LONGING FOR BETTER DISCOURSE: One-year-old boy shot and killed in New York!

TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2020

The segregation of news:
For unknown reasons, the New York Times decided to try it again.

In this morning's editions, Southall and Gold report on rising gun violence in New York City. For unknown reasons, their editors let them try to report some statistics.

The reporters focused on the shooting death, Sunday night, of a 1-year-old boy in a stroller. At one point, though, they presented some elementary data.

This is what occurred:
SOUTHALL AND GOLD (7/13/20): Davell’s death came during another grim weekend of gun violence in the city, where shootings in June and July are up sharply compared with the same period last year, a spike that has helped push the overall number for the year higher.

As of July 12, there had been 634 shootings in 2020, compared with 394 in 2019. At that pace, the city would top 800 shootings for the year. It would be the first time in three years that the city had reached that number.
Yes, that's what it actually says. That's what it says in our print edition. That's what it still says in the news otherwise significant news report which appears online.

As of yesterday, there have been 634 shootings in New York City this year. At that pace, the city will top 800 by the end of the year!

Yes, that's what the news report says. No, we didn't invent that.

As we've mentioned in the past, people do make mistakes. And in this case, to be perfectly fair, the statements we've highlighted are all technically accurate.

At the current pace, the city will indeed top 800 shootings this year. That said, at the current rate, New York City could very well top twelve hundred shootings this year! By our calculations, the current pace would produce a total of 1196 shootings.

We have no idea how the Times reporters, or perhaps their editor, settled on eight hundred shootings as the statistical benchmark. Nor do we know how they picked three years as the time span of highest relevance.

When did Gotham last experience 1200 shootings in a calendar year? We can't tell you that, and the Times report, as presented online, offers no link to any data.

We haven't forgotten that one-year-old boy, the one who was shot and killed in his stroller on Sunday night. We'll return to his death as we make our main point, but first, let's offer some context:

By "shootings," the Times reporters probably mean "shooting incidents" (as opposed to "shooting victims"). Those are separate categories in New York City's CompStat data, last week's version of which can be perused right here.

For the record, while "shooting incidents" are substantially up as compared to last year at this time, that CompStat report seems to say that the current number is 17.3% lower than the corresponding number at this point in 2010.

Strikingly, the current number is a walloping 78.3% lower than the corresponding number in 1993! The reporters stress the fact that city residents are alarmed by the current pace of shootings. But even at the current alarming pace, "shootings" in New York City are way down since that year.

That larger number of shootings occurred during the long high-crime era which produced, among other things, the 1994 crime bill. As we all can remember, high-spirited entities within our own tents used that bill, in 2016, to launch attacks against Candidate Clinton. Also, she had used a disfavored term—"super-predators"—on one occasion in 1996.

These highly visible attacks helped send Donald J. Trump to the White House. In such ways, our own occasionally fallible tribe has helped create our less than bravura new world, in which a one-year-old boy was shot and killed in Brooklyn this past Sunday night.

As a bit of an afterthought, here's what happened that night:

According to the Times report, that one-year-old boy, Davell Gardner Jr., was shot in the stomach as he sat in his stroller at a cookout in Brooklyn. "He died a short time later at a nearby hospital," the Times report says.

We saw a report about Davell Gardner's death just last night, on cable. For better or worse—quite often, for worse—we saw the report on a frequently gruesome Fox News show, Tucker Carlson Tonight.

Carlson mentioned the death of this one-year-old boy in his program's third minute. The final segment of the show concerned the rise in shootings in New York City, with general ruminations about the current state of the NYPD.

We mention this for a reason:

Carlson's program is reliably larded with ludicrous name-calling aimed st those of whom he disapproves, along with ridiculous editing of videotape and butchered versions of various people's public statements. Again and again, the journalistic standards put on display are an embarrassment and a mark of the times.

That said, you may see topics discussed on Carlson's show which you won't see discussed on the other two cable news channels. Last night, viewers heard about that shooting death, and about the rise in shooting incidents in New York City generally.

(CNN's transcripts show no sign of any such discussions from 6 PM Eastern through midnight. MSNBC's transcripts will show up sometime next month.)

On our own tribe's cable channels, a certain type of segregation may perhaps seem to exist. Shooting deaths will be discussed, at length, if the shooting was done by a police officer. Such shooting deaths count so much that cable hosts may even start to edit, alter or rearrange their accounts of the way these deaths occurred.

On the other hand, shooting deaths may not seem to matter much, or at all, if the're done by people who aren't police officers. If a kid if shot and killed in a civilian crossfire, it may not seem to matter on our own tribe's cable channels.

There is another way in which cable channels currently "segregate" news. Increasingly, people with differing points of view, or even with different points of emphasis, aren't likely to encounter each other on these carefully curated programs.

On CNN and MSNBC, you will increasingly see no guest who doesn't present the current approved Storyline, whatever it happens to be. Amazingly, this segregation of viewpoint and emphasis may be slightly less dominant on Fox at this point, although that's just a guess.

Nationwide crime has been on the decline for several decades. For our money, Kevin's Drum's analysis of this phenomenon has been one of the blogosphere's few great achievements to date.

Now, especially in urban settings, violence and shooting incidents seem to be on the rise again. Why haven't various municipalities been able to protect their children, and the parents of those children, from this kind of violence? Is there merit to a critique you may hear on Fox, in which you'll be told that the current black lives movement doesn't seem to focus enough on this type of shooting death?

We've been watching Carlson lately because we could no longer stomach Anderson Cooper and his endless Sarcasm/Storyline. We've occasionally glanced in on Laura Ingraham too.

As compared to Carlson, it seems to us that she has been much less ridiculous in her presentation of certain Fox-only themes and points of view. You will, of course, have to flip back to Lawrence when Dinesh D'Souza comes on.

During these sojourns, we've been struck by the segregation of cable news—by the sifting of what topics you'll see discussed, of what information you'll be given, depending on which channel you are watching.

Monday morning, Slate's Lili Loofbourow said she shares "the longing for better discourse." We were struck by one aspect of the essay she wrote about that topic. We may return to it tomorrow.

Last night, we were struck, once again, by where you have to go on cable to hear about one-year-old kids getting shot and killed in their strollers.

Could it possibly be, we asked, that our tribe was possibly wrong when it ranted, railed and carried on about the word that candidate used on that one occasion? Also, is it possible that our occasionally imperfect tribe is making misjudgments today?

Tomorrow: Paraphrase is amazingly easy, direct quotation is hard


  1. "Gruesome", dear Bob? I've seen a couple of them back in April-May and they were fine, except for what I thought were gratuitous attacks on the Chinese government.

    Perhaps you're switching to your zombie mode when Carlson is on, dear Bob? Pay attention, please.

    As for the shootings and such, yes, I remember the early 90s. Bad shit.

    Note, however, that it wasn't ideological violence. No militants, no anti-policing narratives; it was merely gang-related. This one may get uglier. Especially if Our Beloved Commander wins the election.

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  2. Somerby is way off base today. First, the Crime Bill (which occurred under Bill Clinton, not Hillary) did not send Trump to the White House. Russia, Roger Stone, Wikileaks and James Comey did that.

    Second, shootings decreased in NYC because of the general decrease in crime nationwide (which Drum attributes to lead abatement), but also because real estate prices went up to the point where only wealthy individuals could afford to reside in the New York area.

    Third, shootings are up now because of the stresses associated with job loss and fear of covid. They are also increasing because of the rise in gun ownership and the unfettered activitiy of right-wing domestic terrorism.

    Fourth, this shooting sounds like a stray bullet perhaps intended for someone else, perhaps shot into the air in a belated Fourth of July celebration. Illegal fireworks have been on the rise in NY and other areas too, and are being used not only on the 4th but as an expression of resistance to covid restrictions.

    Of course Carlson talked about this shooting. The right loves to talk about so-called black-on-black crime, or minority crime. And yes, liberals do talk about police shootings, but liberals also talk about gun accidents and shootings of children, because liberals in general favor gun legislation. And liberals have been asking for government investigation of both domestic terrorism from alt-right and of prevention of domestic violence, another source of gun violence.

    Somerby doesn't mention that Fox is using this shooting to support police complaints about the release of prisoners due to covid-19. Police are saying that the increase of violence is due to those early releases, not other causes. Notice also that Somerby doesn't notice that two boys were also shot that day, a 12 year old and a 15 year old.

    The report on Fox states:

    "Police said the four victims were struck by gunfire after two men walked up to the sidewalk gathering in Brooklyn just before midnight, and started shooting from across Raymond Bush Park in Bed Stuy. Their motive is unclear at this time."

    Why would two unknown men just walk up to a family group and start shooting at them? Most of the time when that happens it is due to racial animosity, with the shooters white and the victims minorities. Fox would never tell you that. The adults who were shot were hit in their ankles and feet. It sounds like an attempt to terrorize and not to kill, or an attempt to drive the picnicking people off the street. Or the shooters were perhaps drunk.

    But in any case, I do not believe it is our misbegotten tribe that is making misjudgments. I think Somerby has come out of the closet about his Fox-watching habits and is not thinking about why Tucker Carlson reported that story.

    Notice how statistics provide no additional information about what happened, and notice how Somerby disappeared the whole political context about police going on strike because of covid prisoner-releases from this story, obviously intended to scare viewers into greater support for police complaints.

    And here we see the dishonesty of Somerby's presentation.

    1. @11:21 Your comment illustrates Bob's thesis. Actually most black victims were shot by other blacks. But, you would not know that from the liberal media, because they tend to ignore black on black murders.

    2. There is no evidence that the liberal media does not care about so-called black-on-black murders (an ugly term that David loves to use here). See mh's comment below about liberal involvement in anti-violence activism.

      I've never heard David talk about brown-on-brown shootings. Shall I assume he only cares about black people? This is a ridiculous refrain that David raises to deflect from any mention of BLM and police accountability.

      People are mostly shot by people who are close to them, in the same family, in the same neighborhood. Since people tend to live with those who are similar to themselves, the likelihood of being shot by someone of the same race is higher than that of being shot by someone from farther away, demographically speaking. That doesn't mean that black people prefer to shoot other black people, any more than the tendency of white people to shoot white people means that they are avoiding shooting black people because of their race.

      The reason why police are being accused of mistreating black people is because they treat black people different than white people during their policing activities. There is bias there -- there is not bias at work in other gun violence, other than the systemic bias that exists in our society and dictates where people live and work.

    3. David, did you happen to watch Wyatt Cenac's show about police and race? I think watching that series might be a fair measure of your own concern about black-on-black shootings.

  3. Somerby says you will only hear about this on Fox, but it was reported by the NY Times and New York Magazine.

  4. Why do liberal cable stations have to show the same segments as conservative ones?

    How can Somerby stomach even a few minutes of Carlson or Ingraham? No liberal I know would ever subject themselves to that. He is watching those shows by choice, because he doesn't like Cooper's style.

    I think it is time for Somerby to admit that he has become a conservative. He doesn't like "sarcasm" and he won't watch an out gay man (who strikes me as innocuous), so he turns to Fox for refuge (not MSNBC, notice). He needs to come clean, with himself and his therapist, if not with us.

    1. 'How can Somerby stomach even a few minutes of Carlson or Ingraham? No liberal I know would ever subject themselves to thaT'

      Because Somerby is a hard core malevolent Trumptard. One of the side benefits of seeing Trump lose in November will be to see Somerby bitch and moan about it for the rest of his miserable life.

  5. Just a few days ago, Somerby was arguing that parents who have "the talk" with their 7 year olds are unnecessarily terrifying them, because of media representations of violence. Today, he complains because cable didn't cover the shooting of a one-year-old at a barbecue.

    Essence Magazine is a black publication. Recently it conducted a survey of black women about racial issues.

    "Essence’s study gives insight into the unique experiences of Black women in the workplace, as mothers, and as Americans. Key findings show that:

    • 93 percent of Black women in the U.S. say they’ve experienced racism in their lifetime.
    • Nearly half of Black women say the place they most frequently experience racism is the workplace. Nearly half of Black women also say they’ve faced racism when applying for a job and when being considered for a promotion or equal pay.
    • 73 percent of Black women worry their children will be victims of police brutality. 82 percent fear that their children will not get the same opportunities as white children and 83 percent fear they will be “subjected to on-going racism.”
    • Though calls for change have been amplified after the death of George Floyd, only one-in-three (33 percent) Black women believe “things will be better for their child’s generation than their own.” "

    The one year old who was shot in Brooklyn was black. But Somerby thinks black parents shouldn't worry about their children.


  6. “is it possible that our occasionally imperfect tribe is making misjudgments today?”

    Somerby morphs a (not unwarranted) criticism of the media into a criticism of “our tribe”, ie “liberals.”

    Fox News brings up black-on-black violence as a way of ridiculing BLM and liberals, not because Fox cares about black-on-black crime. Their “reasoning” is illogical. Just because BLM has chosen the narrow focus of police violence against blacks, it does not follow that they don’t care about black crime victims who were not shot by police. Activist groups usually choose a narrow focus.

    It also does not imply that liberals don’t care. There are many local community groups in cities all over the country who are focused on preventing violence, mentoring, or serving as victim advocacy groups. Many of these groups were started by black pastors or mothers who lost their kids. There are also national groups, like Moms Demand Action, that are focused on gun violence. Many of these people are liberal.

    It’s probably fair to say the most of these groups by and large don’t receive much national media attention. And that is an indictment of all media, not just “mainstream.”

    But here is where Somerby goes wrong with his media criticism. The contention that CNN or MSNBC don’t give these groups much (if any) attention does not mean that liberals don’t care. It means that these news outlets (wittingly or not) abet the Fox News narrative by making it appear as if liberals don’t care.

    But Somerby wants to accuse liberals (“our tribe”) just as much as Fox does, and I object to it.

    Here’s a decent NYT editorial from a few years ago that makes the point I am trying to make here:

    “Black Activists Don’t Ignore Crime
    By Lisa L Miller”

    1. Liberals only care (and always hysterically) about what they were told (recently) to care about by their High Priests from their Central Committee.

      It wouldn't surprise me a bit if all this blm bullshit disappears tomorrow, at the request of your cult's consultants, to give way to a new hysterical campaign for "wimmin's right to choose!" or "green new deal!" or "the Russians are coming!" or some other drivel.

    2. Our High Priest from our Central Committee called and said it is time for you to "give way". Hurry please.

  7. Whoa, dear Bob, another editor of your cult's main propaganda organ is gone:

    “Showing Up For Work … Should Not Require Bravery”: Another Times Editor Leaves Under Fire For Opposing Views

    At this rate it'll soon become 100% ideologically sound.

    1. Good riddance to Bari Weiss. She resigned because people didn't agree with her opinions. If you are going to set yourself up as "controversial" you need to expect opposition. I have disliked her since her first editorial and I am glad she is leaving.

      Note -- she wasn't purged. She quit.

    2. From Wikipedia:

      "As a student at Columbia, Weiss founded the Columbia Coalition for Sudan in response to the war in Darfur. She was also a co-founder of Columbians for Academic Freedom. The group said that professors were intimidating students who expressed pro-Israel sentiments in classroom discussions that the professors disagreed with.[6] Weiss said that she felt intimidated in a class by Joseph Massad.[7][6][8] A committee at Columbia charged with investigating these claims concluded that "no evidence of any statements made by the faculty that could reasonably be construed as anti-Semitic."[9] The New York Civil Liberties Union said it was actually Weiss' group, the Columbians for Academic Freedom, who threatened academic freedom at the university, by leveling baseless accusations against Muslim professors and pushing the University to fire critics of Israel.[10][11]"

      And it also says:

      "Weiss has been described as conservative by Haaretz, The Times of Israel, The Daily Dot, and Business Insider.[20][21][22][23] She describes herself as a "left-leaning centrist."[24] According to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, "her writing, which includes criticism of the right and the left, doesn't lend itself easily to labels."[25] According to The Washington Post reporter Avi Selk, Weiss "portrays herself as a liberal uncomfortable with the excesses of left-wing culture."[26] Vanity Fair describes Weiss as "a provocateur" and an "ardent Zionist".[3]"


      I have no problem with her position on Israel, but I find it telling that she used the same tactics at Columbia that she is now decrying at the NY Times.

      She is another person who is claiming to be "liberal centrist" while expressing conservative views. These stealth conservatives tend to sow dissent and confusion among liberals, which is perhaps their intention.

      She appeals to Bill Maher because of her anti-PC views, claiming that PC has taken over liberaldom, and now extending that to the controversy over editing at the NY Times. This view that liberals are too PC, engaged in "cancel culture", imposing orthodoxy on each other, comes from the right, from people like Dinesh d'Souza initially. Other staff at the NY Times are right to complain about Weiss.

    3. "...but I find it telling that she used the same tactics at Columbia that she is now decrying at the NY Times"

      And what is it telling you?

    4. She is a controversy magnet, she thrives on it. Her goal is to attract attention by accusing others of suppressing her views, when she is, in fact, doing the same to her own political targets -- liberals at the NY Times, muslim professors at Columbia. Her resignation is a plot to make herself seem like a victim of liberal culture, when she has chosen to resign. She is behaving like a political operative, not an editor with "liberal centrist" opinions.

    5. Right, dembot, attack the messenger. It doesn't make any difference what she is or isn't. The story is about the goebbelsian NYT.

    6. You asked me why I found it telling, and I told you. Her opinions are being attacked and she is saying "...help, help, I'm being suppressed. Now we see the violence inherent in the system..."

    7. Poetic justice, if you ask me.

      She was bullying and smearing Prof Massad, and then she got the same treatment at the NYT.

      Good, well deserved.

      It doesn't excuse the NYT, though.

    8. Bari Weiss left NY Times to work on a project with Andrew Sullivan who has given notice at New York Magazine, according to Sullivan himself (in a tweet).

    9. Somerby hasn't told his readers that there has been a battle for the heart and sole of the editorial page raging behind the scenes.

      A huge thing going on there and Somerby says nothing, preferring to muse about death rates.

    10. Twitter says Ben Shapiro is joining them too.

    11. Cheap Wino (in comments at Lawyers Guns Money blog) says of Weiss:

      "It's central to her schtick. She's the Jewish liberal who agrees with conservatives about everything. She's set herself up as the Uncle Tom of Jews and made a good living on it. Tucker [Carlson] is exactly the right place for her."

    12. Don Jr. is apparently defending her on Twitter!

    13. And this site is the Internet battle ground against contrarianism that you’re willing to die on.

      Till “seldom is heard a discouraging word and the sky is not clouded all day”.

    14. There is a difference between being a contrarian and being a conservative while calling oneself liberal.

  8. Why is a segment about a one-year-old boy, shot for no reason, considered "better discourse" by Somerby?

  9. This might be the time to point out again that these cable shows cover national events and issues, not local ones, whereas crime is a local issue. Fox covered this shooting, not because of the one-year-old child, but because of the controversy between police and the administration that released prisoners to prevent spread of covid. There is a larger political issues involved.

    MSNBC and CNN most likely had no similar political or other issue to promote using the death of that child, which was sad, a tragedy, but not on their beat. It seems like Somerby is blaming CNN for not politicizing a child's death. Fox does tend to personalize their grievances by presenting individuals who epitomize an issue, like the baker who refused to bake a gay wedding cake, or the electrical workers whose union told them they couldn't help out to restore power after a hurricane. Using people lives that way makes abstract issues more real to their voters. This is the opposite of what Somerby demands with his focus on statistics, so it seems odd that he says he prefers the Fox approach to the death of one-year-old children.

  10. 'On our own tribe's cable channels'

    You mean OANN, which is what your tribe of TRumptards watch as part of Orange Messiah Worship ?


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