THURSDAY, MARCH 11, 2021
Resisting arrest, Black Lives Matter: To what extent are our "cable news" channels turning into competing regions of the dimwitted principality known as Dogmastan?
Last night, we watched more of the ugly, remarkably selective work in which Tucker Carlson often traffics. Today, though, we want to focus on two recent presentations over on CNN.
Can you believe the things you hear on that devolving channel? In all honesty, no—you can't. Let's start with something Randi Kaye said to Anderson Cooper this past Monday night.
Kaye was delivering a report about the upcoming trial of Derek Chauvin. As she reviewed the events of the day George Floyd died, she made a very odd statement:
KAYE (3/8/21): Police officers had responded to a call about someone passing a fake $20 bill and found 46-year-old George Floyd sitting in his car. Police would later say he physically resisted arrest. Those surveillance video from a nearby restaurant appears to contradict police claims.
Prosecutors say Floyd told police he was claustrophobic as they tried to put him in the police car. Soon, Floyd is on the ground, handcuffed with an officer's knee forcing his face into the pavement.
Just so you know—police officers are almost always said to be lying in this region of Dogmastan.
In Kaye's account, the police had said that George Floyd had resisted arrest. She then played a very brief bit of videotape in which no such behavior was occurring.
According to Kaye, this brief snatch of surveillance video "appears to contradict" those claims. The police had been lying again! It's often that way in Our Town.
It's astounding to think that Kaye would go on TV at this point and revisit this bungled old claim. By now, everyone from Derek Chauvin's prosecutors on down has explicitly acknowledged the fact that George Floyd, for whatever (deeply unfortunate) reason, did in fact resist arrest and struggle with the first two officers on the scene—with a pair of rookie cops.
This fact became abundantly clear when extensive bodycam footage was released several months after the fatal incident. By our lights, the fact that Floyd resisted and struggled has no particular relevance to the question of Chauvin's subsequent conduct, but it's completely silly to keep claiming, or to suggest, that Floyd didn't resist at all—to keep suggesting that the rookie cops were lying about that, as Those People always do.
How silly is it to say, at this time, that Floyd never resisted? Later in that very same segment, Antonio Romanucci, the Floyd family's lawyer, said this to Cooper:
ROMANUCCI: If we freeze-frame George on May 25, 2020, in that police encounter, we know that he was unarmed. He wasn't violent. Once he was handcuffed, he wasn't resisting any more. What else is there? There isn't much else there.
After he was handcuffed, he "wasn't resisting any more?" That too strikes us as a bit of stretch, but even the Floyd family's lawyer doesn't claim that the late George Floyd never resisted at all.
In the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death, CNN jumped the gun with the claim that Floyd hadn't resisted. That inaccurate claim was based on a very small initial snatch of tape.
A few months later, the fuller picture emerged. A full year later, Randi Kaye is still going on the air and presenting the pleasing old story.
That's the sort of thing which happens when "cable news" begins to turn into dueling versions of Mandated High Dogmatics. Last night, we saw Chris Cuomo and Dana Bash playing a similar game.
Earlier in the day, Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wisc.) had made an unflattering comment about Black Lives Matter. Before beginning to fume and rage, Cuomo played this weirdly truncated snatch of tape:
GROTHMAN: Black Lives Matter had in this last election. I know it's a group that it doesn't like the old-fashioned family. I'm disturbed that we have another program here, in which we're increasing the marriage penalty.
Cuomo began to fume and rage about what Grothman had said. Obviously, it was racist. Joining in, Bash seemed to say she "had no idea" what Grothman was talking about,
If that's what Bash actually meant to say, we find her claim hard to believe. Cuomo continued to rip and snort, eventually offering this:
CUOMO (3/10/21): Two members of that party—one comes out and says that giving voting rights to everybody, and making sure those votes are counted, is the devil's work. Another guy comes out and says that Black Lives Matter, which is just a euphemism for Black people, don't like our idea of family.
No one says anything to shut any or either of them down. That's where we are.
According to Cuomo, Grothman was speaking about black people in general when he made his remark about Black Lives Matter. He'd been sliming black people in general. "That's where we are," Cuomo angrily said.
Except, in fairness, that probably isn't what Grothman was saying. Whatever one thinks of Grothman's remark, a widely-discussed, long-standing context seemed to surround what he said.
Duh! For several years, Black Lives Matter included a plank on its "Things We Believe" page in which the org said this:
"We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another, especially our children, to the degree that mothers, parents, and children are comfortable."
As everyone in the news business surely knows, that (somewhat fuzzy) plank had been endlessly criticized by conservatives. The criticisms often substituted heat for light, but the criticisms didn't come out of nowhere—and these criticisms were aimed at BLM and its allegedly Marxist leadership, not at black people in general.
(What made BLM's leadership allegedly Marxist? At one point, one of the org's three cofounders said that she and one other cofounder were "trained Marxists.")
At some point, BLM apparently decided that it was being harmed by the criticism of the "nuclear family" plank. Last September, it removed the fuzzily-worded plank from its site without offering an explanation.
At Fox News, they've heard about this. At CNN, they haven't heard—or they're just playing it dumb.
That fuzzy plank no longer exists, but the history of this fairly stupid discussion does. Unless you live in Left Dogmastan, where the corporate hirelings will only tell you the things you want to hear, much as they do on Fox.
Grothman was mouthing off in a way we'd regard as basically dumb. Cuomo and Bash then came along and topped him, with help from Natasha Alford.
Two nights earlier, Kaye had the rookie cops lying again. Increasingly, this is the way the game is played in various failing regions of war-torn Dogmastan.
Carlson was a disordered disgrace on Fox last night. But all of this is very much the way our discourse is going.
Dogmatics are good for corporate profits; they also dumb everyone down. Did you see our report this morning'? This is the way the wind blows.
According to major experts: According to major experts, your lizard will say that The Others are worse. In our view, that's hard to measure, but go ahead and ask yourself this:
In what way would that be the point?