FRIDAY, MARCH 19, 2021
The New York Times saw it was good: This past Tuesday, Robert Long, age 21, shot nine people, eight of whom died.
We can't tell you why he did that. At the very least, it would seem that Long was badly disturbed.
(Reportedly, he had been a customer at the massage parlors where he committed these killings. Reportedly, he had been tormented by something he regarded as a sex addiction. Reportedly, he had sought treatment at two different residential addiction treatment centers. Reportedly, his parents had kicked him out of their house the night before.)
We can't tell you why this person did what he did. Luckily, others can. For starters, we were stunned by Erin Burnett's behavior last night on CNN:
BURNETT (3/18/21): And I want to go straight now to Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu, who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan when he was three years old. He was also inside that hearing today where Congressman Chip Roy made those comments that I played earlier.
Congressman Lieu, I appreciate your time. So let's just start with this. No matter what this wasn't, we know what it was. It was a hate crime. It was done out of incredible hate. Do you think it should be handled and charged as such?
LIEU: Thank you, Erin, for your question.
The investigation had barely started. Erin Burnett already seemed to know what its legal assessment should be.
We didn't watch Anderson Cooper. Later, the nose-diving Cuomo was worse:
CUOMO (3/18/21): Georgia has become a crucible, from the election, now with these animus-driven murders. I don't care what the suspect says. I don't know how you divorce them from the choice of victims that he made, especially with the newest details about how personal the murders were.
Cuomo doesn't care what the suspect says. Apparently, he also doesn't care what the FBI director has said, or what the suspect's roommate at one treatment center has said.
Cuomo didn't mention those statements. He didn't mention the fact that Long has apparently been a customer at the spas where he conducted the killings.
He didn't care about such information. On CNN, people like Cuomo have begun to cast themselves in the role of all-around seers.
Later last night, we were stunned by what we saw the Washington Post's Carol Leonnig say on Brian Williams' show. She ended up saying that the incident "doesn't appear to be racially motivated at this moment."
We're not sure why Leonnig would say that. Before that, though, she had seemed to wander the globe, conveying the opposite impression.
(For reasons which may be perfectly obvious, MSNBC no longer creates transcripts of the things which get said on its shows.)
Then came this morning's papers. Atop its front page, the Washington Post's news report started like this:
WITTE ET AL (3/19/21): The shooting deaths of eight people at Asian-run spas in Georgia this week triggered a vigorous national debate Thursday over whether the mass killing amounted to a hate crime, a fraught conversation that echoed from the halls of Congress to the streets of Atlanta, with potentially significant implications for the prosecution of the 21-year-old suspect.
The reckoning came a day after authorities in Cherokee County—the first of two locations where people were shot dead Tuesday—appeared to play down the racial dimensions of a rampage that claimed the lives of six women of Asian descent. A sheriff’s office spokesman had said that the suspect was having “a bad day” and indicated that “sex addiction,” not race, was probably the driving factor.
Those remarks were sharply challenged on Thursday by Asian American community leaders, who denounced them as “an attempt to protect the shooter,” as well as by Democratic politicians and law enforcement experts.
The spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, was removed from the case Thursday as the sheriff’s office expressed “regret” over his choice of words. Meanwhile, police officials in Atlanta—the second scene of the mass shooting—appeared to distance themselves from the comments, noting that a racial motive was being considered, among others.
In paragraph 2, readers were told that a sheriff's office had played down the likelihood that these killings were fueled by racial hatred. If the reader made it all the way to paragraph 45, he or she was finally told that the head of the FBI, rightly or wrongly, has said much the same thing.
Our Town is in love with claims about racial hatred. At present, it's the only toy in our toy chest. We refuse to wait for evidence to be developed in a matter like this. We want to give voice to our favorite Storyline, and we want to do it right now.
As the perfect example of what we mean, here's the first letter the New York Times published today on this topic. Why in the world would a serious newspaper publish a letter like this?
To the Editor:
The killing of eight mostly Asian women has shocked people across the country, including me, a Chinese-American woman who grew up in Georgia. While I deeply sympathize with the loss for the family members of those affected, I am not surprised that such an incident occurred.
What I saw was the same anger, the same white male rage, that I’ve seen again and again while growing up in the South. This kind of perverse Asian fetishism and white privilege are not well addressed in discussions of race and gender.
The media and crime investigators need to stop waiting for evidence of a racially motivated attack and address it as it is. What happened on Tuesday was a mass murder, a crime against the Asian-American community, toxic gender violence and violence stemming from white supremacy.
L— W—, Atlanta
The killing of "eight mostly Asian women?" Does anyone read this stuff?
At any rate, this writer said the quiet part out loud. "Investigators need to stop waiting for evidence!" They should just go ahead and base their judgments on what random citizens believe they "saw."
At the New York Times, some editor saw that letter and knew it was good. Just like that, the letter was waved into print, trailing its message behind it:
"The media need to stop waiting for evidence!" What could make better sense?
Why did Long do what he did? We can't tell you that, but we can tell you this:
We were amazed when we saw so many Others start a descent into madness during the Obama years. We're newly amazed to see the same types of impulses and behaviors sweeping through the streets of Our Town.
"All of the animus is related," Cuomo said a few moments later. "And you are either for it or you are against it."
It's hard to be much more simple-minded than that. It's a mentality which is apparently being cultivated at a certain unnamed "news channel" here in Our flailing Town.
Final point: The Washington Post was a genuine gong-show on this topic today. Our Town's ongoing Fail is increasingly strong.