ANATOMY OF MODERN DISCUSSION: Novelization of news in the raw!

THURSDAY, JULY 9, 2020

The Post reports on George Floyd:
For better or worse, you'll never see it any more clearly.

You'll never see the architecture of modern journalistic "discussion" laid out in a more explicit fashion.

In part, we refer to the practice we began describing, in the last century, as "the novelization of news." More specifically, we refer to a practice which might have been drawn directly from Wonderland:

Storyline first! the prevailing rule says. Information later.

It may not be narrative all the way down, but plainly it's "Narrative First."

We refer to the lengthy front-page news report in this morning's Washington Post, a front-page report which includes a wealth of new detail about the dreadful killing of the late George Floyd.

Readers are handed the storyline first. Right there in paragraph 2, still on the paper's front page, readers are told what they should think about everything which will follow:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER (7/9/20): George Floyd repeatedly begged police officers not to shoot him and complained of being claustrophobic as they tried to place him in a squad car in the minutes before he was killed on a South Minneapolis street corner in May, according to transcripts of police body camera footage from the scene released Wednesday.

The transcripts make clear that Floyd was trying to cooperate with police but was deathly afraid of them, at times telling them that he had had covid-19 and was worried that he was going to die because he couldn’t breathe while in their custody...
"The transcripts make clear that Floyd was trying to cooperate with police." Readers are handed this storyline at the start of this morning's report.

Readers are told that this is what they should think about the information which will follow. You'll rarely see a purer instance of modern press storyline.

Before we continue, let's make two basic points:

First, what follows is not intended as a criticism of George Floyd. It's not intended as a commentary on any of his behavior.

To the extent that what follows is commentary on anyone, it's intended as commentary on the behavior of the Washington Post. For ourselves, if we believed there were angels in heaven, we'd believe that one of them would surely be George Floyd.

Our second point would be this:

What follows is principally meant as a contribution to the science of anthropology. It's intended as a report on one of the ways our highly tribal, war-inclined species is strongly inclined to behave.

The major experts with whom we consult say this behavior was bred in the bone. However we may regard that claim, you'll rarely see a clearer example of the inclination to novelize all information—of the inclination to adhere to preferred tribal storyline even in the face of countervailing facts.

That said, let's try to remember! What follows isn't meant, in any way, as a commentary on Floyd. It's offered as a report on human instinct, especially during heavily fraught, tribalized times such as these.

At deeply fraught times, or so we've been told, we humans were especially inclined to cling to tribal narrative. So it was, we'd have to say, at the start of the Post's news report.

The transcripts make clear that Floyd was trying to cooperate with police? That's what Post readers are instantly told today. Concerning that statement, please note:

The transcripts don't suggest that Floyd was trying to cooperate. The transcripts don't help us gauge the extent to which Floyd actually did cooperate.

According to the opening statement, the transcripts make it clear that he was trying to do so. We're told that this is what we should think, a bit later on, when we read such excerpts as this:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER: Officers had responded to a 911 call from Cup Foods complaining of a customer who had passed a counterfeit $20 bill. Kueng and Lane were the first officers on the scene, and the transcripts show that a store clerk pointed them to where Floyd and two others sat in a parked car nearby.

Transcripts show that Lane approached the car and called on Floyd at least five times to show his hands, drawing his gun when he didn’t. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Floyd responded, according to a transcript of Lane’s body camera. “I didn’t do nothing. . . . What did I do though? What did we do, Mr. Officer?”
In that passage, it almost sounds like former officer Lane asked Floyd to show his hands five times without Floyd doing so.

Was cooperation already missing? A few paragraphs later, the reporter tells us this:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER: The transcripts show that Floyd continued to ask officers not to shoot him as he stepped from his vehicle, and suggest that he struggled with officers as they tried to handcuff him.
As we've noted, this isn't meant as a criticism of Floyd, or of his behavior. Concerning the Post's journalistic behavior, does that passage help "make it clear" that Floyd was trying to cooperate with the two officers then on the scene?

Does that passage seem to comport with the Post reporter's instant front-page storyline? For ourselves, we'd say it does not. Ditto for what comes next:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER (continuing directly): “Stop resisting Floyd!” Shawanda Renee Hill, a witness inside the car, called out, according to the transcript of the footage from Lane’s camera.
Nothing about these events is funny, but it's hard not to laugh at the reporter's description of Hill as "a witness inside the car," as if Floyd had been driving an Uber that day and Hill had just been picked up.

In fact, Hill seems to have been a friend or acquaintance of Floyd. At this point, the transcript suggests that she thought her friend was resisting arrest.

As the Post reporter continues, Hill's view is further fleshed out:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER (continuing directly): As Kueng walked Floyd across the street, Lane asked Hill about Floyd’s behavior. “Why’s he getting all squirrelly and not showing us his hands and just being all weird like that?” he asked, according to the transcript.

“I have no clue, because he’s been shot before,” Hill said.

Lane asked whether Floyd was “drunk” or “on something.”

“No, he got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police,” Hill replied. “He have problems all the time when they come, especially when that man put that gun like that.”
It isn't clear what Hill is talking about by the end of that passage. But when Lane suggests that Floyd's behavior seems somewhat odd, Hill doesn't seem to disagree.

Later, we're told this:
EXPERIENCED REPORTER: According to the transcripts, the officers tried placing Floyd in the squad car, but he resisted, repeatedly telling them he was “claustrophobic” and had “anxiety.” He begged to be released from his handcuffs, promising he wouldn’t hurt anyone. “Y’all, I’m going to die in here,” he told them. “I just had COVID man, don’t want to go back to that.”

By then, Chauvin and Thao had arrived as Kueng and Lane were struggling to get Floyd in the car...[A]t one point, an unknown officer sought to intervene, according to the transcripts. “Man, you’re going to die of a heart attack,” one of the officers told Floyd. “Just get in the car.”
First, Hill explicitly seemed to say that Floyd "resisted." Now, though, the reporter does! She says it in her own words!

Meanwhile, the two rookie officers were "struggling to get Floyd" into their police car. This is what the reporter says we can glean from the transcripts!

By now, former officer Derek Chauvin has arrived on the scene. When he does, the events of the day take a disastrous turn.

For the record, the Post reporter describes several instances in which Lane, the rookie cop, tries to get the experienced veteran to stop killing Floyd. In their own front-page report in this morning's New York Times, Oppel and Barker provide more detail about these several attempts.

So it went in this morning's Washington Post. If you watched Lawrence O'Donnell last night, you saw a remarkably selective reading of these tragic transcripts.

Needless to say, Hill's statement that Floyd was "resisting" wasn't mentioned by Lawrence at all. Lawrence included only one fleeting reference to Lane's suggestions to his superior officer that he should stop killing Floyd.

"So it tended to go among this highly tribal species," our highly credentialed advisers have said. They speak in the past tense at such times, as pitiful wailing emerges from the caves in which they now seem to live.

With respect to this morning'a report in the Post, these experts have told us this:

Rarely will you see the essence of journalistic "discussion" so clearly carved into stone:

Readers are told what they should believe right at the start of the lengthy report. Readers are handed the storyline first. A torrent of contradictory information comes later!

As some may struggle to recall, none of this is meant as a criticism of the late George Floyd.

(Experts say that humans generally longed to hear their tribal storylines, and tended to have a very hard time focusing on anything else.)

This isn't even meant, in the main, as a criticism of the Washington Post.

It's true that, in Sunday's editions, the Post published a lengthy report by an inexperienced rookie reporter. The rookie had been sent out to pretend that the paper cares about the lives and interests of black kids.

Mainly, though, it seems that she'd been told to stick to approved storyline. Or some editor may have stepped in.

Our sources tell us that this was done because the Post's more experienced reporters have been told to focus on offensive costumes worn by well-intentioned people at Halloween parties past. They've been asked to compile lists of well-intentioned people the Post may be able to get fired from their jobs for Thought Crimes of this type.

This left it to a rookie reporter, one year out of college, to report on a (prestigious) public school and on the lives and the interests of black kids.

That reporter graduated from Harvard last June (class of 2019). Before that, she prepped at Georgetown Day. Not that there's anything wrong with it because, of course, there isn't.

There is something wrong with letting an inexperienced non-specialist report on the interests of black kids. That said, our journalistic elites have always played it that way, and they always will.

There's little sign that the cub reporter knows much about the problems of public schools and low-income schooling. That said, she knew the prevailing storyline—and in this world, it's "Storyline First."

This isn't the kid reporter's fault. We shouldn't even "blame" her editors, our future experts insist.

These experts say that all these players should be listed among Styron's "beaten and butchered and betrayed and martyred children of the earth."

In Sophie's Choice, Sophie Zawistowski was one such person, but so were many others. That's the most humane way to view these events, these weeping top experts have said.

Tomorrow: "Discussions" of police shootings

76 comments:

  1. "none of this is meant as a criticism of the late George Floyd"

    You only repeated it four times, dear Bob. And unless it's repeated full 40 times, dear Bob, your essay here is WHITE SUPREMACY.

    Go kneel, dear Bob, and bow down 200 times, asking for forgiveness.

    As for the narratives, dear Bob, what's with your narrative of "dreadful killing of the late George Floyd"? Who decided it was a "killing", let alone "dreadful"?

    Why not let the jury decide what it was.

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  2. Somerby says he isn't going to criticize Floyd's behavior, then he runs through it in order to raise questions about whether Floyd cooperated (or whether the press made that up), but then he repeats again that he isn't criticizing Floyd's behavior.

    Then what is he doing? He is criticizing Floyd's behavior, clearly, and objecting to the press saying that Floyd cooperated, but he doesn't want to be seen as criticizing Floyd's behavior, so he repeatedly denies doing so.

    Do you believe Somerby's denial? Me neither.

    And I believe that Floyd was behaving like someone who was scared and panicked but trying to cooperate. If officers do not know how to recognize and treat the disordered breathing that occurs during a panic attack, they need better training. And that is meant as a criticism of those officers. Because, unlike Somerby, I will take responsibility for my opinion.

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    1. Where does he criticize Floyd's behavior?

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    2. He states that the reporter is wrongly summarizing the details of Floyd's behavior by calling it "cooperative" when the quotes suggest he was not cooperating but was behaving in a squirrelly manner.

      By disagreeing with the reporter's summary, Somerby accepts the alternative, that Floyd was not cooperative. Disagreeing with the characterization of Floyd's behavior as cooperative is a criticism of that behavior.

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    3. Disagreeing with the characterization of Floyd's behavior as cooperative is a criticism of that behavior? That doesn't make sense. Why would it be a criticism? It's just an objective observation isn't it? His companion in the car said he was resisting which is the opposite of cooperating. That is an objective fact.

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    4. There is no logic in your reply.

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    5. Calling someone uncooperative is a criticism because cooperation with police is not only a norm in our society, but it is a defense by police for their use of force (or for arresting someone who has committed no other crime). It is not an objective observation without some definition of what constitutes cooperation, and we have nothing except cop judgment for that. Somerby thinks a passenger asking Floyd to cooperate indicates an ongoing lack of cooperation. I don't see any reason why that should be true. She is keying off of the police behavior and repeating advice to prevent mistreatment, not necessarily admonishing Floyd because of what he was doing. None of these are "objective" facts. In order for a fact to be objective, it must be measurable in some way that is consistent and reliable (produces the same result) for all observers. Since we have a difference of opinion, it is manifestly not objective but subjective -- your mileage is varying from mine.

      Stop talking about logic. It doesn't help your arguments and I'm not sure you know what logic is.

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    6. Why is a passenger sitting in the car considered an expert on whether Floyd was cooperating or not?

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    7. Stop talking about logic. It doesn't help your arguments and I'm not sure you know what logic is.

      The irony of that statement is so rich that it's a wonder it doesn't tear a hole in the spacetime continuum. Why doesn't your head just explode? You must be unable to generate cognitive dissonance.

      Calling someone uncooperative is a criticism....

      No, not necessarily. In some states, you may legally resist an unlawful arrest, including the use of proportionate force against a police officer. (Other states restrict your relief to the courts.)

      Even in lawful arrests, we don't criticize someone for their uncooperative behavior if they're fearful or panicked.

      Somerby thinks a passenger asking Floyd to cooperate indicates an ongoing lack of cooperation.

      One more time: quit telling TDH what he thinks. Read what he writes, which starts with a quote of the report:

      "The transcripts make clear that Floyd was trying to cooperate with police." Readers are handed this storyline at the start of this morning's report. Readers are told that this is what they should think about the information which will follow.

      You can question the accuracy or the veracity of the witness. You can question the objectivity of a judgment of non-cooperation. But the answers aren't relevant to TDH's complaint, namely that the report tells you one thing (transcripts show that Floyd was trying to cooperate) when they do no such thing.

      Reading for comprehension: F
      Logical reasoning: F
      Coming to a reasonable conclusion: F
      Grade: the usual

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    8. OK good. You understand your claim Somerby is "clearly" criticizing Floyd is subjective. If not, please define the expression "calling someone uncooperative is criticizing" in a measurable way that is consistent and reliable and produces the same result for all observers.

      The writer claimed it was "clear" that Floyd was cooperating but his co-passenger asked him to stop resisting (an objective fact) and he didn't put his hands on the steering wheel when asked (another objective fact) so given the objective, factual evidence, it's not clear he was cooperating is it? And as you say, it isn't objectively clear at all he was cooperating, there are manifestly subjective opinions about it. That's all I was trying to get at. The claim of clear cooperations by the reporter is subjective narrative. I think we're on the same page now.

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  3. The first paragraph or two of a news report does include a summary of the details that will follow. That structure provides readers with an overview, in case they do not wish to read the remainder. News reports are written like that on purpose, but now Somerby suggests there is something wrong with it, because we all structure our memories and thoughts in terms of narrative, because we live in a time-ordered reality in which events that come first are at the beginning and more recent events occur at the end. News reports are written to be compatible with the way we think about events in time. When you change that ordering, people get confused and annoyed.

    But Somerby thinks it is some device to control our thoughts, to convince us of things that are not true, a propaganda device. No, it is just good journalism, the way it is taught in every journalism school and the way rookies are taught to write their reports. And the agenda is to make the news easier to read and allow people to come up to speed quickly, while investing smaller amounts of time to get the big picture, followed by more facts if they want to know them.

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    1. The little boy in that famous fairy tail who cried that "the king is wearing no clothes!" was quite the villain for calling into question the prevalent narrative. By the same token, so many here constantly fault TDH.

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    2. AC, too often Somerby misstates someone’s opinion (er, “narrative” to use his term), and then attacks his misstated version of that person’s opinion as if it were that person’s actual opinion. Not kosher.

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    3. That fairy tale is one of millions of stories, some true and others false (e.g., fiction). Narrative structure is part of human thinking. There is nothing inherently wrong with it.

      TDH is an asshole. Beneath his seemingly harmless quarrels with reporters over staples of journalistic technique, he embeds conservative talking points while asserting that he is liberal. That makes him a Republican operative and propagandist. Somerby isn't any little boy exposing cherished but wrong beliefs. He is a Trump and/or Russian operative trying to undermine liberal attitudes and beliefs.

      Today Somerby attacks the need for police reform, suggesting that it is biased reporting that makes us think such reform is needed. He also attacks the idea that elite and high performing schools should be more accessible to disadvantaged and minority children, suggesting that the need for such access is a reporter's lie being told to appease liberal cravings for integration that isn't possible or even desirable, while he pretends to care about black kids.

      Don't be taken in by his schtick, AC/MA.

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    4. The first paragraph or two of a news report does include a summary of the details that will follow. That structure provides readers with an overview, in case they do not wish to read the remainder. News reports are written like that on purpose, but now Somerby suggests there is something wrong with it....

      You think that TDH is objecting to the structure of a news report with an upfront summary?

      Could you be any dumber? Or more dishonest?

      No, really, which is it? I suppose it could be both.

      TDH objects to the content of the summary, namely that transcripts show that Floyd was cooperative, when they do no such thing.

      Notice that this is different from saying that Floyd wasn't cooperative or that his noncompliance required any physical response, let alone fatal force.

      How is that not clear to you?

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    5. anon 11:54 - by and large, TDH is calling out the so-called liberal media for putting their thumbs on the scale, distorting the truth, and ignoring rather large contradictory facts or views. You don't provide any examples of his misstating anyone's opinion, and then basing an attack on that. (He has his faults - Wittgenstein, his obsessive concern that popularizers of modern physics don't really explain things that well, his apparent view that Harrare is an important thinker to name a few).

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    6. Anon 12:23. You are basically a lunatic. Pretty much every point you make is ridiculous. Life is too short to refute everything you say point by point - though Deadrat has done some of that. But another example - there is zero in TDH's post where he "attacks the need for police reform." You don't seem to be able to think rationally.

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    7. AC/MA -- you complain but you don't refute much.

      My points may be different than your own thinking but that doesn't make them ridiculous. You need to develop some tolerance for viewpoints other than your own.

      Somerby today says things that make it appear that Floyd was less cooperative and thus more deserving of his fate -- in order to blame a reporter for painting an untrue picture of Floyd's behavior. That is right wing horseshit. No matter what Floyd did, he didn't deserve to be killed. Yes, Somerby always gives lip service to such views, then he turns around and makes the arguments that will make The Others feel warm and fuzzy.

      If you don't see it that way, tough shit. There is no law that says you have to come around here and call others (such as me) names and accuse us of failing to think rationally, simply because you don't see things the same way. This is a big world with lots of different people in it, many disagreeing passionately with each other. Grow up and live with it.

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    8. "TDH objects to the content of the summary, namely that transcripts show that Floyd was cooperative, when they do no such thing."

      No deadrat, Somerby is objecting to the existence of the summary, not its contents. He says it is narrative all the down. He deplores narrative. He calls narrative part of propaganda. It is narrative he goes on and on about.

      Somerby doesn't have the guts to call Floyd uncooperative, so he objects to the reporting of that fact, because it is consistent with a narrative that victims of police abuse are angels -- unfortunately, few on the left actually believe that about any of those killed by police. That makes this a straw man of Somerby's devising, which Somerby raises to illustrate how narrative drives reporting, not to decry the way police are attacked unfairly (he wouldn't have the guts to say that here). So it is the fact of narrative that supposedly bugs him.

      If that seems weird and something that no sane person would care about, you are probably right. That's because Somerby really cares about exonerating police, but he confuses everyone by refusing to state unattractive positions directly, instead masking them in a defense against the horrible crime of writing a narrative.

      And you run to the safety of literality, refusing to acknowledge what he does here. And Cecelia and AC/MA and Leroy egg you on, Somerby's right-wing admirers, which should tell you that you are on the wrong track, but somehow you don't get it. Why?

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    9. AC/MC, consider that if there is nothing that Somerby says that wins approval on any given day (“WOW! You’re on the money with this one!”...) or that mitigates or even waylays (however briefly) the askance he unceasingly receives from these critics, that they are not casual political-junkie commenters on “a blog that no one reads”.

      Consider that this is something organized.

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    10. ANON 5:56,well there are lots of people who are convinced the earth is flat. Your bizarre reasoning fits into that category. "You need to develop some tolerance for viewpoints other than your own" - yet you call TDH an "asshole." Seemingly no one could be as clueless as you are - maybe a more plausible explanation is that it's all trolling.

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    11. Somerby is objecting to the existence of the summary, not its contents.

      Could you back that up, prefereably with quotes? I can't find any TDH complaints about the quotes or accurate paraphrases from the transcripts.

      He says it is narrative all the down. He deplores narrative. He calls narrative part of propaganda. It is narrative he goes on and on about.

      And so he should. Narrative gets in the way of accuracy.

      Somerby doesn't have the guts to call Floyd uncooperative, so he objects to the reporting of that fact,

      You think it takes guts for TDH to write his blog? That makes me chuckle. Do you think he's terrified of all the anonymous numpties in his comment section? I doubt he even reads his comment section.

      TDH objects to the statements that the transcripts "clearly" show what they don't. That's it.

      because it is consistent with a narrative that victims of police abuse are angels -- unfortunately, few on the left actually believe that about any of those killed by police.

      I'm not sure what you're on about here, but TDH does say that Floyd would be one of the angels.

      So it is the fact of narrative that supposedly bugs him.

      Er, yes. Are we in violent agreement?

      That's because Somerby really cares about exonerating police,....

      He certainly doesn't care to exonerate Chauvin.

      And you run to the safety of literality,

      Better than your flight to fantasy.

      And Cecelia and AC/MA and Leroy egg you on, Somerby's right-wing admirers,

      Have you failed to notice that I'm not a fan of Our Cecelia's politics as she expresses such here? She's not that thrilled with me either. But don't fear -- I'm not much swayed by other people's opinions of me, for ill or good.

      which should tell you that you are on the wrong track, but somehow you don't get it. Why?

      Couplea reasons. If you've adopted some political stance and find yourself in bad company, I agree that you ought to consder your position carefully. I often say, "If the devil offers you a light, you might want to consider giving up smoking." But that's not an iron-clad rule. I think the Nazis had the right to march in Skokie in 1977, but that doesn't mean I'm a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer.

      I think it's wise to evaluate arguments based on the evidence for them and the logic used in constructing them. Rightwingers arguments are generally bad, but they're not bad because rightwingers are making them. They're bad because they have no good evidence in favor of them, and they employ faulty logic in coming to their conclusions.

      Lastly, a critic of your position isn't necessarily your enemy. TDH is a jeremiah, and I appreciate that. He challenges me to evaluate my stances. Sometimes I'd say he makes a good point, and sometimes he doesn't.

      I can make the distinction, but somehow you don't get it.
      Why?

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    12. Cecelia,

      I don't know what's more delightful --

      your use of askance as a noun

      your claim that the gaggle of Anonymi Ignorami isn't just a bunch of "political-junkie" commenters.

      the implication that this isn't a blog that no one reads

      or your dark hint that the opposition is "something organized" when, rhetorically speaking, they couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel.

      Delete
    13. Being inept doesn’t preclude people from joining together with a common goal. As political parties illustrate.

      But thanks for participating, bully boy.

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    14. Is Our Cecelia feeling bullied by my calling out her political shall we say, proclivities? I'll have to say you have a low bar for bullying, but then I suppose you're just following the lead of your hero, who can always dish it out but never take it.

      Certainly crowds of the inept can be brought together for a common purpose. Your party is an example. But the droogs don't organize themselves, so I find it unbelievable that any one of the Anonymous Ignoramuses here could be the svengali of that hapless group. That leaves some organizational mastermind on the outside of the comment section of a blog nobody reads.

      A thought so ridiculous, it makes me laugh out loud.

      And you don't have to thank me. I do it a a public service. And for my own entertainment of course.

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    15. Right. Because it’s difficult for people to meet on various forums, message each other, and then turn a comment board into a shooting gallery against the blogger.

      Maybe if you add more sarcasm and say droog a couple of more times we can chisel in stone.

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    16. It's not impossible that it's happening, just as it is impossible to prove that it's not happening. Which is like most paranoid conspiracy theories. But, to be fair, sometimes they really are out to get you, so maybe the professor, David in Cal (our Village Idiot), Mao (our Village Troll), and the rest are holding cybermeet-ups somewhere in the dark web, where some evil mastermind instructs them to be as disruptive as possible while seeming as clueless as possible.

      In the comment section of a blog nobody reads, a comment section that (as it seems) the blogger himself doesn't read.

      Why would anybody take that much effort, as small as you judge it, in such a futile quest for such a ridiculous end?

      What's more likely, that commenters here are actually stupid on their own or that there's an organized dunciad of commenters?

      Come to think of it, isn't it more likely that I'm actually Somerby -- as has been suggested here -- conducting a spirited defense of the blogger as a sock puppet? And, of course, my denial is evidence of the truth of that claim because isn't that exactly what I would say if it were so?

      Or maybe I'm Somerby posting for some deranged reason, as all the commenters.

      Including you. How could anyone tell differently?

      That way lies the slippery slope to madness. Unsheathe Occam's Trac-II before it's too late.

      More sarcasm? You don't ask for much, do you? And what do you have against the word droog?

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    17. I just read eight paragraphs of droog artifice.

      You’ve done droog to death now. Tomorrow is another day.

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    18. Eight? Which one did you skip and why?

      Never mind. Our Cecelia is a trooper. And let no one say I'm unappreciative.

      I used the word droog for effect in one comment, and that's doing it to death? So no comment on the substance of what I wrote?

      No matter, I still appreciate your dedication. Not to mention your delicate sense of humor and recipe for chicken salad.

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    19. No you called people droogs in an attempt to suggest that commenters here don’t have the basic skills required for a simple organized pile-on, and then switched to likening such an operation to the outlandish plot of a Dr. Who episode in order to whack me.

      Your droog stinks. I’m not wrestling you in it.

      Delete
  4. Styron phoned -- he wants his book back.

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    1. Quite a trick, considering the area code he would be calling from.

      Delete
  5. "There is something wrong with letting an inexperienced non-specialist report on the interests of black kids. That said, our journalistic elites have always played it that way, and they always will."

    Somerby tells us nothing whatsoever about the content of the article he is criticizing -- just about the author of the report. He thinks this is enough of a criticism. He is just phoning it in -- he has no specific complaint other than that he wants a more experienced person to write about the complete lack of minority students at "the nation's number one public school". He doesn't bother telling us why the interviews with teachers and parents and community leaders were badly handled, in his opinion. Why he objects to a report about inequities in education on the basis of inexperienced writing and not the actual content of that article. He cannot refute it -- that's why. He just knows he doesn't like it. He doesn't like hearing the complaints of those now grown beautiful black children he once taught, so he blames the reporter and he says no one cares (implying that HE cares). Meanwhile, he doesn't care enough to listen to what they are saying in the many quotes in that article. He just mumbles something about Styron and blames the messenger for a message he cannot accept but will not refute.

    ReplyDelete
  6. The so-called Experienced Reporter imposed his own understanding on the arrest, characterizing Floyd's panic as lack of cooperation and squirrely behavior, and then put words into Hill's mouth in the way he framed his questions. That's what the transcript sounds like to me.

    The fact remains that Floyd was in handcuffs and sitting in the car when Chauvin took him out and put his knee on his neck. He wasn't shot while resisting arrest. He cooperated and was sitting in the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The so-called Experienced Reporter imposed his own understanding on the arrest....

      Maybe Experienced Reporter should stick to the facts instead of "imposing his own understanding," eh?

      characterizing Floyd's panic as lack of cooperation and squirrely behavior

      TDH's complaint is not that Experienced Reporter characterized Floyd's panic incorrectly, but that he (E.R.) claimed that the transcripts showed that Floyd was cooperative. That's not what they showed.

      and then put words into Hill's mouth in the way he framed his questions.

      The transcript is from a cop camera reporting that Hill said, "Stop resisting, Floyd." No one put words into Hill's mouth.

      Delete
    2. @deadrat
      The reporter said Floyd was trying to cooperate, not that he was completely cooperative. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have shared some moments of resistance from Floyd. She points out his panic, and how that influenced his behavior and hindered his ability to cooperate. His words were 100% deferential and cooperative and show his intention to cooperate.

      Delete
    3. Hill's words come from someone with a camera named Lane. Is that a cop?

      Delete
    4. @5:50P, yeah, Thomas Lane, was the original arresting officer. He and his partner, Alexander Kueng, and a third cop, Tou Thao, stood by when Derek Chauvin took over. The three bystanders have been indicted for aiding and abetting Chauvin.

      Delete
    5. mh

      The reporter said that the transcripts clearly showed that Floyd was trying to cooperate. They don't. If you're resisting the police, then it's not clear that you're trying to cooperate.

      No one needs conclusory introductory statements about the evidence. What's needed are reports about what the evidence is. And given the evidence, I can conclude that Floyd was fearful and panicky, and his minimal noncooperation should have been nothing that four (sorry, not three) cops should have been able to handle without killing anyone.

      Delete
  7. If there were witnesses and bystanders who called for Floyd to cooperate, because they were concerned for his safety and didn't want to see him hurt, there were also witnesses and bystanders who called for the cops to stop hurting Floyd, to let him up, to treat him with more care.

    When Somerby only excerpts the parts that support his view that the reporter didn't summarize the event properly, he "puts his finger on the scales" and misreports the event himself. How do we know such other bystanders were present? They are heard on the video. Now that there is video, we don't have to rely on Somerby to summarize these things for us by selectively excerpting to prove his point.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's always been video:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IW5V66pYsdI

      Let me tell you something. I'm sorry to say but you reason very, very poorly. Are the parts that support Somerby's view the reporter didn't summarize the event properly wrong? That is the only issue. Is it clear that he was trying to cooperate? If so, why did he resist according to his friend? Is it clear why? Why didn't he put his hands on the steering wheel? Was it "clearly cooperating" when he didn't? You take the issue away to other places like a young child would frankly.

      Warning - if you haven't seen that video (it was posted days after the murder), it is a snuff film. It's totally, totally shocking. He dies before your eyes.

      Delete
    2. "Let me tell you something. I'm sorry to say but you reason very, very poorly."

      Shorter Bernard: I disagree with what you said.

      One deadrat around here is enough for any blog. And he is both more abusive, a tad more arrogant, and a better writer than you are.

      How do you know that Floyd was cooperating? There was no police violence until Chauvin showed up and took Floyd out of the car. If he had not been cooperating, he would have been manhandled more, as you can see in the video you proudly posted, warning everyone that it is a snuff film.

      Delete
    3. To characterize Floyd as not cooperating you have to accept that one has to do whatever cops tell you to do. THIS IS UTTER NONSENSE. This is the subtle message TDH et al are trying to propagandize. DO WHAT YOU ARE TOLD. OBEY.

      Floyd was not running away or attempting to fight the cops, he was cooperating enough to not justify the cops' actions.

      Somerby often complains about "so-called experts". There are few more impactful cases of lacking expertise than the police. There is plenty of media that ignore or downplay the lack of expertise among the police, yet Somerby ignores this media.

      Somerby's worldview is being challenged by millennials and progressives and he does not like it.

      Man BAFFLES Cops By Knowing His Rights

      Delete
    4. Shorter Bernard: I disagree with what you said.

      Shorter Anonymous Ignoramus @2:18P: I can't argue with Bernard's logic so I'll just imply that his disagreement is baseless.

      Instead of this contemptible ploy, why not answer the questions?

      One deadrat around here is enough for any blog.

      There is only one deadrat, but I need all the help I can get from people who can read for comprehension.

      And he is both more abusive, a tad more arrogant, and a better writer than you are.

      I'd say that was the nicest thing anyone has ever said about me online. Certainly here at this blog. I hope the word "tad" was meant ironically.

      (By the way, I especially like the use of "both" with three items. "His two weapons are abuse and arrogance. Arrogance and abuse and better writing. His three weapons are....")

      How do you know that Floyd was cooperating?

      The tape shows he wasn't completely compliant, but his noncooperation seems minimal enough that three cops could have effected an (unnecessary) arrest without killing him. The complaint is not that Floyd was ucooperative, but that the reporter wrote that the transcripts showed he was cooperative. They don't.

      There was no police violence until Chauvin showed up and took Floyd out of the car.

      Sure. How is that relevant to the discussion?

      If he had not been cooperating, he would have been manhandled more....

      Floyd was killed. How could he have been manhandled more?

      Delete
    5. 4:26 Isn't cooperating with police doing what you are told? Anyway, no one is characterizing Floyd as not cooperating. The claim that Floyd is "clearly cooperating" is being questioned. Is it clear he cooperating given the objective facts?

      Delete
    6. @deadrat
      Being called a better writer than someone named “Bernard Fuddle” that no one had ever seen here before is being damned with faint praise.

      Delete
    7. If he had not been cooperating, he would have been manhandled more....

      Floyd was killed. How could he have been manhandled more?

      He could have been tazed and chokeholded and roughed up when he was put into handcuffs, asked to sit on the ground and placed in the police car by the first two officers on the scene, before Chauvin arrived. He wasn't.

      Delete
    8. @5:01P opines,

      Being called a better writer than someone named “Bernard Fuddle” that no one had ever seen here before is being damned with faint praise.

      Do you think that the quality of Mr. Fuddle's writing has anything to do with his using a nym with the word "Fuddle" or with the fact that Mr. Fuddle has just started posting here?

      Did you really not detect any snark in my reply?

      Just how clueless are you?

      (Just to be clear, you don't have to answer. It was a rhetorical question.)

      Delete
    9. @5:49. Okay, point taken. With cops, I suppose it can almost always be worse.

      Delete
    10. To characterize Floyd as not cooperating you have to accept that one has to do whatever cops tell you to do. THIS IS UTTER NONSENSE.

      To characterize Floyd as not cooperating, you have to understand the definition of the verb "to cooperate."

      You do not have to do whatever cops tell you to do. You never have to answer a cop's questions. You can always dispute a cop's claims.

      In some states, you can even legally resist, even unto the use of appropriate force, an unlawful arrest. But not in Minnesota. In that state, it is illegal to hinder cops in the performance their duties. If a cop has acted against you illegally under the color of law, then your remedy is in court post hoc.

      Cops are often ignorant, although given your claims here, that just puts them on a par with you. But cops' ignorance isn't relevant to this discussion.

      And please stop telling us what the blogger likes or doesn't like. Another Somerby Whisperer.

      Delete
    11. I am glad you agree me deadrat, the rest of your comment is garbled nonsense.

      If a cop tells you to get out a magnifying glass and search for deadrat's tiny penis, you refusing does not qualify as not cooperating. I'll eat a donut while you puzzle out this rather trivially obvious point.

      The inability to discern what someone likes or doesn't like when that someone posts his thoughts daily is a lack of cognitive ability. Somerby works hard to be coy with his posts so as to have plausible deniability with excessively literalist goofs such as yourself.

      Delete
  8. https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/7/9/1959359/-Transcripts-of-George-Floyd-s-death-are-shocking-painful-and-unnecessary-to-prove-it-was-murder

    ReplyDelete
  9. It seems strange that a reporter pushing the “story” that Floyd was trying to cooperate would then include a bunch of details showing instances where Floyd might have been resisting.

    If the reporter were truly trying to craft a false narrative, wouldn’t she have simply omitted these details?

    It seems clear that Floyd’s words were uniformly deferential and not abusive or threatening in the slightest. They convey the willingness to cooperate.

    His behavior, which may have been resistive, was driven by his apparent fear or panic. At least, that is what the reporter suggests, and that emerges from the transcript.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The report makes a claim that Floyd was clearly cooperating and then includes a number of incongruities showing instances where Floyd might have been resisting. The point is the initial claim is inflated and wrong and proved wrong by its subsequent "bunch of details".

      Delete
    2. Yes, and the reporter chose to share those details. How is she then pushing a narrative?

      Delete
    3. By leading with an inflated, false claim of course.

      Delete
    4. Her claim is that Floyd was *trying* to cooperate. The transcript clearly shows that he was, indeed, trying, but was panicking and ever so slightly resisting because of that.

      As I said.

      Delete
    5. Usually the facts are not 100% in favor of either side. There is ambiguity, or some facts that support one position or the other. Many times, it's murky. I don't dispute that what happened to Floyd was reprehensible, and the criminal charges against Chauvin are justified, though if there is a trial the jury will decide. However, Floyd apparently did pass a counterfeit $20 bill, and had more of them in his possession. (As far as I know, it hasn't been explained what the deal was with the counterfeit currency - was it unknowing or knowing on Floyd's part?). When the clerk asked for the merchandise back, Floyd refused. Whether people are required to obey police commands - usually it's a good idea to do so, a good way to avoid problems. Sounds plausible that Floyd's behavior might have been the result of a panic attack, who knows. Please note, any of this doesn't justify in the least Chauvin's actions. Someone could be a serial child rapist, but it would have been improper to treat him that way. But I don't see the compulsion to treat Floyd like a saint. If he had simply given the merchandise back, or complied with the cops, or not resisted to the extent he did, what happened wouldn't of happened. Again, I'm not justifying what Chauvin did in the least.

      Delete
    6. The transcript shows that he was asked to not resist by his co-passenger and he didn't put his hands on the wheel after being asked multiple times by the officer. That is not evidence of clearly trying to cooperate is it? How do you square those incongruities objectively that make the claim of trying to cooperate "clear"? Claims he was resisting ever so slightly because of panic are subjective and not at all clear. That's the point. Is it really clear he was trying to cooperate? Objectively, it's not.

      It is very sad. Very, very sad. It seemed to me he was probably trying to cooperate but it's not "clear".

      Delete
    7. Exactly, my. If you’re going to argue that it does not comport with the facts to say that Floyd was trying to be cooperative, but that this is not the same thing as saying that Floyd was uncooperative, you’re not any further down the road than was the reporter.

      Floyd was hardly the first person the officers had ever arrested who became emotionally unglued and difficult for reasons ranging from just being an unaccountable sociopath to abject fear from past trauma.

      None of that accounts for anything in objectively describing Floyd’s behavior. Floyd was uncooperative. Period.

      The extent of his resistance and why he had good reason to be afraid could have been broached later in the story by interviews with family and witnesses.

      Delete
    8. "Floyd's behavior might have been the result of a panic attack, who knows."

      Yeah, right: who knows.

      Security guard at a night club with 5 convictions, naturally gets all shook up when approached by a cop.

      Or perhaps he was real shy. He was a Saint, y'know.

      Delete
    9. The narrative is that the transcripts "clearly" show that Floyd was trying to cooperate. They don't. That doesn't mean that Floyd was uncooperative, or at the very least compliant enough to have been (unnecessarily) arrested without consequences beyond the arrest.

      If, as you say, Floyd's behavior "may
      have been resistive
      " (Emphasis yours), then the reporter should not have written that the evidence clearly shows that he wasn't.

      There's nothing in the blog entry to suggest that the reporter was deliberately trying to "craft a false narrative." Indeed, TDH says that this type of behavior (novelization of the tribal narrative) is "bred in." It's just how we tend to operate.

      Delete
    10. @cecelia
      A person suffering a panic attack may want to cooperate, but resists unconsciously. If you have never been confronted by police, they can be very aggressive and start barking orders that the average person may not immediately process, which makes it look like resistance.

      The reporter claims that the transcript showed Floyd’s intention to cooperate, because his words show he is 100% deferential and willing to do what they ask. It isn’t an outlandish judgment to reach based on the transcript.

      Delete
    11. mh, journalists aren’t suppose to be mind readers, neither are they suppose to be unintuitive and unheeding of subtext.

      I mentioned ways the journalist could have conveyed a full story without setting parameters on our thinking from jump.

      Delete
    12. journalists aren't suppose [sic] to be mind readers....

      Yeah, that's the job of the Corps of Anonymous Ignoramuses in this comment section.

      Delete
    13. @cecelia
      If the reporter had said “he was fully cooperative at all times”, then that would have been false, I suppose. But, based on his words, Floyd is expressing a cooperative attitude, and that shows his intent to cooperate. That isn’t mind reading; it’s just what Floyd said. And I don’t see much evidence that his behavior was seriously non-cooperative.

      Delete
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