One reason why that child's terrified...

TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2020

...and why his mother's so scared:
The New York Times has broken a very big story.

The report involves Nicholas Bils, a 36-year-old man who was mentally ill. He was shot in the back, in broad daylight, while running away from a sheriff's deputy in downtown San Diego.

Bils was shot in the back and killed. Initially, he'd been confronted by park rangers because they saw him practicing his putting in a park which was supposed to be closed.

Bils was shot in the back and killed. This very day, the New York Times has fearlessly broken the story.

Except wait! Bils was shot in the back and killed all the way back on May 1! You haven't heard a word about this, in the New York Times or anywhere else, for a reason which is blindingly obvious and quite significant, but is also perhaps a bit sensitive, mandated storyline-wise.

You haven't heard about this shooting death because the late Nicholas Bils was socially defined as "white." Yes, these "racial" categories—these journalistic groupings—are indeed part of "the world the slaveholders made." But especially in matters involving police shootings, one elementary fact has long been clear:

If the shooting victim is "black," the incident will be covered wall to wall. Routinely, journalists will be so upset about what has occurred that they will start inventing and disappearing facts to make the incident seem more heinous than it would otherwise seem.

By way of contrast, if the victim is "white" (or even, perhaps, Hispanic or Muslim), months will go by before you hear a word about it. Indeed, the chances are good you will never hear about the incident at all.

(This incident is being reported today because the deputy who shot Bils in the back has been charged with murder. News orgs didn't think this matter was worth reporting until this criminal charge came down.)

The basic journalistic practice here is inexcusable. That said, the examples of this selective journalistic treatment are legion. It's part of a pattern which has been especially pronounced even since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in 2012.

(National coverage of that incident began with a glaring factual error by the New York Times.)

The journalism involved in the practice is inexcusable. For today, we want you to think about the way this journalistic behavior has perhaps affected the life of a certain 7-year-old boy.

As we noted yesterday
, that child is "terrified" because of the things his mother has told him. We'll assume his mother has told him those things because she herself is very scared.

Increasingly, news orgs are involved in printing material which heightens the sense that black men are being wantonly hunted down by police. This impression is vastly enhanced when the many incidents in which "white" people are shot and killed by police get swept down the memory hole at orgs like the New York Times.

In part, that 7-year-old is terrified, and his mother is very scared, because they hear only one thing. When the PBS NewsHour discusses the death of Breonna Taylor, all they see is John Yang, and then Judy Woodruff, willingly swallowing this:
YANG (6/16/20): Louisville has banned—in reaction to this, banned no-knock warrants. They called it Breonna's Law. How effective do you think that will be?

RITCHIE: I think it's good that we're stepping back to look at how those police officers came to be at her door and looking to interrupt one of the mechanisms that has resulted in her death and also in the death of—I can name five other black women killed by no-knock warrants, Tarika Wilson, Kathryn Johnston, Alberta Spruill, Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

So, there's many—this is not the first time.
And so I think that stopping no-knock warrants is important, and that we need to recognize that increasing the time that folks have to respond to 15 or 30 seconds or a minute, imagine someone backing on your door in the middle of the night. That's not enough time to understand what's going on either.

So, we need to maybe step further back and ask ourselves, why are people showing up at—police officers, armed police officers, showing up on people's doors to serve no-knock or short-knock warrants?

And I think then we need to look at the war on drugs, which is where those warrants came from and what brought those officers to Breonna's door that night.
No larger context was offered. When people like Woodruff and Yang are prepared to enable a gong-show like that, they're creating a world in which 7-year-olds end up terrified, and their mothers may be suffering under a type of misapprehension.

When we first reported that appalling NewsHour presentation, we also quoted something Jelani Cobb had recently said. Cobb had appeared on MSNBC's The Beat. This is what he'd said:
COBB (6/10/20): One other point that I have been making a lot, I have been making all the time, is that one of the reasons that this problem has been allowed to persist is that people have the perception that this is a black and brown problem.

But if you were to discard all of the incidents involving black and brown people, what you would find is, there are a heck of a lot of white people, unarmed white people, who are killed by police each year.

We have a fundamental problem with policing in this country, whose most extreme violent forms are witnessed in how we see black and brown people treated by law enforcement.
Cobb said lots of white people get shot and killed by police officers too! Almost no one ever says that. Under current rules of the road, we'd say it's barely allowed.

Not long ago, Wesley Lowery got a snootful and The Atlantic let him rip. He focused on police shootings in Minnesota, and on George Floyd's death.

His essay focused on Miski Noor, a Minneapolis activist, who was pictured in a pandemic mask which said, STOP SHOOTING BLACK PEOPLE. Along the way, he quoted Noor saying this:
“These systems were created to hunt, to maim, and to kill black people, and the police have always been an uncontrollable source of violence that terrorizes our communities without accountability,” Noor added. “Black communities have been and are living in persistent fear of being killed by state authorities.”
A certain picture was perhaps created in this way. When we checked at the Fatal Force site, the numbers we found were these:
People shot and killed by police officers in Minnesota, 2015 to present:
White people: 37
Black people: 10
Lowery didn't mention those numbers, even in a long essay.

In an ideal world, that would be 47 people too many. But that 7-year-old boy is terrified because he only hears about the ten, often in ways which substantially distort the circumstances in which they lost their lives.

That child is terrified because of revolutionary figures like Chairman Wes. Also, because of the very brave people at The Atlantic and at the New York Times.

23 comments:

  1. "The basic journalistic practice here is inexcusable"

    What "journalistic practice", dear Bob?

    If you can't distinguish your liberal-hitlerian cult's deliberate hate- and fear-mongering from journalism, what are we doing here anyway?

    Shape up, dear Bob, please, and start describing things as they are.

    ReplyDelete
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  2. "You haven't heard a word about this, in the New York Times or anywhere else..."

    This is obviously untrue.

    This story is back in the news because the officer was charged with second-degree murder. There was also a news report when the Deputy resigned on May 7. The story was covered by the AP and by all of the local stations and papers in San Diego and Los Angeles, back in May.

    What gives the story national currency is not the shooting itself, but the charges against the officer.

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  3. Somerby is cooking the books a little today. He doesn't tell you that Bils was mentally ill, paranoid schizophrenic. White people do get shot, but they are typically either mentally ill or homeless (or both).

    In this case, the officer was charged because he shot Bils in the back while Bils was running away. Bils had been put into the back of the police car and when it stopped at a light, he got out of the handcuffs and reached out the window to open the police car door, got out and ran away. That is when he was shot. Those circumstances are the reason for the charges against the officer, not the fact of the shooting itself.

    If BLM hadn't brought national attention to this issue, this story wouldn't have appeared either. It is because policing has become a national issue that such stories appear, not because of the race of the victims.

    Reporters used to routinely report the race of the criminal when black but not when white, so it appeared to readers that crimes were only being committed by black people. During the 60s, there was an outcry about that, as part of the civil rights movement, and the practice stopped. Now the race is not mentioned at all.

    Somerby doesn't recall reading about white victims of shootings, so he assumes that their stories are not being told. He is aware of the race of a shooting victim, when family and activists make a fuss and bring the race to public attention, as in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, for example. These very salient cases stick in Somerby's memory, while the routine shootings involving white and black people both, do not stick in his mind. He has not gone back and made a systematic count of how many shootings are reported, much less how many are white compared to black.

    But that doesn't keep him from accusing the NY Times of racism, and accusing liberals of not knowing and not caring about white shootings. His sense of grievance is based on assumptions.

    Every time Somerby talks about white shootings, I mention that they ARE reported here in Southern California. He doesn't read his comments, so he keeps saying ignorant things. In this case, he is making an inflammatory, insulting accusation based on wrong information. The worst journalist wouldn't make the kinds of mistakes Somerby has been making nearly every day.

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  4. Somerby is justifiably curious that the national mass media has decided that black Americans should be terrified and should even ponder fleeing the country because cops killed 258 of them in 2018 but they should not be terrified of becoming one of the 7404 blacks killed by civilian murderers that year, 90% of whom were black. He’s also curious as to why the national mass media insists on disappearing the 490 whites that were killed by cops that year. Curiously, only 258 of 8152 killings were deemed worthy of attention by our national media gatekeepers. Doesn't it seem that a lot of lives, black, white, and other don’t matter to our national mass media? Isn't it worth asking why?

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    Replies
    1. "...that the national mass media has decided that black Americans should be terrified..."

      The media didn't decide that, Somerby did. And you are also buying his assertion (without evidence) that the media only care about black killings.

      Shootings like these are a local issue, and they are, without exception, reported in local media. The LA Times reports police shootings and all murders, including white ones. For Somerby, only the NY Times matters. The LA Times is a major newspaper too. I think it is worth asking why Somerby only cares about the East Coast press.

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    2. You must be new here since you do not seem to know that TDH focuses on the national media discourse. The fear story was from NPR. Most people get the big picture from national news outlets and since those sources rarely mention whites killed by cops most people will get the the false impression that they are nonexistent. Questioning why the national news media chooses to disappear that info is something that truth seeking individuals should be doing.

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    3. @G_X:
      Somerby is not seeking the truth.
      He already decided years ago what the “truth” is.

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    4. Within politics, the "truth" is whatever results in the consequences you prefer.

      It is widely known that the WP keeps a database that shows in absolute numbers more whites are killed by cops than blacks. So what? The national news media does not disappear that info, it just isn't pertinent in today's society due to the difference in motivation behind the killings.

      TDH is almost exclusively critical of liberals' consumption of the NYT, CNN, and MSNBC. These outlets are part of the "old media" whose influence has diminished dramatically in recent times, particularly among liberals. TDH has no raison d'etre.

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    5. "The national news media does not disappear that info, it just isn't pertinent in today's society due to the difference in motivation behind the killings."

      You're right, the motivation of the cops is the key factor. And since our goal is to save those yearly 258 black lives, maybe we can learn something about how the cops killed 490 whites and 181 Hispanics in such a just manner and apply those methods and possibly reduce the number of black killings. The national media should tell us how and why those 671 killings were so perfectly executed that not one is worthy of their scrutiny. Since the national media has judged those killings as being beyond question, they should tell us why. How else are we going to reform police behavior if we ignore the good killings and only talk about the bad ones?

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  5. "We'll assume his mother has told him those things because she herself is very scared."

    Why assume that? Why not assume that she wishes to protect her child from the over-reaction of police officers during innocent traffic and other stops, to teach him how to behave during police harassment (which tends to be aimed more at black men and boys than at women). Why not assume that this mother knows the reality for black people where she lives, that she has a realistic picture of what life is like for black people, and that she is teaching her child how to survive such encounters.

    Does Somerby ever consider that black people have first-hand experience with police and get their information from that, not from NY Times reports?

    Many black people are afraid of (or dislike) dogs. That is partly because dogs are trained to be guard dogs (to growl and bite) and not as pets in black neighborhoods. It is partly because dogs are used for dog fighting by some people, so pit bulls and aggressive dogs are more prevalent. But it is also because police use dogs to sniff drugs and other contraband, and to hunt down suspects, so dogs are associated with police threats. None of this appears in any newspaper, so if black people have such a fear, it didn't come from the media. Am I saying that ALL black people fear or dislike dogs? Of course not, but I am saying that fears can come from living in a different environment and having different experiences than may be familiar to Somerby. His view that black people acquire irrational fears from reading the paper is ridiculous and insulting.

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  6. "That child is terrified because of revolutionary figures like Chairman Wes. "

    If a 7 year old is reading Wes Lowery, he is very precocious. Gifted kids do often become anxious (Somerby says terrified but that word is an exaggeration) about the things they read about. They worry about climate change and world hunger and violence of all kinds and it is not unusual for them to have ulcers over such things. Part of teaching gifted kids is helping them cope with the adult-sized issues most other children do not think about, much less obsess over. But most kids are not reading Wes Lowery. If a parent has "the talk" with a child, it is not in terms intended to terrorize them, but to protect them by teaching them how to behave and what to expect.

    I have met college students who were terrorized over catching STDs, especially AIDS. Sometimes protection goes too far and a sensitive child or teen will be fearful. That isn't a bad thing, if it keeps them safe. But counseling can help allay such fears. It isn't the end of the world if they are frightened and as a result engage in safe sex.

    Somerby is framing this as a form of child abuse, as if it is worse for a child to be scared than for a child to be shot, as Tamir Rice was for nothing more than playing with a toy gun in a park.

    Telling black people to stop scaring their kids is a low kind of response for a white guy like Somerby to resort to. It is the kind of thing I'd expect to hear from Rush Limbaugh, not a man pretending to be liberal. It makes me angry that he is using black people's kids against them, to tell them to sit down and shut up, Wes Lowery included.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'It is the kind of thing I'd expect to hear from Rush Limbaugh, not a man pretending to be liberal.'

      Limbaugh is better than TDH in one way -- he doesn't even pretend to be a liberal. Somerby claims to be a liberal, but in reality is a malevolent Trumptard who se main goal in life seems to be to re-elect DJT.

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  7. Hundreds of American people are dying every day because of Trump's incompetent leadership.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Somerby seems to be determined to ensure that policemen and stand-your-grounders like Zimmerman can kill AAs and get away with it.

    ReplyDelete
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  10. This is why the adults are terrified:

    "In the middle of a massive pandemic seems the perfect time to revise the format in which states share information, reroute that information so it bypasses the CDC, and employ the National Guard to make sure that individual hospitals are entering the data “right.” If the latest White House scheme looks like a blatant effort to “solve” the pandemic by simply changing the data … well, yes. It does. With Donald Trump claiming that increases in cases are due to testing—please ignore the filling hospitals and growing deaths—putting the numbers in the hands of the White House is an invitation to turn the basic information of the crisis into the basis of propaganda."

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  11. Somerby reminds us that white people are dying at police hands, not just black people. Trump does the same:

    "“So are white people. So are white people. What a terrible question to ask,” Trump told Herridge when asked why Black Americans were still dying at the hands of police. “So are white people. More white people, by the way. More white people.”

    ReplyDelete
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