MOB AND TOWN: The wages of segregation is death!


The Post (and the Times) in Columbus: "The wages of sin is death," we've been reliably told.

So too with the wages of segregation.

Late yesterday afternoon, in an award-winning report,  we noted the way the New York Times has borrowed from Governor Wallace in the way it handles incidents in which people are shot and killed by police officers. 

To review that report, click here.

"Segregation, now, segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever!" That's what Governor Wallace once famously said. 

In its handling of fatal police shooting incidents, the Times has now made it plain that it follows that prescription. This morning, we learned that the Washington Post may perhaps seem to agree. 

Consider two recent fatal shooting incidents. Also, consider the "separate and highly unequal" way the Post has decided to handle these incidents.

We refer to two recent incidents in which teen-agers were shot and killed by police officers. Consider the way the Washington Post has reported these incidents:

The first such shooting death occurred on April 13 in Leonardtown, Maryland—a small community about 50 miles from D.C.

In that incident, Peyton Ham, age 18, was shot and killed while in possession of a toy rifle and (apparently) an actual knife. 

The Post reported the fatal shooting two days later. As we noted in this report, Karen Mettler's news report appeared on page B8—the back page of the newspaper's Metro section. 

Mettler's report appeared below the fold on that page. The top half of the page was devoted to weather forecasts. In the bottom half of the page, the news report of the fatal shooting shared space with a longer news report—a longer report about two tigers at the Norfolk, Va. zoo.

That's the way the Washington Post decided to handle that fatal shooting incident. Today, the Post reports on a second such incident in Columbus, Ohio.

This second incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon. In this second incident,  Ma’Khia Bryant,, age 16, was shot and killed, apparently while threatening a second teen-aged girl with a knife. 

Two teen-agers were shot and killed. It is at this point that differences start to appear in the two incidents, but also in the way the Post chose to handle these incidents.

As noted, the Post chose to report the first incident below the fold on the back page of the newspaper's Metro section. You'll never hear a word about it, we reliably predicted.

In the case of this second incident, it's reported today on page A1. It's reported above the fold on the Washington Post's front page.

One fatal incident rated the bottom half of page B8. The other incident appears above the fold on A1.

That doesn't necessarily reflect bad judgment on the part of the Post. But while we're at it, consider a major way in which these two fatal incidents seem to have differed.

We'll start with the incident in Columbus. By all accounts, and according to bodycam video, it seems that Stewart, age 16, was about to stab a second person when she was fatally shot. 

Compare that to the earlier incident. According to Mettler's report in the Post, Peyton Ham, age 18, was posing no direct threat to anyone at the time he was fatally shot:

METTLER (4/15/21): [S]tate police said that a trooper responded to Hollywood Road at about 1:30 p.m. after authorities received two 911 calls from a male caller who did not identify himself but said there was a “guy acting suspicious” who appeared to have a gun.

A trooper arrived in the area and confronted Ham in the driveway of a home in the 23000 block of Hollywood Road. Ham had what police said they later learned was “an airsoft gun that is a close representation of an actual handgun” and a knife. On Wednesday, state troopers released images of the airsoft gun and the knife.

A witness to the shooting told police that Ham was in a “shooting stance” in the driveway, according to authorities, and pointed the airsoft gun at the trooper, who fired at Ham and injured him.

A different witness told police that Ham then pulled out a knife and tried to get up, authorities said. Police said the trooper told Ham to drop his knife, then shot the teen again.

Paramedics were called to the scene and Ham was transported to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, where he died.

Based on that report, Ham had already been shot, and was apparently on the ground, when he was fatally shot. Based on that account, it seems that Ham was posing no immediate threat to anyone when he was fatally shot.

Let's compare and contrast! One of these teens was fatally shot when she was about to stab someone. The other teen was fatally shot while he (apparently) lay on the ground with no one nearby.

(In fairness, he still had the toy gun, which looked just like the real thing.)

On the surface, we note an obvious difference.  But the report from Columbus is on A1, and the report from Leonardtown was relegated to the back page of Metro--and, exactly as we predicted, you've heard nothing whatever about it.

Rachel hasn't talked about it. Neither have Lawrence or Brian. Chris and Anderson and Don haven't mentioned it, and they never will.

The handling of these incidents recalls an especially egregious part of our American history. Two teenagers were shot and killed—but the reporting of these incidents has been "separate and highly unequal."

We're not even saying the Post was wrong to put Columbus on its front page. But the wages of segregation is death, and Our Town's upper-end cultural groups are all committed to that form of death at this particular time.

(Over on Fox, they aren't.)

Why did Stewart go to A1, while Ham was left to die on B8? The disparate placement reflects a major part of Our Town's remarkably stupid culture. Our Town is getting dumber and dumber, although we've never told this.

Once again, we're not even saying that the Post's news judgment today was wrong. But the wages of segregation is death, and this notable bit of disparate placement was accompanied, in the Post and the New York Times, by some remarkably stupid "reporting."

The wages of Stupid has always been death. Anthropologists say that we've wired this way. As we noted yesterday, Kevin Drum has also chipped in with thoughts about lost IQ points.

We'll hear about Columbus forever. Leonardtown? Never again!

Tomorrow: Amazingly stupid reporting

This afternoon: Princeton professor strikes a  pose; Lawrence obeys the code


  1. "The Post (and the Times) in Columbus: "The wages of sin is death," we've been reliably told."

    Since when is the Bible a reliable source?

    When an essay starts out like this, there is no reason to keep reading, unless you are seeking religious confirmation.

    1. Your take on the utilization of this scripture is why people snicker when liberals tell each other that they’re so smart.

    2. That and thinking black people's votes should count in elections.

    3. Anonymouse 3:45, count three or four times and after they’re dead.

    4. Fucking cadavers is a conservatives job. They don't need consent anyway.

    5. You have no evidence whatsoever that dead people have voted.

    6. I am FRED and i want quickly recommend DR NCUBE for a Job well done by
      curing me from the genital herpes disease that have be giving me sleepless night. if you want to contact him, Simply do that via email or
      call/whatsapp +2348155227532
      he also have #herbs for
      He does all types of spell casting including love spell, marriage spell, promotion spell and fortune telling.

  2. Good catch, dear Bob.

    "Our Town is getting dumber and dumber, although we've never told this."

    Meh. It's impossible to be any dumber than your zombie cult already is.

  3. "In the bottom half of the page, the news report of the fatal shooting shared space with a longer news report—a longer report about two tigers at the Norfolk, Va. zoo."

    You could fit what Somerby knows about journalism into a thimble. The news report was placed where it was, not because of its importance, but based on the number of readers likely to be interested (i.e., personally affected) by that information.

    No one considers the death of any person a trivial thing. However, white deaths do not have the same significance as black deaths to a large number of readers because white deaths are considered isolated incidents whereas black deaths at the hands of police are seen as part of a larger pattern of police abuse of power.

    It may be that white deaths are also resulting from police abuse of power, but white people generally have not seen them that way. Even on the right, where whiteness matters as a political issue, no one is claiming that cops are disproportionately targeting white people for violence. And in fact, the statistics do not support such a claim. The same is not true for black people killed by police.

    Somerby's deliberate obtuseness about this arises from his political motives. He is trying to present a superficially plausible argument against BLM. That puts him on the wrong side of an important issue supported by liberals. But Somerby is no liberal. Today, he is race-mongering in favor of the conservative meme that one cannot care about all lives, if one cares about what happens in these terrible interactions between black people and cops.

    Today we can see why Somerby objected when Hillary called half of Trump's supporters deplorable. Somerby is among the most deplorable -- the more because he is so dishonest.

    1. Somerby is a hard core malignant Trumptard devoted to worshipping Trump and defending Roy Moore, Ron Johnson, Gaetz and Nunes. He claims to be a liberal, but that is as pathetic a lie as his other claims.

    2. Anonymouse 10:57am, well said.

      I agree that it’s not important to the media and to liberals if the police go for a kill shot on a wounded white kid. It is therefore not a particularly inflammatory or serious news story.

      I agree that this scenario does not have the same polemical potential for liberals as more politically charged race-based narratives.

      You are quite on the money here.

    3. Cec at 1:28:
      While you wrote your comment, 1-3 people died at the hands of police. It is liberals who want to reform policing, and incidentally, to reform society (gun laws, for example) to help prevent these and other kinds of tragedies.

      Conservatives like you and Somerby claim that there’s no racism and no misconduct in policing, so why should any of these incidents make the front page? They’re just mundane examples of the American Way of perfect policing. And by all means let’s get more guns on the street. Your only interest is in mocking liberals.

    4. mh, if you can attribute those sensibilities to Somerby with all his words that he has written, then no one who differs with you in the slightest, has a prayer of being anything less than at war with you.

      It’s why your squad is here.

    5. Cecelia, Here are Somerby’s own words, which I have posted over and over:

      “the (largely imagined) intersections of "race" and crime and punishment.” []

      “A lot of people get shot and killed by police officers in the U.S. We'll repeat the points we feel we should make every day:

      As far as we know, no police misconduct is involved in the bulk of such cases.”

    6. "It is liberals who want to reform policing"

      Minneapolis City Council: 12 DFLs and 1 Green.

      We bet there's no single R on any government management post within the city limits.

      Indeed, how sad, dear dembot, that Evil Conservatives have managed to remotely hypnotize Well-Meaning Liberals, preventing them from reforming policing in that unfortunate city...

    7. It is a lot easier to have the goal of doing nothing, ie being a conservative. All you have to do is make fun of the ones who try.

    8. "All you have to do is make fun of the ones who try."

      Maybe you should try to shrink a bit, and make yourself a smaller target.

    9., a smaller target for fun-making and ridicule, obviously...

    10. A liberal becomes a target in Somerby’s world if he/she suggests there’s even the slightest bit of racism and misconduct in policing. That’s how Somerby chooses to circumscribe the discussion.

    11. Relax, Cece.
      Everyone wants the cops de-funded, except for dead-enders like Mao and Glaucon X.

      BTW, Bob is doing yeoman's work discussing so many cases of police corruption and violence. Can you imagine how many aren't on video?

    12. The first link is a blog where Somerby writes about how the media has disappeared a salient fact in its discussion of unarmed black women being disproportionately killed by police.

      That salient fact being that in a large portion of these incidents, the women who are killed are with a man who is armed, wanted, and in the process of being detained.

      Somerby says: “In our view, that remarkable history is skillfully sanitized by the Post's report. In such ways, our major press organs are creating a new religion built around the (largely imagined) intersections of "race" and crime and punishment.

      In how many cases do police shootings involve misconduct by police? Are various demographic groups subjected to disparate treatment in police shooting events? If so, to what extent?

      It wouldn't be easy to answer such questions in any serious way. At present, there's little sign that our major press organs are actually trying to do so.

      Instead, they're creating pleasingly novelized scripture filled with good guys and bad guys. This is silly, childish behavior. ”

      The next link is yet another ever-so-controversial Somerby statement:

      “As far as we know, no police misconduct is involved in the bulk of such cases. Our nation is often said to be "awash in guns," and our large number of police shooting deaths stems, at least in part, from that part of our national culture.

      Most of these deaths don't involve misconduct, but some quite plainly do. Is it possible that misperceptions may arise when our "journalists," such as they are, decide that they will only report and discuss such incidents if the decedent is black? Could people get a mistaken idea from that kind of press conduct?”

      Here, Bob was involved in waxing eloquent on the media’s penchant to address police shootings from the standpoint of black victims only. This, while disappearing salient info such as what proportion of blacks who are being stopped have a record of prior acts of violence? How many are found to have outstanding warrants? Was the act of resisting arrest was involved? How many unarmed black women find themselves in the crossfire due to their armed male companions getting into fire fights with the cops?

      All salient factors that influence the dynamics no matter the race of the arrestee. Cops are as disinclined to be the victim of a seasoned white criminal as they are of criminals of color.

      If this sort of black and forth is out of bounds for you then the problem is yours. The people who are this rigid and stupid, on either side, are generally the worst representations of their political affiliations.

    13. Salient facts and narratives.

      Lets get it ALL out on the table Cecelia. We wan to see everything about the cops involved and any complaints made against them and the police force. Where exactly is THAT transparency.

      I agree with you that more reporting should be done about why these people are running from cops ostensibly hired to protect them---and whether prior engagements with police officers may be salient.

    14. All complaints about police officer's and departments should be posted on the internet.

    15. Depending on how much prison time Chauvin gets, it might affect his ability to get another police job.

    16. Newspapers could have a "That Cop Was No Angel" page.

    17. "A liberal becomes a target in Somerby’s world if he/she suggests there’s even the slightest bit of racism and misconduct in policing."

      Your tedious "racism" schtick has become a joke years ago.

      As for the misconduct, sure. We see dear Bob complaining every day that the dembots in the media refuse to discuss police misconduct.

      And ironically this what the post on top of this page is all about.

    18. Mao,
      Leave the bigotry to the pros (Somerby, David in Cal, AC/MA, etc), and stick with pretending you aren't paid by the establishment. At least that shtick was funny.

    19. I don’t have problem one with a police officer’s performance record being as accessible as a click on a keyboard.

    20. 5:18,
      That's because you're not a cop.

    21. Or a knee-jerk defender of them, no matter how much you like to lay that caricature on people who don’t match step-by-step to your commands.

  4. Hey look here, dear Bob, apparently goebbelsian NBC is even more goebbelsian than the goebbelsian Post and the goebbelsian Times:

    NBC Deceptively Edits 911 Call & Video From Fatal Police Shooting Involving Knife-Wielding Teen Girl.

    We have to admit: we aren't surprised at all...

  5. Stories about Peyton Ham are all over the media. In the Star Tribune, the story appeared on April 13 (not April 15 as Somerby notes this story). Is it possible that the story appeared where it did because it was a follow-up of an earlier story? The Washington Post also had stories on Ham's killing on April 13 & 14. Somerby doesn't mention those.

  6. Peyton Ham committed suicide by cop. The same is not true of Ma'Khia Bryant. Somerby fails to note that Bryant was the one who called the cops, not the other girl. The cops apparently did not bother to figure out what was going on, before shooting her.

    1. The cop didn’t have time. A girl was nanoseconds from being knifed.

    2. Neither you nor the cop knows whether that is true or not.

  7. Bob,
    Let's agree that cops kill more white people, even though they harass more black people.

    1. Bob is always saying we must adjust for population size. Cops kill more black people given that adjustment.

    2. I am not sure that there's enough of a sample to draw any statistical conclusions. Secondly, per the comment @11:22, cops actually detain and harass more black people, so we should consider the number of deaths relative to the harassed population. Conclusion: cops need to harass fewer people.

  8. Yesterday Hayes was talking about a special investigation of the Minnesota Cops, just like they did in St Louis. It was not mentioned that Obama’s justice department found Mike Brown’s shooting was justified.

  9. The media doesn't do nuance. All killings of people by the police are the same. That's the problem. We never discuss someone's cultural background or lifestyle choice which leads to criminal behavior and the attention of the police.

    1. I suppose you think poverty is a lifestyle choice too?

    2. "We never discuss someone's cultural background or lifestyle choice which leads to criminal behavior and the attention of the police."

      Sure, certain socioeconomic conditions will make one more likely to commit crimes.

      But not all criminals are the same. Whatever the background, resisting arrest and acting macho in front of the cops (liberal wet dream, apparently) is pure stupidity. Darwin Award material.

    3. @12:31 The media has a narrative. The police kill more whites than blacks, but only the killings of blacks become national news.

    4. DinC,
      The media has many narratives. Remember when they spent a year calling racism "economic anxiety"? They even went to rural diners where Republican operatives were interviewed as "everymen".

  10. There is an actual grass roots effort (BLM, for example) that has made a point of highlighting the intersections of race with crime and punishment (something that Somerby deems imaginary, but we’ll leave that aside). They have staged large protests which garner media attention. It is understandable that the media focuses on this.

    There is a history and a legacy of racism, in policing and everything else in America that lends credence to BLM’s complaints. There is a specific charge to be made that policing was used historically to enforce white supremacy.

    This racist history does not apply to whites. Blacks only obtained full rights two generations ago. The legacy of racism cannot disappear in such a short time. And we still do not have mandatory reporting of the deaths inflicted by police, so we don’t really know the true numbers. That is part of the legacy.

    The police also have a history of misconduct (which, again, Somerby denies) that cuts across racial lines, but may be expressed differently with white suspects than with black suspects, and yet, I don’t see conservative whites protesting alongside BLM to address this problem. Instead, they want more brutality and wanted Chauvin acquitted.

    The reforms that come from BLM’s efforts are likely to benefit everyone who interacts with police.

    1. Based upon your arguments, nothing has greater potential to trigger a reformation in law enforcement than white victimization at the hands of cops.

      By your own thinking, that should generate a transformation on the order that could not fail to reform the treatment of minorities by the sheer scope of the institutional change. In a way that BLM cannot.

      However, that result would come about by a focus on policing across the entire population and that does nothing to cause the tensions and divisions that help Democrats at the ballot box.

    2. De-funding the police doesn't help Democrats at the ballot box. It helps American citizens.
      It's no wonder Republicans will fight it tooth and nail.

      OTOH, Democrats demanding that no American digest Drain-o will most definitely help them at the ballot box.

    3. So where are Biden, Harris, Pelosi, and Schumer extolling the virtues of defunding the police?

  11. The number of unarmed blacks shot by police in a year is far, far smaller than the huge increase in the number of blacks murdered. See
    Murder rates soar dramatically in cities after BLM protests with up to 6,000 extra deaths nationwide - massively outweighing the decline in police shootings, researcher finds

    1. Correlation is not causation David, you should know that.

    2. The police are doing a perfect job, as far as David in Cal is concerned. A few white people also being caught up in the system and being killed by police is totally worth it to him.

    3. @11:24 PM - you have a point, but in this case causation seems pretty clear. The police have the job of fighting crime. These cities reduced or restricted their police, and crime went up.

    4. Have you considered the possibility that crime went up due to covid?

    5. DinC,
      Good point about how reducing and restricting police work gives cops more time to commit their crimes.

    6. Anonymouse 9:09am, it’s good that Bob gives blog time to you writing from maximum security posters.

    7. 9:09 isn't blogging from maximum security. He's blogging from the after-life, because he was driving while black.

  12. Five weeks ago my boyfriend broke up with me. It all started when i went to summer camp i was trying to contact him but it was not going through. So when I came back from camp I saw him with a young lady kissing in his bed room, I was frustrated and it gave me a sleepless night. I thought he will come back to apologies but he didn't come for almost three week i was really hurt but i thank Dr.Azuka for all he did i met Dr.Azuka during my search at the internet i decided to contact him on his email he brought my boyfriend back to me just within 48 hours i am really happy. What’s app contact : +44 7520 636249‬