WEDNESDAY, APRIL 21, 2021
At the Times, segregation forever! Kevin Drum may have solved the riddle of the Sphinx.
We refer to his work on blood lead levels which, he reported for Mother Jones, were massively higher in past decades than they ever were for the children of Flint.
He reported that the children of Flint may have lost an IQ point or two due to their city's water crisis. (No, that isn't desirable.) But he further reported that most Americans growing up a few decades earlier had much higher levels of lead exposure.
This seems to suggest that all us unlucky duckies may have lost quite a few IQ points. We think about this more and more when we read the work of our nation's upper-end press corps.
Consider the latest addled report from the New York Times. It leads this morning's National section, eating all of page A14. In print editions, the headline reads like this:
Few Charges, Fewer Convictions: A Grim History of Police Violence
"Police violence" is a slightly loaded term, but it's also an important topic. But when the actual report begins, that actually isn't what the report is actually about:
GARDINER AND HALLECK (4/21/21): For many observers, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, has felt like the culmination of years of outrage and grief over police killings of Black people in America. Video of the arrest that led to Mr. Floyd’s death inspired demonstrations that touched every corner of the country last summer, with protesters demanding justice for Mr. Floyd.
The Times reviewed dozens of similar cases in which encounters between Black people and police ended fatally. Though many cases prompted public outrage, that did not always translate to criminal indictments. In some cases, police officers were shown to have responded lawfully. In others, charges were dropped or plea agreements were reached. Some have resulted in civil settlements. But very few have resulted in convictions at trial.
These cases offer valuable points of comparison about what issues—video evidence, drug use, whether the person who died was armed—proved decisive in each outcome and what consequences, if any, officers faced. Even as the trial has unfolded, several events, including the killing of Daunte Wright just a few miles from Minneapolis, have provided a grim reminder that Mr. Floyd’s death is one in a decades-long history of fatal encounters.
As it turns out, the report is about "police violence"—but only if the police violence has been directed at people the Times scores as "black." No "whites," Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Native Americans or others need apply!
This has become an amazingly standard way of approaching such topics. It disappears the large volumes of "police violence" which are directed, on an annual basis, at people the Times doesn't score as "black."
This now familiar journalistic practice is deeply misleading. It's misleading in ginormous ways.
It's also deeply divisive. How many IQ points did you have to lose to make this your standard approach?
Governor Wallace said it first and best: "Segregation forever!"
This turns out to be the motto the modern New York Times runs by! Are there three IQ points to bang together in the the whole of this dimwitted rag?
This is the way this dimwitted paper seeks to display its vast moral concern. Borrowing from Governor Wallace, we'll offer this motto to the modern-day Times:
Performative now, performative tomorrow. Performative forever!