't simply assume that District Attorneys are making accurate, well-reasoned statements. Depending on your rooting interest, you can simply assume that you know that an allegation is true and well-founded as a matter of low..
In theory, a citizen shouldn't simply assume that a D.A. is making accurate statements and in rendering valid judgments. That may be especially true if the D.A, in question is involved in an extremely difficult re-election fight, as Howard currently is.
Should you believe everything Howard says? As a matter of traditional theory, no, of course you shouldn't! Everyone is fallible, and Howard is running behind for re-election in a district which is currently full of emotion about the shooting death of Brooks.
As for the harassment charges against Howard, not to mention the charges of financial impropriety, you can just click here. The report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution links you on to reports about both areas of concern. We heard these matters mentioned last night on Fox, but not on the channels we love.
We don't know if this D.A. has ever done anything wrong in his entire life. That said, viewers will be hearing about these matters over on Fox, less so on our own tribal channels.
Last night, the attorneys for Officer Brosnan—the officer who didn't fire his gun—disputed various things Howard said, including his apparently inaccurate claim that Brosnan has become a state's witness.
If Cuomo had stopped interrupting Brosnan's lawyers while asking absurdly irrelevant questions, viewers could have gotten a clearer picture of their client's account of what happened last Friday night.
As for Williams, he should go back to using his words! Howard has made some allegations. At one time, everybody knew the meaning of that highly important word!