SKILL VERSUS STORYLINE: Two fleeing men were shot by police!


Herridge inquired about one:
Catherine Herridge, an experienced journalist, asked a question of Donald J. Trump during a lengthy interview for CBS News.

Herridge seems like a throughly decent person, but her question sounded a bit peculiar. It went exactly like this:
HERRIDGE (7/14/20): Let's talk about George Floyd. You said George Floyd's death was a terrible thing.

TRUMP: Terrible.

HERRIDGE: Why are African-Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country?
To our ear—but also to Donald J. Trump's—that question sounded peculiar. Before we show you what Trump said, we'll further explain why that question sounded peculiar to us.

Herridge wanted to know why African-Americans are still dying at the hands of law enforcement. As we noted yesterday, the question seemed rather odd to us because large numbers of other people "still die at the hands of" police.

Many "white" people "still die at the hands of" police. So do many Hispanics. Herridge's question made it sound like she only cared about one group.

What did Herridge have in mind when she asked that question? What might she have been trying to suggest? Upon full reflection what was she asking about?

Before the week is done, we'll show you what Herridge asked Trump in her one follow-up question on this important topic. Today, before we show you any of that, we're going to cite two recent events—only one of which Herridge seemed to care about.

We'll start with the late Rayshard Brooks, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Atlanta on June 12. Brooks was fleeing from two police officers at the time. In a rather typical type of recitation, Ali Velshi described the incident in a sreamlined way last week.

Velshi was guest-hosting for Lawrence O'Donnell. He was speaking with Al Sharpton:
VELSHI (7/17/20): Rev, in Minneapolis today, the city council declared racism a public health emergency. Now for some people, they'd say, "How does that square?" But actually, for a lot of black Americans, that's kind of how they see it. Like, it is actually hazardous to your health, as we saw with Rayshard Brooks, to be pulled over in a car in a Wendy's parking lot.
That was Velshi's full description of the event he cited. Brooks had been "pulled over in a car in a Wendy's parking lot." In a way which wasn't described, this innocuous event had turned out to be "hazardous to his health."

So it has gone, for the past eight years, as major journalists have sanitized accounts of iconic events. We'll review other, more striking examples of sanitization in the next week or two.

Before Brooks was shot and killed by that one officer, he had punched a different officer; had stolen that officer's Taser; and had turned and fired, or attempted to fire, the Taser at the officer who then proceeded to shoot him.

At some point, a jury will decide if that officer's conduct was justifiable under law. But in this case, a man who was fleeing was shot and killed—and the unfortunate incident became famous nationwide.

In Herridge's question to Trump, she was asking about the shooting death of the late Rayshard Brooks. She wasn't inquiring about the May 1 shooting death of Nicholas Bils, whose name she quite possibly had never heard.

Bils was also shot and killed while fleeing from police. On July 13, the New York Times finally reported the event, though its news report wasn't considered important enough to appear in print editions.

Bils was shot and killed in San Diego all the way back on May 1. According to the Times report, this is the way it happened:
GROSS (7/13/20): The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged a sheriff’s deputy with second-degree murder in the killing of an unarmed man in May—a rare instance of criminal charges being brought against an officer for actions on the job.

The deputy, Aaron Russell, 23, is accused of shooting Nicholas Bils, 36, while Mr. Bils was running from officers
after escaping from a California park ranger’s car on May 1.


Eugene Iredale, a lawyer for Kathleen Bils, Mr. Bils’s mother, said that Mr. Bils had been mentally ill and had a lifelong fear of police.

Mr. Bils was putting golf balls at a San Diego park in a game of fetch with his dog when park rangers approached him and told him that his dog could not be off the leash and that the park was closed because of the coronavirus, Mr. Iredale said.

Park rangers told Ms. Bils, 66, that her son had swung a golf club at rangers and then fled, her lawyers said. The rangers caught him about a mile away and arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon. While he was in their vehicle on the way to a county jail, he reached through an open window, unlocked the car door and ran, the lawyers said.

When he fled, Mr. Russell, who was carrying a lunch tote and a water bottle in his left hand, shot at Mr. Bils five times with a gun in his right hand, according to a court document. Four of the shots hit Mr. Bils, including one that struck him in the back, the family lawyers said. They believe that was the fatal shot.

“The decedent was running away,” Mr. Iredale said. “He made no assault on the officer who killed him.”
No other officers in the area drew a weapon, he added.
We can't vouch for the perfect accuracy of any part of that account. That said, the sheriff's deputy who shot Bils has been charged with murder.

Initially, Bils had been approached because he was playing a game of fetch with his dog in a park. Allegedly, he assaulted the park rangers who approached him—though in this case, the weapon he used was a golf club rather than a Taser.

(Woody Guthrie: "Some rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen.")

Reportedly, Bils had a history of mental illness. In an echo of a different, highly publicized case, it's reported that he had a lifelong fear of police.

It seems that Bils resisted arrest, as several others have done. At the point where he finally fled from law enforcement, he assaulted no one—but a sheriff's deputy shot and killed him.

Allegedly, one of the five shots fired at Bils struck him in the back.

Bils was shot and killed all the way back on May 1. Except in San Diego, the event produced no interest.

The New York Times published its report on July 13. One day later, Herridge interviewed Donald J. Trump and asked him why African-Americans still die at the hands of police.

In her question, Herridge was asking about the shooting death of the fleeing Brooks.

She wasn't asking about the shooting death of the fleeing Bils—though, in fairness, there's a very good chance that she'd never heard of Bils.

Velshi offered his streamlined account of the Atlanta shooting death last Friday night. He didn't mention the San Diego shooting death.

Right before Velshi made the statement we've posted, we're going to say that Velshi's guest may have done the right thing.

We've long admire Reverend Sharpton for his intelligence, but also for his superb sense of humor. He wasn't joking around this night—but on this night, in our view, he may have said the right thing:
SHARPTON: ...The real question you have to ask yourself is, why are whites or blacks being killed unjustifiably by police?...[President Trump] shows no concern about the accountability of why police are killing anyone if it is not justified.
Did Reverend Sharpton say the right thing? Having asked that question, we make this request:

Spend several years at one of the finest schools pretending to study your Kant. After you've landed an upper-end job, get back to us on that!

Tomorrow: Donald J. Trump's reply

Concerning Sharpton and Velshi: To watch part of Sharpton's segment with Velshi, you can just click here.

At present, no transcript has been posted. It's beginning to look like The One True Channel has decided to abandon this practice.

As we type, no transcripts have appeared since Monday, July 13. The channel may be doing this for the obvious reasons.


  1. From Daily Kos:

    "In 1961, Gallup polling showed overwhelming public disapproval of the Freedom Riders and of sit-ins and other forms of civil rights activism. Lewis was one of the original 13 Freedom Riders taking buses across state lines into the segregated South to force the federal government to enforce Supreme Court decisions against segregation. Just 22% of people in the Gallup poll supported the Freedom Riders, while 61% disapproved. A large majority of people also said “’sit-ins’ at lunch counters, ‘freedom buses’ and other demonstrations” would hurt the cause of integration."

    1. They were nonviolent protesters who were literally putting their lives on the line.

    2. And there were fine people on both sides 3/7/65 at the Edmund Pettus bridge, those whose skulls were cracked, and those doing the cracking.

      Am so happy to testify about a great spell caster that helped me when all hope was lost for me to unite with my ex-girlfriend that I love so much. I had a girlfriend that love me so much but something terrible happen to our relationship one afternoon when her friend that was always trying to get to me was trying to force me to make love to her just because she was been jealous of her friend that i was dating and on the scene my girlfriend just walk in and she thought we had something special doing together, i tried to explain things to her that her friend always do this whenever she is not with me and i always refuse her but i never told her because i did not want the both of them to be enemies to each other but she never believed me. She broke up with me and I tried times without numbers to make her believe me but she never believed me until one day i heard about the DR. EMU and I emailed him and he replied to me so kindly and helped me get back my lovely relationship that was already gone for two months.
      Email him at:
      Call or Whats-app him: +2347012841542

    4. You said that. Not me or anyone else.

    5. Hello Tucker Conrad-

      I have interest in spell caster. Girl friend say that she leave me if I not able to make her happy in physical. She say other man have more physical than me. Please make me more physical with spell. I will lift the weights too. With more physical I win girl friend.

      Thank you

    6. @cecelia:
      No one said you said that. Your defensiveness is noted.

      The point 10:15 was making is that a majority of the public disapproved of the protesters, as if they brought about the violence themselves by having the audacity to protest publicly. The violence against the marchers was staged by the police in order to discredit the movement precisely by making it look as if violence was the result of their protests. You can draw parallels with today’s protests if you are so inclined.

    7. Anonymouse 1:20pm, the violence wasn’t staged.

      It was both reflexive and plotted by public officials and members of the public.

      The jeering and the violence were excused by people who did not need to be convinced that it was necessary, and who were perfectly willing to excuse it because the protesters “did not know their place”, “were low-class Yankees trying to start trouble”, “were Jews being paid by Russia in order to subvert the country”.

    8. @10:28, 12:30 & 1:52:

      drip, drip, drip, ....

    9. Sounds like you need an adult diaper.

  2. "To our ear—but also to Donald J. Trump's—that question sounded peculiar."

    It seems likely that everything normal people do and say seems peculiar to Donald Trump. He doesn't parse things the way normal people do.

    If Somerby is claiming an affinity with Trump over this oddness, he needs to think about what may be wrong with his own understanding, not blame Herridge and the rest of us, the larger majority who know what civil rights is about.

  3. "Herridge's question made it sound like she only cared about one group."

    Somerby makes this kind of mistake all the time. If Herridge asked a question about the space program, that doesn't wouldn't mean she doesn't care about education. If she asks about farm subsidies, that doesn't mean she doesn't care about organized sports. See how this works?

    1. Here is another example:

      "we're going to cite two recent events—only one of which Herridge seemed to care about"

      Asking about one thing doesn't mean you don't care about the other.

    2. This observation about Somerby's tendency to generalize is accurate, I believe. Although I think Somerby has a valid point about the "priorities" journalists reveal when they emphasize one issue and set aside others, I do think he's leaving his readers on the sideline because of the shorthand he uses to write this blog, as if he assumes every reader remembers all the times he's made this point before -- some do, not all -- and so when he hangs the abbreviated version of "journalists don't care/we don't care" around Herridge's neck, doing so comes across as unmerited.

  4. "Upon full reflection what was she asking about?"

    It doesn't matter, since Trump had no intention of answering her question anyway.

  5. "So it has gone, for the past eight years, as major journalists have sanitized accounts of iconic events."

    I would agree that Velshi summarized the event, but that is not equivalent to "sanitizing" it.

    Does Somerby not understand that time is limited on a TV show and that events get summarized, collapsed, paraphrased, and described in shorthand because of those limitations, not because Velshi or anyone else is trying to hide critical details from the public.

    Somerby uses those details to exonerate and defend cops and other authorities. He thinks that because Brooks was found sleeping in the drive through lane of Wendy's, not "pulled over", that makes a difference in his shooting, one that makes it more justifiable (else why make a big fuss). For all Somerby knows, every interaction between a police officer and a driver of a car may be termed a "stop" or being "pulled over", regardless of exact circumstances. A jaywalker might be a traffic stop for record-keeping purposes. But why should Velshi have to go through the details of every case he mentions in a time-limited broadcast?

    1. May I paraphrase: "Does [anon @10:30] not understand that time [space] is limited [in a daily blog] and that events get summarized, collapsed, paraphrased, and described in shorthand because of those limitations, not because [Somerby] or anyone else is trying to hide critical details . . . "

      Your observation/criticism has validity, but then so do Somerby's observations/criticisms. He wishes mainstream journalism could transcend its limitations, and you wish Somerby could transcend his.

    2. 11:46
      How is space limited in a blog?

      What time constraints is Somerby faced with?

    3. Somerby's limitations are seeing things through a Right-wing lens, not time.

    4. anon @ 12:01

      Good questions. In one sense neither space nor time are limited on a blog any more than they are limited on cable TV. In theory MSNBC or Fox could broadcast 24-7 on a single story, going into forensic detail hour after hour, but of course they don't for all sorts of reasons. TDH could also provide entries that are 50 times longer than they now are, and if Somerby did indeed having a sprawling campus and a staff of young workers who sleep on site, then we might justly ask for more depth in his treatment and more research, etc. But Somerby is, like most bloggers, pretty much a one-man show, and it seems to me he's writing just about as fast as he can without taking very man days off. At times over the course of my life I've tried my damnedest to be a productive writer, also an accurate writer, a thoughtful one, without at the same time losing my audience. It's just about the hardest work there is without getting one's hands dirty. So, realistically speaking, there ARE limits on Somerby's time and space.

    5. If Somerby experiences the same limitations as journalists, you'd think he would have more empathy for the difficulties involved.

    6. 12:43
      Somerby could write fewer, more in-depth and less repetitive blog posts. The only person who determines the manic pace of his output is Somerby, unless you are suggesting he is being paid to do his “work.”

      It is also a question whether Somerby has managed to maintain an audience with his writing, or who his intended audience is.

    7. I don't see how Somerby makes money doing TDH. I guess there used to be a donation button somewhere. So, given that no one is paying him, the limitation of having a paymaster is off the table. It seems to me that's where his "empathy" for journalists falls short, when they seem to him to be serving their paymasters first, their guild and the "story line," as he calls it, and not objective facts. A lot of commenters here accuse him of being a phony, little more than a troll, less concerned about objective facts than striking a pose -- I think that's overstated, but to each his own.

      It's true that he sets the pace. I don't see the pace as "manic," but I guess it could seem like that to others. Where I see him cutting corners to cope with the level of output he's set for himself is his repetition, pat phrasing, use of shortcuts and shorthand, and embarrassing typos. Yes, he could write fewer entries. For some reason he doesn't choose to do that. I wonder if he fears that he'll just stop if he slows down, paces himself. In this way he's a little like a daily comic strip artist, churning out short pieces every day, not devoting himself to the long form.

      But one thing seems to justify the pace he keeps -- the urgency of the situation in which we find ourselves, the breakdown in discourse, the destruction of norms of governance and social order. I mean, is there anyone who things everything's just swell and we should all cool our jets? Pinker maybe. Time will tell who's right about that one.

    8. 1:15
      Apparently, the only issue of any urgency to Somerby right now is the talk about racism. If you feel that that is the most urgent media topic, then you are at the right blog. Although, Somerby is of course only interested in how the msm talks about it. But we all knew that.

    9. Are you sure racism is "the only topic of any urgency for Somerby"? He talks a lot about the Covid death and case rates, how Trump and others can spin the stats (which goes back to his concern about the state of public discourse); he talks a lot about Trump's buffoonery, blow-hard braggadocio, and poor command of the facts and poor "reporting" skills, leading to his conclusion that Trump is unfit for office (and he critiques what he sees as the media's short-sighted take on all the above and the ways in which they give Trump a pass or play into his game). Those are just two topics he has going right now, and he can go back to public education on a regular basis (especially how media gloss over statistics). Now you can find all that wrongheaded, boring, ineffectual, etc. But that doesn't mean he's not talking about these things in addition to racism.

    10. He doesn't talk about liberal topics -- he finds a way to fit Republican talking points into general rants about journalists or Wittgenstein (or Malala).

    11. What are "liberal topics"?

    12. abuse of immigrants and asylum seekers at the border
      poverty and income inequality
      women's health and domestic violence
      climate change, conservation, species diversity
      protection of wildlife, wildlands, clean air & water
      living wage or guaranteed income
      health care for all
      civil rights (voting rights, policing and abuses of rights)
      jobs, right to organize in unions, equal pay
      support for a fair census, opposing gerrymandering
      access to equal, high quality education for all kids

      you should be getting the idea... not listed in any priority, other topics omitted by accident

    13. There's only one liberal topic, dear dembot: Orange Man Bad.

      And our dear host addresses it all the time.

    14. Except he doesn't say that. He says "Orange Man Sad" and suggests that we pity him. That's another reason why he is no liberal.

    15. Democrats abandoned unions and the working class. Ie. they delivered Trump as president on a silver platter.

    16. Democrats passed and still support the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Ie. they delivered Trump as president on a silver platter.

      Fixed it for you.

  6. "Spend several years at one of the finest schools pretending to study your Kant. "

    Is this what Somerby did?

  7. Somerby has almost never mentioned the discussion about global warming in the media.

    He never examines abortion as a media topic.

    By his own reasoning, we can conclude that he doesn’t care about those issues and how they’re treated by the media.

  8. "[President Trump] shows no concern about the accountability of why police are killing anyone if it is not justified."

    You say 'intelligence', dear Bob, but sorry, this rant doesn't seem intelligent at all.

    What does the head of the federal executive branch have to do with mistakes of local police? Why, absolutely nothing of course. Not federal jurisdiction.

    Local - and, incidentally, always zombie cult controlled - police departments, mayors, and city councils should worry about these things.

    Tell it to your friend Al, dear Bob.

    1. God -- so boring.

    2. Thank you for reading and responding, dear dembot.

  9. Am Laura Mildred by name, i was diagnosed with Herpes 4 years ago i lived in pain with the knowledge that i wasn't going to ever be well again i contacted so many herbal doctors on this issue and wasted a large sum of money but my condition never got better i was determined to get my life back so one day i saw Mr. Morrison Hansen post on how Dr. Emu saved him from Herpes with herbal medicine i contacted Dr. Emu on his Email: we spoke on the issue i told him all that i went through and he told me not to worry that everything will be fine again so he prepared the medicine and send it to me and told me how to use it, after 14 days of usage I went to see the doctor for test,then the result was negative, am the happiest woman on earth now thanks to Dr. Emu God bless you. Email him at: Call or Whats-app him: +2347012841542 


  10. LOTTO, lottery,jackpot.
    Hello all my viewers, I am very happy for sharing this great testimonies,The best thing that has ever happened in my life is how I win the lottery euro million mega jackpot. I am a Woman who believe that one day I will win the lottery. finally my dreams came through when I email and tell him I need the lottery numbers. I have spend so much money on ticket just to make sure I win. But I never know that winning was so easy until the day I meant the spell caster online which so many people has talked about that he is very great in casting lottery spell, . so I decide to give it a try.I contacted this great Dr Believe and he did a spell and he gave me the winning lottery numbers. But believe me when the draws were out I was among winners. I win 30,000 million Dollar. Dr Believe truly you are the best, all thanks to you forever