THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2020
But then, so does everyone else: Last night, right at 8 P.M. Eastern, Tucker Carlson got it amazingly wrong.
He got it just about as wrong as a top TV journalist possibly could. In fairness, everyone else was also getting it wrong. But Carlson really did.
He was describing the late-night raid in which Breonna Taylor was shot and killed. Piously claiming to offer "the facts," he started as shown below.
First, the account you're about to read is full of misinformation. Also, in highly annoying Euro fashion, Tucker always states a person's name by saying what that person is "called:"
CARLSON (9/23/20): In March, three Louisville police officers served a search warrant at the apartment of a woman called Breonna Taylor. They knocked outside. They announced they were from the police department, and then they entered the apartment.
Once they did, a man called Kenneth Walker opened fire on them. Walker was Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend. He was also supposedly a drug dealer. That's one of the reasons the police were there.
Walker admits that he fired first and that he shot a police officer. In response, the cops fired back.
By the time, Kenneth Walker surrendered, Breonna Taylor, who was in another room in the apartment, had been fatally wounded.
Those are the facts of the case. It's a very sad story nobody disputes that. Awful things sometimes happen, despite the best efforts of everyone involved to prevent them from happening. That's the truth.
"Those are the facts of the case." So the top TV star said!
Amazingly, the program was less than two minutes old by the time all those things had been said. In fairness, everyone else was getting it wrong about yesterday's grand jury decisions, generally in preapproved mandated tribal fashion.
But it's hard to get basic facts more wrong than the perpetually irate Carlson did.
How many things did Carlson get wrong? Most amazingly, he said that Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, "was supposedly a drug dealer. That's one of the reasons the police were there."
Truly, that was astounding. Stating the obvious, any journalist who had spent ten seconds reviewing the facts of this matter would have known two basic facts about Kenneth Walker.
Any such journalist would have known that Walker wasn't suspected, by anyone, of being a drug dealer. He also would have known that Walker wasn't any part of the reason why the police were there.
An actual drug dealer actually was a key part of this case. That drug dealer was the reason why the police were at Taylor's apartment that night.
That much is plainly true. But the drug dealer wasn't Kenneth Walker, and Kenneth Walker wasn't and isn't a drug dealer. Nor was Walker any part of the reason why the police were there.
Carlson's account of "the facts of the case" was imperfect in a wide range of other ways. By the time his program was two minutes old, he had made an amazing array of false or misleading statements:
It isn't clear that the police officers announced themselves in any significant way that night. (For the record, they had a search warrant which didn't require them to do so.)
Beyond that, it certainly isn't clear that the officers did everything they could tp prevent bad things from happening. Just yesterday, one of the officers was indicted on a felony charge of "wanton endangerment" for his reckless behavior that night.
Was Taylor "in another room" when she was fatally wounded? It doesn't matter in any obvious way, but the New York Times' August 31 front-page report on this matter seems to say that Walker and Taylor were together in the apartment's hallway when the fatal shots were fired.
Had Carlson ever spent ten seconds reviewing the facts of this case? It seemed quite clear that he had not—and then came his "correction!"
Late in his program, Carlson offered an astounding "non-correction correction" of his early, astounding misstatement concerning Kenneth Walker. Amazingly, incredibly, the angry star now said this:
CARLSON: We made a mistake at the top of the show and we want to correct it as we always do. We flipped the names around of a couple of people inadvertently. We said police believed Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend was a drug dealer—he might have been. We meant to say her ex-boyfriend, a man called Jamarcus Glover. We wanted to correct that. Sorry.
Amazing! Even as he "corrected" his astounding misstatement, Tucker slimed Walker again!
Walker might have been a drug dealer, the perpetually angry TV star gratuitously said. One thinks of Joseph Welch chastising Joe McCarthy:
At long last, have you no shame?
In fact, no one has ever said or suggested that Walker is, or ever was, a drug dealer. Rather, no one had said or suggested that until Carlson did last night.
First he said it, then he suggested it! On a simple journalistic basis, it's clear that Carlson had no idea what he was talking about.
In the past few months, we've recommended watching Carlson's show for the videotapes you'll see. We've warned you that you'll have to tolerate the angry star's overwrought crazy rants.
That said, Carlson rarely engages in bald misstatement of the type he delivered last night. Instead, he features paranoid conspiracy claims in which he offers wild accounts of what everyone's motives are.
(If the people in question are Democrats, they want to have complete control over every part of your life. Such is the virus he spreads.)
Last night, Tucker got it amazingly wrong as he discussed this widely-discussed, extremely high-profile case. In fairness, everyone else was getting it wrong around the cable dial.
Extremely poorly reasoned complaints were being offered on our "liberal" channels. As usual, everyone was upset that the grand jury hadn't agreed to lock all three officers up.
With what crime would two of these people be charged? That was completely unclear. As usual, though, everyone was Saying The Exact Same Things. Our stars were all working from script.
In the previous days, we'd have to say that New York magazine had also gotten it wrong. They'd done so through a long, now updated account of Taylor's death written by Bridget Read.
What seems so odd about Read's account? Read offers a journalistic overview of "what we know" about the events of that night. We're not sure we've ever seen an overview of that type which relies so heavily on unverified claims in a major lawsuit brought by a victim's family.
Standard tribal scripts emerged in the process. In its present form, Read's second paragraph says this:
READ (9/23/20): Taylor was shot eight times by law enforcement. According to a lawsuit filed by her family, her killing was the result of a botched drug-warrant execution. No drugs were found; the warrant in question targeted another person, who lived miles away and had already been detained by the time police entered Taylor’s home.
We're not sure why Read says the warrant "targeted" someone else.
For reasons explained in detail by the New York Times in its lengthy report, Louisville police, rightly or wrongly, suspected Taylor of being part of her ex-boyfriend's drug business.
As explained in some detail by the Times, police were raiding Glover and Taylor on the same night as a result of that suspicion.
Yesterday, the snark was widely delivered on cable. Police had already arrested the actual target when they raided Taylor's apartment! This snark was presented as further evidence of the way the Keystone Cops had bungled things when they staged their dangerous, post-midnight raid.
Raids like that are very dangerous, but the snark doesn't seem to make much sense. That said, the claim is tribally pleasing—and vast amounts of what we now read and hear come from the pleasing realm of Storyline and Narrative, from Memorized Pleasing Group Script.
In her front-page report in the Times, Rukmini Callimachi had described a long set of reasons explaining why police had come to be suspicious of Taylor. Read's lengthy report in New York magazine fails to mention the vast bulk of that apparent evidence, on the basis of which a (female) judge had apporoved a no-knock warrant.
So it goes in this brave new era as our nation slides toward the sea. Each tribe has its array of pleasing, oversimplified tales, with armies paid to repeat them.
It would be hard to misstate a set of events any more egregiously than Carlson did last night. His initial account was stunningly wrong. His "correction" made matters much worse.
("We always do," Carlson said.)
By that time, tribal warriors had already gone to work presenting our tribe's scripted grievance about the grand jury's decisions. As usual, our tribunes were working from the immortal realm in which it's verdict first, rationale perhaps/maybe later.
The previous night, Lester Holt and Brian Williams sleepwalked through an astoundingly lazy report about a startling forecast of virus deaths to come. Yesterday, the tribal spinning started fast after one officer was charged with a crime—one officer, not all three.
What actually happened in Louisville on that fateful night? What kinds of lessons and reforms might sensibly emerge from this deadly event?
Yesterday afternoon, our tribe got busy spinning; Carlson then managed to top them. Are we up to the task of governing ourselves at this extremely late date as our nation slides toward the sea?
Lester and Brian were soundly asleep. Everyone else is on fire.
Tomorrow: Silent on how Trump got where he is, plus the commissar